New writers set to shine on Penang stage, exploring love's many shades

Carolyn Chow starring in last year's Kuala Lumpur performance of 'Red Lipstick', one of the monologues that will be performed in the upcoming 'Her Story | His Story' show in Penang. Photo: Joshuchuphotos

There's more to love than romantic love – in its latest show Her Story | His Story, theatre outfit Big Nose Productions explores the different ways we love.

The collection of six monologues will be staged for the first time in George Town, Penang on March 1 and 2, offering humorous, surreal and deeply personal stories with differing perspectives on human relationships.

The 80-minute show came about from an online playwriting workshop conducted in 2021, resulting in 20 monologues that were staged last year in two instalments in collaboration with KLPac and The Actors Studio.

The monologues that will be performed in Her Story | His Story were hand-picked from the pool of 20 by the show's director, Fa Abdul, and were written by Binnu, AC Wong, Faizal Sohaimi, Bina K, Bing Hou and Lawrence Chin – all new talents in the performing arts scene.

“The six monologues featured in this show were chosen because they carry different narratives of love – love for oneself, love for parents, longing for love, losing love and fighting for love,” says Fa, who is the founder of Big Nose Productions.

Inspired by real-life experiences, the colourful monologues will be brought to life by six actors from different backgrounds – Tommes, a celebrity chef turned stand-up comedian; Swarna Naidu, a former Miss Universe Malaysia runner-up; Lauren Tan, a lawyer; Ian Lee, an engineer; Ivan Gabriel, an arts curator; and Izatul Akmal, an acting coach.

Her Story | His Story follows the classic confessional monologue style, which allows the storyteller and the story itself to be the stars of the show.

In describing what audiences can expect, Fa says: “The show is very minimalistic in nature. There will not be any grand setting or lighting on stage. There will only be an actor and her/his story.

“However, with the powerful style of storytelling, the audience can expect to be fully immersed into each story. I expect there to be lots of smiling, laughing, thinking, jaw dropping and tearing. So don’t forget your tissues!”

To support the theatre industry in Penang, tickets to Her Story | His Story are priced at RM28. Fa adds that Big Nose Productions will be retaining the same ticket price for all its theatre productions in Penang this year.

Her Story | His Story will be my first stage play in Penang since the closure of Penangpac in 2021 – it not only marks my return to the Penang theatre scene, but is also a vow to continue my work in Penang's performing arts scene,” she shares.

Her Story | His Story plays at Auditorium A, Komtar, George Town, Penang on March 1 and 2. The show contains mature themes and language. More info here.

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