A father looks for his lost daughter in a shopping mall and ends up encountering others equally lost. An unexpected voice narrates every up and down of a romantic relationship. Two souls, so close and yet so far, long to be together but time isn't on their side.
If you're a regular attendee of the annual Short And Sweet Musical festival in Kuala Lumpur, these stories may sound familiar. They are the plots of award-winning musicals staged there before. They are, respectively, Little Girl Lost, Cartography Of A Relationship and Dreaming Outside The Box, all written by local composer and writer Nick Choo.
This month, the musical revue show Lost/Found brings these three musicals back to the stage, together with Commencement, a brand-new musical also written by Choo. Touted as a thrilling emotional ride, the four stories in Lost/Found tell of desperately lost people seeking not to be left behind.
“It was our director Christopher Ling whose idea it was to link the four musicals all thematically with the theme of ‘lost’, ‘found’, and most importantly ‘searching’. The four shows tell stories that are relatable and human, so it was a matter of finding the right theme to thread them all together,” says Choo, 39, about the show.
Lost/Found was originally called 4 In 50: A Mini Musical Marathon, and premiered in Perth, Australia, as part of the Perth Fringeworld arts festival in 2017, where it was nominated for a Theatre Award.
In 2019, the show, now called Lost/Found, made its Malaysian debut in Kuching, Sarawak in October, co-presented by Two Much Drama. The show received much acclaim, and now moves on to Johor Baru (Dec 6-8), where it is co-presented by Stagecraft Theatre Productions at Sunway Iskandar Events Gallery, and then to Lot'Ng, Subang Jaya in Selangor (Dec 13-15, Dec 19-22).
The new story, Commencement, is exactly what the title says: four people await a commencement. Of what? The show will reveal.
All three local productions were directed by Ling and presented by theatrethreesixty, with choreographer Kenny Shim, Choo as music director, and cast members Alia Kearney, Gabriel Tham, Natalie Makulin and Tria Aziz.
Ling says the show is a great way to discover Choo's music and lyrics. Choo has also written a new song Searching as a way of bridging all the four stories together.
“Nick (Choo)'s work is so adaptable. It really lends itself to a lot of different interpretations and stagings. My staging is a deconstruction of the piece, ” says Ling, 44.
“The music will be the same. The lyrics will be more or less the same. But the characterisation, the staging, will be completely different. For those with prior knowledge of the show, I hope you will see something vastly different, and hopefully learn new things about the work.”
All the actors will be playing different characters throughout the four stories. Actress Natalie Makulin plays one of the roles in Commencement, a lady who runs an orphanage in Little Girl Lost, and a young woman in Cartography Of A Relationship.“Chris (Ling) made us do a lot of character work, travelling into places where we lose ourselves or the ones we love. It’s hard to look at a wound or a scar, knowing the possibility that it hasn’t properly healed. The only thing certain about it is a story, a memory, ” says Makulin, 35.
“Playing all the roles give those memories a new place to live, and grow, ” she concludes.
Lost/Found plays at Sunway Iskandar Events Gallery, Persiaran Medini 3, Nusajaya, Johor from Dec 6-8. Shows are at 8pm, with an additional Dec 8 show at 3pm. Tickets: RM75. Facebook: stagecraftmy. Call: 017-783 5700. It plays at Lot'Ng, 32-2, Jalan USJ 10/1E, Subang Jaya, Selangor, on Dec 13-15 and Dec 19-22. Showtimes are 8.45pm for Thursday, Friday and Saturday and 3pm on Sunday. Tickets are RM58 and RM48 (concession). Facebook: theatrethreesixty.
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