When it comes to original contemporary Malay-language theatre plays, it doesn’t get better than playwright and director Ridhwan Saidi’s Teater Normcore series under the production of Moka Mocha Ink (Moka), which he co-founded with author Nurul Aizam in 201l.
Teater Normcore, which premiered in 2018, features full length plays written and directed by Ridhwan. The mission, arguably, has been to introduce works with a deeper sense theatrical poetry and turning attention to deadpan humour.
With Buka Arkib, a digital project by Moka and Ensembel Teater Kaos Nol (an open collective established by Ridhwan), the public can watch three plays from the Teater Normcore series online for free.
Buka Arkib starts streaming on May 8. Each play, which are recordings of past shows, will be made available on Fridays for a week on Binfilem's Youtube channel. Binfilem is a production studio that handles Moka's audio visual work.
"Buka Arkib can connect people from different regions of the world, to peek into each others' contemporary theatre making, in this case, a Malaysian theatre production. We feel that it is some sort of a cultural exchange within South-East Asia. Also, we hope the videos can reach out to people who are not familiar with theatre," says Ridhwan.
Buka Arkib, which literally means "opening the archive", premieres this Friday (May 8) at 10pm with Stereo Genmai.
Staged at Five Arts Centre’s Kotak in 2018, this 75-minute play is a dark psychedelic tale about a novelist who’s in search of his lost fictional character named D in a dream-idea continuum.
The relationship between a creator and his creation is examined in this two-act play, featuring Ani Aziz, Nyna Roslan, Hannan Barakbah and Sandee Chew.
Next Friday (May 15), catch Hamlet Fansuri, which was staged last year at the Port Commune space in Petaling Jaya. The 90-minute play is an adaptation and translation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet married to the poetry of Hamzah Fansuri, a 16th century Sumatran Sufi poet.
It features Roshafiq Roslee, Mira Romanli, Shon Anwar, Nyna Roslan, Rashid Akhmal, Lew Shu Ni, Tasha K. and Shamnirul with an ambient Nusantara soundscape provided by indie duo Kicau Bilau.
Buka Arkib ends with Masam Manis on May 22, which was originally staged at KongsiKL in March this year... mere days before the movement control order (MCO) came into effect (on March 18). Featuring Sadiq M. Jamil, Mia Sabrina Mahadir and Lew Shu Ni, the 70-minute play is about private and public spaces, our relationship with technology and the multi-layered personalities that people now seem to embody.
The play was inspired by Tan Sri P. Ramlee’s comedy film Masam Masam Manis in 1965.