Pande-May-nium alert! 10 theatre plays, arts shows to catch this month


Who wants to make Malaysia great again? Jo Kukathas drags out YBeeee, one of her most beloved characters, for the upcoming 'The May 9 Show' series. Photo: Instant Cafe Theatre

A politician who’s always trying to stay in the game. A no-holds-barred Indian woman who has no time for labels and politics. A beloved radio station founder who suddenly suffers a stroke. A young scientist who ends up creating a monster that is not really monstrous.

It looks like May has an exciting variety of theatre shows to offer that are reflective, poignant and ask the necessary questions.

Let’s not forget a not-to-be-missed Mek Mulung performance, a 400-year-old traditional Malay theatre.

Here’s a pick of theatre and arts performances this month:

Mek Mulung: Lakhon Dewa Muda

Venue: Pentas 2, KLPac

May 3-5

We are blessed with many traditional art forms in this country from wayang kulit to Mak Yong. But have you heard of Mek Mulung? This traditional Malay theatre has been around for nearly 400 years. In this show, Sekolah Seni Malaysia Perak brings an ancient tale of a prince who embarks on a mission to bring peace to his country. He is plagued with a cryptic dream that prods him to hunt sacred animals, for this alone can bring much-needed peace in his kingdom. He decides to not ignore the portend and gathers his men for a hunting expedition. Along the way, they find a peculiar and sacred fruit. But there’s something more than meets the eye with the fruit. More details: www.klpac.org.

may
Singapore-based dance collective TRDOco presents ACT5: APP (A Perfect Person), an immersive contemporary dance that explores our obsession with social media. Photo: Billy Liau

ACT5: APP (A Perfect Person)

Venue: Black Box, DPac, Petaling Jaya

May 3 and 4

Many of us - whether we want to admit it or not - are social media victims. Our insatiable desire to be in the know, to be noticed, to get the attention of others in the world of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and so on is so pervasive, we might begin to derive our self worth from the number of likes or comments we get. Singapore-based contemporary dance collective TRDOco brings APP (A Perfect Person), an immersive contemporary dance experience that explores human nature from the eyes of social media. This thought-provoking ride will ultimately see, as we dwindle down the world of apps, what actually makes a perfect person. More details: www.dpac.com.my.

The Teater Modular Box Set, published by Moka Mocha Ink, will be launched at Pesta Playlet at KongsiKL on May 4. It features a box of contemporary theatre scripts published in Malay and English. Photo: Moka Mocha Ink

Pesta Playlet

Venue: KongsiKL, Gudang Yee Seng 2, Jalan Klang Lama, KL

May 3 and 4

Pesta Playlet is a two-day arts event, organised by indie publishers Moka Mocha Ink, that draws mainly on arts community building sessions, theatre research, playwriting and directing workshops, forums, reading showcases and the launch of indie arts publications. If you are a theatre-maker, performing arts practitioner, filmmaker and short story writer, this is an event not to be missed. Over two days, KongsiKL will host a found object art exhibition, pop-up theatre performances, a Malaysiana forum, a Teater Modular Box Set launch and a Cuba Try Test platform for new local works. All activities are open to public and free, except for workshops. FB: Pesta Playlet.

may Monstersaurus, a family outing show, is about a young scientist who ends up creating a monster that is not so monstrous after all. Photo: PJLA

Monstersaurus

Venue: PJ Live Arts, Petaling Jaya, Selangor

May 6-19

There is nothing wrong with being ambitious. But when your ambition is not tempered with logic …. things can go wrong. Monty is a young scientist whose ambitious inventions turn out not as he intended them to. His walking toaster runs away and his robot goes berserk. But things take an interesting turn when he discovers an invention instruction manual. He starts mixing all kinds of weird stuff from slime, socks, jelly, cheese and even belly button fluff until he produces Monstersaurus, a big and hairy monster. But despite his menacing appearance and name, Monstersaurus may not be that monstrous after all. This is a theatre for children show. More details: www.pjlivearts.my.

The Unheard Plea

Venue: Shantanad Auditorium, Temple Of Fine Arts, KL

May 10

Join Nehal Mondal Chakravarty, a Singapore-based New Delhi-born bharatanatyam dancer and choreographer, as she embodies Draupadi for this one-night-only dance performance. Draupadi, the epic heroine of Mahabharata, was a woman ahead of her time. Hers was an early life shaped by compassion and virtue. However, Draupadi became fiery, intense and emotional when she was raised to fulfill her father’s desire for revenge. It was a destiny dictated by a prophecy. A victim of circumstance, she is disrobed, gets married to five men, loses her sons in war and abandoned by her husbands. Through it all, she stood strong in the face of trials and emerged victorious. FB: Nehaa Mondal Chakravarty - Bharatanatyam Danseuse.

The May 9 Show

Venue: Theatre, DPAC, Petaling Jaya

May 8-18

It’s a year since the historic GE14 that saw Malaysia vote in a new government. Pakatan Harapan over Barisan Nasional. But even as the old gives way to the new, it seems regular Malaysians are getting a little impatient with governmental and economic reforms. That is why we need someone to voice out all the frustrations that we are feeling deep inside and give us some comic relief. Enter YBeeee, the honestly dishonest politician from the old regime and Curry Spice, an unabashedly forthright girl from Sentul. Join these alter egos of thespian Jo Kukathas in a talk show by Instant Cafe Theatre, hosted by Sean Ghazi, as they shed some light on what’s actually going on. Every night, they will be joined by different surprise celebrity guests … some Malaysians who you might recognise. More details: www.dpac.com.my.

Seni Tiga #04: B I N D; A State Of Mind

Venue: KongsiKL, Gudang Yee Seng 2, Jalan Klang Lama, KL

May 17-18

Seni Tiga is a multidisciplinary collaborative performance project presented by Kongsi Petak, a member of the KongsiKL community focusing on performing arts. This month's edition features performing artists Rithaudin Abdul Kadir, Elena Laurel Moujing, Sueki Shalisa Yee and Fahezul Azri Suhaimi (Romo Hernandez). The line-up of installation artists is Lim Jing, Emily Chow Wen Qi, Hui Qin Chua and Bonnie Cheong Jing Ju. Video and sound will be presented by experimental artist/musician Goh Lee Kwang. FB: KongsiKL.

Soun(d)ance 23

Venue: Raw Art Space, Jalan Panggong, KL

May 17

Here's a chance to catch acclaimed dancer/choreographer Lee Ren Xin, a recent Boh Cameronian Arts Award winner, in action at the experimental series Soun(d)ance in KL. This month's edition features contemporary dancers Shafiq Yussof and Kimberly Yap, both Aswara alumni. The show will be soundtracked by improvisers/musicians Chung Ping Wei (saxophone), Rastko Lazic (electronics) and Max Riefer (drums). Soun(d)ance is a monthly series aimed at combining music and dance together in an improvisational and instantaneous context from dancers and musicians of various backgrounds. It attempts to encourage interdisciplinary practices and collaborations between performers. FB: Raw Art Space.

may Sara Heng set to perform her first headlining shows at DPAC on May 11 and 12. Photo: Handoout

Sara Heng Guzheng Recital

Venue: Black Box, DPAC, Petaling Jaya

May 11 and 12

Guzheng (Chinese zither) player Sara Heng is taking her career forward with these solo dates, featuring guest artists Jimmy Chong (drums), Sylvester Liew (piano), Jia Xi Lee (dancer) and visual designer Max Jala. It's a Black Box show, so you can expect something different. Heng, a Master’s graduate from the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, promises a setlist exploring the guzheng's role in traditional Chinese music framework as well as classical and folk updated in a contemporary setting. This show also features dance and video projected art to accompany the live sets. More details: www.dpac.com.my.

may Omar Ali (left)  and Joe Hasham (right) co-direct Transitions, a new play by Marina Tan (seated right), with Datuk Faridah Merican (seated, left), Na'a Murad (brown jacket) and Shamaine Othman (white top) in the leading roles. Photo: The Actors Studio Teater Seni Rakyat

Transitions

Venue: Pentas 2, KLPac

May 23-26

What do you do when all that you have worked for comes crashing down? Transitions, a brand new play written by Marina Tan, revolves around Kathy Khan, played by Datuk Faridah Merican, the founder of SeniSound Heritage Radio Station. Interestingly, Faridah was a well-known newsreader and talk show host with Radio Malaya/RTM in the 1960s. This small community radio station, operating from a shophouse in one of the older suburbs of KL, is a local treasure, all thanks to Kathy, a well-loved personality. But as the station wraps up its 10th anniversary celebration, the unexpected happens. Kathy suffers a massive stroke. This poignant tale is about human resilience and finding life again. More details: www.klpac.org.


   

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