How young theatre performers are negotiating identity, social belonging


The 'Don’t Like It Here? Then Leave' cast (from back, left) Adam Hamizan, Visshnu Varman, Timothy Leong, Ashvinder Kaur, Murasaki Haru and Chrystal. Photo: Theatresauce

Theatresauce's upcoming play Don’t Like it Here? Then Leave, which opens at KLPac on May 19 examines the different notions of home and our places of belonging, arguably induced by two years of pandemic restrictions and lockdowns.

The 80-minute play is directed by the Subang Jaya-based collective’s founder Kelvin Wong.

“The play reflects the rhetoric many Malaysians grow up hearing, as if greener pastures are assumed to be found elsewhere.

“It sweeps real issues and traumas under the rug by suggesting to flee rather than fight. And when one grows weary of the uphill battle and all is said and done, does it make sense to finally leave? What happens when one can’t, as is the case for many Malaysian millennials and Gen-Zs?” says Wong, 36.

Don’t Like it Here? Then Leave, presented in collaboration with KLPac, features Chrystal Foo, Adam Hamizan, Ashvinder Kaur, Murasaki Haru, Timothy Leong, and Visshnu Varman. Chinese theatre veteran Amelia Tan designs the lighting while Theatresauce’s in-house multimedia designer Jazzie Lee handles the projections.

The play will mix real and fictional personal accounts, using a variety of storytelling techniques from monologues, satire, expressive movements and video recording. The public can also interact physically or via their phones.

Wong feels the issues that are explored in the play are extremely pertinent.

“From the new generation not being able to afford new homes to ethnic tensions where minorities are still being told to live elsewhere if they’re unhappy, we all have some idea of our ideal homes.

“Some feel like home is where our parents are, some feel like they belong when they’re surrounded by like-minded people, some have built a sense of home not physically but online. Each of these are not without their own problems, though. And the production explores these anxieties,” he explains.

The themes in the show resonate on a more personal level with the young cast members.

“In these past two years, things have been weird and uncertain. This play has been that outlet for me. It has been therapeutic in a way, to unpack our stories and be vulnerable. Most importantly, as a Malaysian Punjabi woman, this play tells audiences a little bit of my story too,” concludes Ashvinder.

Don’t Like it Here? Then Leave plays at KLPac on May 19-22.

More details here.

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KLPac , Theatresauce , Show , Theatre , Performing arts

   

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