I seldom watch theatre plays. I think if I can measure the rate I watch theatre shows, I can safely say that it is perhaps a once-a-year thingy for me. In fact I did not have any plans whatsoever to post a review on this show that I attended on 3rd October 2014 at the Black Box Studio of Goodman Arts Centre. Longtime readers of this blog would note how uncomfortable I am at doing reviews of this nature and that I am perhaps the worst at reviewing theatre plays for the fact that I do not have any acting or theatre background to begin with. At least when I review music performances, shows or concerts, I have an inkling of what I am typing about as I have some experience being a keen observer, stagehand, volunteer and even a performer at some point in my life. This entry is published since I was kindly approached by the director and playwright himself, Izad Omar, to do one as there was not much post-show publicity nor reviews other than the one that was published on Berita Harian a fortnight ago.
I heard about this show, produced by local theatre company KreatiV OutBox, back in April 2014 when I was covering the TeRaSeh 2.0 competition, during the week that Den Sabari, one of the show’s main casts, and his wife Huda Ali were the studio guests at Warna 94.2FM during the post-show interview with the “Malam 2 Mat” hosts, Hafeez Glamour and Dyn Norahim. Since I count Den as one of my good friends, I made the effort to block the dates of the play six months in advance so I could catch it when the time comes. Den admitted during the months leading up to the show, how excited, yet nervous he was at the thought of making his theatre comeback after more than five years away from the live stage. A lot of effort, practices and rehearsals were done just to get things right and there were times Den had to sacrifice his social time to play football with our Seniman FC team just for this play.
For a first-timer on a live stage, I thought Ainon Talib did extremely well juggling the different emotions that her character had to exude and display. One moment she was laughing and cracking jokes, the next she was angry and subsequently shedding tears. I have so much respect for performers who could switch emotions with a snap of the fingers and Ainon‘s character, Ira, demanded her to do just that. I strongly believe this experience would empower her and improve on her acting on television, though of course there is always room for improvement on stage. Den Sabari, who played Zali on the other hand, had a bit of nervousness in him, but I kind of attributed it to pressure knowing a few of his close friends were seated in the audience. And of course, there is that issue of rustiness of not performing a stage play in years, but personally I felt it wasn’t that glaring to the common folk like myself. Maybe theatre experts who caught the play could relate better.
However, the star of the show to me had to be Fariz Najed who played the effeminate BFF to Ainon‘s character. I felt his role, even though it was a supporting one, was the most crucial and important, in that he helped to link and added balance to the two main casts, the glue that held everything together. He was so likeable as the angsty best friend who not only found himself ostracised by his own family but also always at odds with the character played by Den Sabari himself. In a way, his role demanded the audience to understand from his perspective. His role and problems faced are common amongst men who are considered soft or effeminate, as they are often looked down by the community and seek acceptance for who they are. Fariz aced his role and gave us plenty of food for thought with his acting delivery.
As a normal-paying audience, not too concerned with technicalities of theatre play, I was there to be entertained. What I got from that 90-minutes show was not just mere entertainment, I left the Black Box Studio with a gamut of emotions from what I had witnessed throughout the play. The show highlighted common problems faced by many married couples, the real dilemmas faced as a young couple right down to their ageing years. What I like most about the play was, it was done in a light-hearted manner, without being too deep with the issues being discussed and some of the issues raised strike a chord with what we sometimes face in the course of our marriage. There were also several digs being made towards social / cultural practices which might contradict our Islamic beliefs without being too direct nor overly critical. For theatre novices like myself, this was an enjoyable play and I certainly did not feel the time passing by. The downside and only complaint I might have is how cold the venue was, even after two of the air-con units had been turned off, from what I understand from Izad himself. Other than that it was a very good production by KreatiV OutBox. Kudos!!!
(All photographs courtesy of KreatiV OutBox)