STARTING off with a couple who are clearing their family home and packing up the last few boxes before they leave for good, the play Ingatan strikes a chord with anyone who has lost their parents.
The husband, whose family home they are vacating, recollects memories of his parents, from the passing of his mother affectionately called ‘Mak’ after a prolonged ailment to the deteriorating mental health of his father, ‘Abah’, who had dementia.
The ‘Mak’ and ‘Abah’ characters are acted out by life-size puppets made out of cardboards and on their heads, there are casing holders stuck to hold in place iPads displaying the ‘faces’ of ‘Mak’ and ‘Abah’.
The husband recollects memories of his elderly parents, through videos played on the iPads.
The scene takes on a heart-tugging turn when ‘Mak’ passes away and ‘Abah’ starts losing hismemory.
The son played by Azzad Mahdzir tries to jolt Abah’s memory with family pictures but finds it difficult to explain to Abah that Mak is not at work but has passed on.
It then ends with a final scene between father and son, as the son holds on to the cardboard puppet and sobs after the wife questions why he has decided to leave boxes with Abah’s belongings behind.
Written and directed by Fasyali Fadzly, from the newly formed theatre company Main Theatre, the ‘iPuppad theatre’ — a hybrid of puppetry and iPad, carries elements from his personal life, having been inspired to write the play after losing his father.
Fasyali, 35, said he was inspired to write a play about memory after his father’s passing, as he still keeps his father’s phone number.
“That is the struggle that I had, if I should delete it or keep the number saved.
“Our generation keeps all our memories in our phone memory.
“We remember things in different forms these days and our generation is narcissistic.
“The videos of Abah is actually just the son talking to himself,” he said after the recent play at The Star Pitt St. in Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling, Penang.
Fasyali said the younger generation would be able to relate to it more as they communicate only via their devices.
“I wanted to incorporate the idea of narcissism as well as talk about our memories.
“These days if you notice, we all recollect certain memories and think about the old days.
“We do not talk about the present or future as much.
“The scene where the Abah’s character which is played out on the iPad keeps going through the family album and only recollects certain old memories is like a summary of what will happen to us if we hold on.
“The final scene where the son does not take some of the boxes containing his father’s belongings when he leaves the house, is to point out that there are some things you should take with you and some you should leave behind,” he said.
The prototype of the play was first showcased in Japan last year before debuting at the George Town Festival.