Orang Orang Drum Theatre set to liven up your MRT ride in KL with music, dance

Orang Orang Drum Theatre's performance art series 'In Transit-ion: A Poetic MRT Journey' is set to return on Oct 19. Photo: Orang Orang Drum Theatre

Some MRT rides in Kuala Lumpur are going to be groovier and livelier than others, especially with Orang Orang Drum Theatre's public performance art series titled In Transit-ion: A Poetic MRT Journey (In Transit-ion) back in service this month.

In Transit-ion, a community effort with 15 artists from various disciplines, returns this Oct 19 at 7pm along the Sungai Buloh - Kajang line in KL. The 90-minute long performance will take place at the MRT stations and in the train carriages.

In Transit-ion, which started in March, took a hiatus in April due to the pandemic. It will continue on Oct 20 and 24 and Nov 13.

For Orang Orang Drum Theatre, this arts outreach initiative is an important one during these post-pandemic times.

"In this global fight against the pandemic, while solving the physical problems caused by diseases, we must not ignore our mental and psychological health and needs, and art is the best form of therapy,” offers Zyee Leow, one of the curators of the project.

It's a chance for the arts group to make people smile and take home a wonderful memory from a train ride.

On Oct 19, In Transit-ion will also stop at the Percussion Store in Petaling Street to encourage the public to explore the city and the beauty of rhythm.

To avoid mass gatherings, In Transit-ion will not be open for public registration like before. Instead, the upcoming performances are designed to be chanced upon by MRT commuters. But QR codes will be provided for passengers to scan to get the music track which will otherwise be played via speakers.

If you don’t take the MRT, fret not. The public performances will be filmed and screened as a documentary on Orang Orang Drum Theatre's Facebook page.

During the commute, the participating artists will share with people a piece of music or a dance move.

Leow sees this series as an opportunity to break down the barriers between people in the train carriages, and to help liven up an otherwise mundane journey.

The performances will use the "urban space" as backdrop and adopt the MRT station and surrounding areas as the stage, inviting audiences to re-imagine the scenes of life in Kuala Lumpur along the Klang River through performance art.

Lee Kien Fei, one of the creators and performers, could only stay at an orchard in his hometown during the movement control order. He was inspired by a local blessing ceremony to pray for climbers’ safety in his creation for In Transit-ion.

"I hope to use performance art as a metaphor for a blessing ceremony, praying that people commuting on the MRT can come and go safely,” says Lee.

This project is supported by the Cultural Economy Development Agency (Cendana), Program Penjana Malaysia, MyCreative Ventures and MRT Corp.

More details: Orang Orang Drum Theatre.

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