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Wednesday March 12, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Wednesday March 12, 2014 MYT 9:14:45 AM
by dinesh kumar maganathan
Fresh voices: Datuk Faridah Merican (centre) and the cast of Life Sdn Bhd: The Power of Women, which centres on the powerful role of women in modern society.
Life Sdn Bhd is back and this year, it’s all about the fairer sex.
HILLARY Rodham Clinton, Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz, Julia Gillard, Angela Merkel – these are some of the most powerful women in the world and in our country. They stand as giants in this male-dominated world, as potent equals, if not superiors, on the pedestal of power.
However, a very subjective question arises: do women have to be world leaders and charters of history to be called powerful?
What about the ordinary woman, the everyday lady who goes about her simple life?
It is when one attempts to unpack that question will one discover that power can be found in the most mundane of circumstances. All it takes is for a woman to step forward and speak aloud about her afflictions, and at once, great power is displayed.
Remember Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teenager who became an activist in her country?
Challenging the notion that might begets power and confirming the adage that there is a mighty lion in the tiniest mouse is the 11th instalment of the thought-provoking production Life Sdn Bhd (Life).
It starts its four-day run on March 13 at the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (KLPac).
Engendered by thespian Datuk Faridah Merican in 2004, Life’s premise is the sharing of true life experiences by Malaysians from all walks of life, actors and non actors and bringing to the fore issues that affect us as people.
The theme for this year is The Power of Women, a less grim topic compared to human trafficking and refugees from the previous instalments.
“Last year, when I attended an International Women’s Day celebration, I realised that there were speeches about women but not necessarily something out-of-the box. You still keep hearing the same kind of tone,” said Faridah, who is the executive producer/co-founder of The Actors Studio Malaysia, KLPac and Performing Arts Centre of Penang.
“So I thought it would be good to celebrate the event by bringing to the fore a younger voice from our women and hear what they have to say,” she added.
In no way penned by a playwright, the stories that will be shared by the storytellers were plucked from their own experiences, stories “that have touched them as they were growing up or observations of their grandmas and mothers,” Faridah shared.
“The stories become more valuable and magical because they are real,” said Rebecca Ong Yuen Teng, a 19-year-old musician who will be playing the violin in the Power of Women String Quartet, a new addition to the series.
“How often do you get to hear about the inner workings of females?” quipped Diane Au Kitt May, one of the storytellers.
Faridah reiterated that power is not necessarily reflected by high-ranking positions in the world government.
“The power of women does not mean that you have to be powerful. For example, one of our actors has a lifelong affliction and she is willing to come forward and share her story. That, to me, shows the power that’s in her,” opined Faridah.
While Ong feels there is power in the collective strength of the quartet, Au hopes that “women will see themselves differently and value the female influences in their lives just that little bit more.”
Despite the theme, there will be a performance by a trio of men, called Lelaki 2.5, comprising choreographer Lex Lakshman, and singer-songwriters Ian Chow and Ariff Akhir.
Like anything in life, power and strength is usually found when one is stripped bare and is faced with a giant and that is exactly what you will experience in The Power Of Women. It lies, Faridah said, in the “rawness of the presentations”.
> Life Sdn Bhd: The Power Of Women is on at Pentas 2 in KLPac, Kuala Lumpur. Dates: March 13-15 (8.30pm) and March 16 (3pm). Tickets are priced at RM33 (students, disabled and TAS card members) and RM43. For more information, call 03-4047 9000 or visit www.klpac.org.
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Entertainment, Life Sdn Bhd, Dato' Faridah Merican, Power of Women, storytelling, KLPac
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