Theatre performance Life Sdn Bhd: Differences, the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre’s (KLPac) first live show in four months, went on without a hitch yesterday amid strict public health guidelines and SOP restrictions.
The show was presented to a fully vaccinated audience of 70 at KLPac’s Pentas 2 theatre space with physical distancing measures and limited seats.
Kuala Lumpur is now in Phase 3 of the National Recovery Plan, which means KLPac is allowed a 70% audience capacity. But KLPac decided to maintain a 50% seating capacity to ensure the safety of its patrons. At present, Pentas 2’s capacity has been reduced to 85 people per show (full capacity is 190).
Directed by KLPac co-founder Datuk Faridah Merican, the Life Sdn Bhd: Differences show has given KLPac a much-needed morale boost. The Malaysian performing arts and theatre scene had been in the dark since May due to the MCO 3.0.
The performing arts scene was allowed to reopen by the Government on Sept 9, but many theatre venues and arts spaces chose to delay opening their doors as they monitored daily pandemic cases, while looking into reopening strategies and to ensure all shows planned were pandemic-proof.
“It feels great to be back after most of the works were curated and planned during the lockdown. Life Sdn Bhd is very special to Joe (Joe Hasham, KLPac co-founder) and me. The emotions behind this series go way back to the time when we lost Plaza Putra (a theatre space for The Actors Studio),” says Faridah, expressing her excitement for the show’s opening last night.
Tickets for Life Sdn Bhd: Differences, which runs till Oct 7, are still available for purchase.
Keeping the stories raw and relatable, Life Sdn Bhd: Differences explores hope, faith, uncertainties, loss, mental health and the importance of acceptance and change. These hard-hitting themes are arguably relevant to these pandemic times.
The show features eight storytellers (aged 16-49), namely Adry Bashir, Amina, Ayushna, Cherry Coco, Cordelia Lee, Hannah Ling, Joanna Noelle and Seri.
The cast were definitely thrilled to present the show to a live audience after rehearsing for months online since July. In total this show featured eight actors on stage and 10 backstage/crew members, all fully vaccinated.
Despite rolling out a scaled down theatre show, the fact that live theatre was back made all the difference to the show's creative team.
“I think I have been extremely fortunate to be back at the theatre! I am extremely technologically challenged. So online rehearsals were not something I enjoyed in the least. The feeling is just not the same.
“But it's been amazing to meet the rest of the cast in person, getting to know more about them, and learning from each other’s shared experiences,” offers Ayushna, who was part of KLPac’s Bollywood Dreams’ ensemble in March.
“Since this is such an intimate production, having an audience makes you feel like your story is being seen and heard... like you are making a difference to the people who are watching you and listening to you. It's a two-way street really - we feed off the audience’s energy and they feed off ours,” adds Cherry.
‘KLPac showed a great example on the implementation of the current SOPs, and at the same time it doesn’t take away from the magic of the show. I can’t wait to go for more shows,’ says Shufitri Mohd Shukardi, a member of the audience last night.
Later this month (Oct 21-24), theatregoers can catch Faridah’s other show titled Experiencing Usman Awang, a retrospective tribute show to the late National Laureate. The show will explore some of the legendary author's most loved works such as Sahabatku, Scattered Bones and Merpati Putih in various languages and forms.
More info here.