This week, local theatre group Theatresauce returns to the scene with the its first public showcase in two years. With an emphasis on bringing up the next generation of theatre directors, The Emerging Directors Lab aims to shape the voices and visions of new talents in the KL scene. Until We Catch The Dawn is a collection of five short plays from five local directors selected under the Theatresauce series.
“We were blessed to be able to spend almost two years together workshopping ideas and choosing the short plays for this showcase,” says Kelvin Wong, Theatresauce creative director.
“Theatresauce really highlights the directors work and with the Emerging Directors Lab we were able to not only teach theories and principles of theatre but also develop the creative voices and visions of these five young artists,” he adds.
Until We Catch The Dawn, which plays from Feb 9-13 at Indicine, KLPAC, will feature short plays directed by Dexter Zhen (The Widow Of Fort Road, written by Alfian Sa'at), Low Lee Choy (Downstream Delta, written by Alfian Sa'at), Mia Sabrina Mahadir (Noah, written by Shamaine Othman), Dinesh Kumar (Iridescence, written by Alfian Sa'at) and Dhinesha Kartigesu (Onthakan - The Blue Hour, written by Rajkumar Thiagaras). Each of the directors took a script and adapted it for the stage. Each of them was encouraged to make these stories personal and totally unique yet coherent under one larger theme. A cast of 10 actors will be involved in these plays.
“It was a rewarding experience not only seeing them develop in skill and craft during the classes but also see their growth outside the programme. The awareness they had about their own work and the context of the larger KL theater scene in conversations between casual hangouts and breaks strengthened our bonds. I would say that I learned from them just as much as they learned from me,” says Wong.
The theatre scene in the Klang Valley made many changes during the pandemic. Some institutions closed down, while others went online to survive. Theatresauce, which had the opportunity to undergo a period of hiatus, the Emerging Directors Lab series marks the first of three upcoming in-person theatre showcases this year.
“We are grateful to have lasted through 2020 and 2021 with a new phase, my team and I took nothing for granted whenever we had performances. Adhering to strict SOPs for everyone's safety was a priority and treating the privilege of performing on stage as if it could be our last,” says Wong.
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Resilience of young theatre makers
Children’s stories are never just for children and KLPac’s Theatre For Young People (T4YP) ensemble sets out to prove just that as it gives a classic fairytale an unexpected and bold panto makeover. The Emperor’s New Clothes Or How The Procession Has Got To Go On runs from Feb 10-13 at Pentas 2, KLPac, and the theatre series marks the finale of T4YP’s 2021 season enabled by Creador Foundation.
Directed by Tung Jit Yang, The Actors Studio’s director in-residence who is also one of the T4YP’s facilitators and alumnus of the programme, this work explores the popular Hans Christian Andersen’s fable The Emperor’s New Clothes about the pitfalls of vanity and greed from the point of view of six young family members embodied by the six T4YP ensemble members. It investigates the notion of family and society, and how they intersect.
What will be revealed about this family? Inspired by Augusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed, reality TV, and the translated text by Jean Hersholt – audience bears witness to the drama and clash between dramaturgies, points of view, and the histories of these six youths.
“Boal taught us that theatre can not only in Shakespeare's terms be a mirror which our vices and virtues are reflected but a 'magic mirror' into which the players, the audience, the playing-audience or 'spect-actors' may pass through and into, changing the image before them. By exploring the text this way, what other stories emerge? What change can happen?” says Tung.
“The Emperor's New Clothes tells of a family, and I found it interesting the father of the truth-speaking child, at first is embarrassed, and even tries to obfuscate the words of his own family, or maybe even more so because they were kin? Everyone knows that families are some of the most complex relationships we can have,” he adds.
The Emperor’s New Clothes Or How The Procession Has Got to Go On will feature a class of young thespians who auditioned in 2020 and persevered through lockdowns and online training since June 2021 to finally graduate.
The show will feature Alethea Chong, an audio technology and music lover who discovered theatre while working with Phnom Penh Players in Cambodia; psychology undergraduate Amaliyna Helmi; Danniel Iskandar and Eugene Ong who are corporates by day and actors by night; rising triple threat talent Elene Tang; and finally Nephi Shaine, a budding playwright who won Short+Sweet Theatre’s Best Newcomer Award at age 16.
Tickets for T4YP’s upcoming showcase, supported by MyCreative Ventures and The Actors Studio Seni Teater Rakyat, can be purchased here.