Khamis, 17 April 2014

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The Star Online: Lifestyle: Arts & Fashion

Kakiseni and MyTeksi work together to bring people to art

Posted: 15 Apr 2014 07:05 PM PDT

Art lovers get discount on taxi rides to selected performing arts centres in the Klang Valley.

Performing arts enthusiasts have a reason to celebrate as Kakiseni and MyTeksi are offering a deal for users of the local taxi-booking smartphone application. Passengers will get an RM15 discount off their taxi fare if they wish to go to any of the pre-selected performing arts centres in the Klang Valley from now until April 27.

These locations are: Kakiseni Free Space, PJ Live Arts, Sparky Dawg Studio and DPAC in Petaling Jaya as well as KLPAC, Aswara and Istana Budaya in Kuala Lumpur.

Additionally, the public will also get to enjoy the discount for their ride to Stadium Negara, KL on April 27 – the 11th Boh Cameronian Arts Awards will be held there that day.

Kakiseni and MyTeksi are working together to bring people to art.

Kakiseni and MyTeksi are working together to bring people to art.

Founded by Kakiseni in 2002, Boh Cameronian Arts Awards is the only awards which judges "live" music, dance, theatre and musical theatre in Malaysia. The awards is dedicated to raising the profile of the arts in Malaysia and to recognise the contribution of artists in various areas of the performing arts and a total of 35 awards will be given out during the event.

"We're fully supportive of Kakiseni's initiatives. For two weeks, MyTeksi users will get RM15 discount on their rides to any of the shows' venues. It's practically free as our data shows the average KL city ride costs that much," said MyTeksi marketing regional head Cheryl Goh.

She added: "We're lowering the barrier to entry for our customers to make the arts accessible to everyone. No one should miss the many exciting shows lined up during these two weeks. This is Kakiseni and the Cammies after all."

However, Goh is aware that there may be unscrupulous folks who would take advantage of the offer and use the discount for purposes other than to catch a show at one of the performing arts centre.

"That thought did cross our mind but we are looking at the bigger picture here. We want to drive people to these places to appreciate the art," she said.

To use the discounts, passengers are required to download the MyTeksi application and use the #kakiseni hashtag when making the booking. If you wish to be part of the Boh Cameronian Arts Awards 2014, send your details to

Local Broadway-inspired musical 'The Rising Son' is high on values

Posted: 15 Apr 2014 09:00 AM PDT

Here comes a local Broadway-inspired musical to inspire and entertain.

Tales of love, hope and forgiveness make good material for stage productions and come this weekend, these themes will be explored further in a Broadway-style musical called The Rising Son.

The musical, to be presented at the Grace Convention Centre in Petaling Jaya, Selangor, features composer and scriptwriter Paul Baker in his first full-length musical.

"There is no formula for musical theatre success but there is a formula for failure. In any musical, there needs to be a relationship triangle, intrigue, romance, comedy and a happy ending to attract audiences," he says in a recent interview.

Baker points out that The Rising Son is not a Christian or Easter-based musical. On the contrary, the 70-member cast includes many non-Christians. However, the idea surfaced after the church produced a small-scale musical in 2012.

'In any musical, there needs to be a relationship triangle, intrigue, romance, comedy and a happy ending to attract audiences,' says Paul Baker, The Rising Son scriptwriter and composer.

'In any musical, there needs to be a relationship triangle, intrigue, romance, comedy and a happy ending to attract audiences,' says Paul Baker, The Rising Son scriptwriter and composer.

"Some of the church entertainment intimidates me because they tend to force things down your throat. This is not that type of show. It is very approachable and highly entertaining. There will be no preaching at the end of the performance."

"There is a vacuum globally for plays with a moral," he states. "My niece in England who is a stage manager says there is little demand for such plays. If the play has nudity, foul language, stripping, etc, it sells."

After discussions with church member Kelvin Ooi to produce a bigger musical with a theme, Baker wrote the script in three weeks, along with 16 songs and lyrics.

The synopsis revolves around three childhood friends who travel from China to Perak in the 1920s and set up a coffee shop. As their dreams materialise, greed sets in, and a deceitful plan is crafted.

Money suddenly goes missing; one man runs away and the other two blame each other for the losses. Hatred and rivalry sets in. But aha, their kids fall in love and are faced with an impossible union … the rest is up to you to uncover.

"I wanted to bring in the macho pride, believing the worst in somebody without even finding out why. Personally, I've been through a tumultuous period these past few years so I know what it is like to hate someone and how liberating it is to forgive."

Directed by Nell Ng, who is the artistic director of Pan Productions, this musical is a unique collaboration of local and international acting/singing talents, accompanied by a full orchestra under Baker's batonship.

Led by violin virtuoso Maya Musaeva, the former leader of the Malaysian National Symphony Orchestra, the orchestra, according to Baker, is "the finest 25-piece orchestra ever assembled for a new show, comprising professionals and senior music students."

"I don't like everything Nell's done but she's brought depth to the musical that I couldn't have done. However, musically, it's my way or the highway!" he says acknowledging that he has altered the music for certain scenes due to practicality and necessity.

Brought up in a theatrical family in north London in England, Baker started acting at the tender age of four.

His early musical life, however, started at the Barnet Parish Church Choir, which he joined at the age of seven and left at 14 having obtained the Royal School of Church Music's most prestigious prize – The Saint Nicholas Award.

He went on to study the piano and eventually specialised in the french horn, performing with some of the leading orchestras and West End productions. Within the contemporary scene, his credits also include working with George Michael, Tom Jones and Shirley Bassey.

After marrying a local, Baker has made Malaysia his home since 2004. He is currently business development manager and performing arts consultant for the acoustic and theatre consulting division of global engineering group ARUP.

Locally, he has worked with artists such as Zainal Abidin and Sheila Majid, and has given a number of solo french horn recitals, performed with the Malaysian National Symphony Orchestra and made his conducting debut with a rarely performed full-length production of Handel's Messiah in 2009.

He considers The Rising Son his most ambitious work to date.

"It's been tiring, especially with a full-time job," he adds with a sigh. "Initially, I was extremely protective over the production because it's my baby! It's like having your first child who grows up, matures and has its own characteristics. That emotion can be equated with the baby leaving the nest.

"What I originally envisioned has matured and gone beyond my expectations from the input of the crew and director. At the end of the two-hour show, I hope people can forgive each other, shake hands and be friends again. If even one marriage or family can be saved, I've done my job."

But he's most happy about one thing.

"My mum's flying from Britain just to see it!"

>> The Rising Son will be staged at 7pm on April 19 and 20 at Grace Convention Centre, Auditorium Level 3, Plaza Mayang, Petaling Jaya, Selangor. Admission is free. For enquiries, please call Kim Frances at 03-7804 1994.

Singapore International Festival of Arts’ inaugural edition

Posted: 15 Apr 2014 09:00 AM PDT

Singapore International Festival of Arts' inaugural edition will be held in August, with the theme "Legacy and the Expanded Classics'.

A 50-hour performance piece by celebrated Indian artist Nikhil Chopra about India's fight against colonialism, and a four-day journey through 20th century music by the London Sinfonietta and the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory Orchestra.

These are some of the dramatic finishing touches to the Singapore International Festival of Arts' inaugural edition from Aug 12 to Sept 21.

Festival director Ong Keng Sen, 50, announced last week in Singapore the final six productions of the S$6.5mil (RM16.9mil) festival.

Performance artist Chopra's sprawling piece, titled Give Me Your Blood And I Will Give You Freedom, will map out stark landscapes of black ink onto a white canvas, a metaphor for a dark and bloody battle.

Audience members are free to come and go throughout the length of this festival commission, a live installation which blends theatre and visual art.

Classical music lovers can take their pick of a series of concerts spread over four days that outline a musical journey from 19th-century composers, the likes of Claude Debussy, to present-day creators such as James MacMillan and Tom Ades. It is presented by London's Southbank Centre and will be performed by the London Sinfonietta and the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory Orchestra.

The festival's theme of Legacy and the Expanded Classic is perhaps most apparent in The Chorus; Oedipus – South Korean director Seo Jae-Hyung reinvents the myth of King Oedipus by putting a musical spin on the classic Greek tragedy. The song-filled adaptation was first performed to sell-out crowds in Seoul.

Some of the more intimate shows include Belgian artist Miet Warlop's Mystery Magnet, a psychedelic, surreal work at the intersection of visual art and theatre; a double-bill by South African artists Mamela Nyamza and Mojisola Adebayo tackling the violent proliferation of "corrective" hate rape in their country, as well as issues of gender identity; and young Iranian playwright Amir Reza Koohestani's theatre debut in Singapore, Amid The Clouds, which follows the lives of two Iranian asylum seekers who take on a dangerous journey in their desperation to begin a new life.

These shows round out a star-studded line-up of 12 productions in the main programme, heavy on big names such as the Berliner Ensemble, which will be staging J. M. Barrie's beloved Peter Pan under the direction of American thespian Robert Wilson.

Famed French choreographer Jerome Bel will present his 2012 production Disabled Theatre, a collaboration with disabled professional actors of Zurich's Theater Hora.

The festival is bookended by two blockbuster shows: celebrated British composer Michael Nyman's opera, Facing Goya, and New York experimental theatre company The Wooster Group's postmodern take on Shakespeare's Troilus & Cressida. – The Straits Times, Singapore/Asia News Network

> More info on Singapore International Festival of Arts at


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