Every day, old things are given a new face and new ideas emerge. In conjunction with the R.AGE-Nokia N93 Mobilfilm Challenge, we present this series of articles chronicling stories about young people who challenge themselves and dare to see new, hear new, feel new and do new.
IDEAS come and go, lighting us once and hurrying by, sometimes never to be seen again. Having come up with brilliant plans, rarely do we rise to the occasion of making our dreams come true, simply because it is sometimes too much of a hassle.
For the relatively new but completely original “indie” youth theatre group, The Oral Stage, all it took was an idea, a gathering together of a few friends and a lot of dedication.
A couple of years ago, college student Kelvin Wong started the group with only 10 members, and they staged eight, a play which put them out there as an independent group, serious about their passion for theatre.
Friend, musician and talented writer Patricia Low, 21, said that though it was a grey area for all of them, despite the obvious financial barriers, as well as the concern over how much time they could allow themselves to sacrifice, it was all worth the while.
“We were determined to get going, as the ideas kept flowing in but we couldn’t do much about them until we had time and a place to just brainstorm and rehearse,” said the student of English Literature.
Word of mouth eventually brought them to Dram Projects, a studio that was everything they wanted.
Managing the studio is Jenifer Kuah, a friend of the arts. She allows them to use the space for free and recently hosted The Oral Stage’s Open Mic Gig, at Food Foundry, the restaurant in Section 17, Petaling Jaya she runs just next door to Dram Projects.
“They mean well and it is rare to see such passionate young people, serious about their goals,” says Kuah.
A true believer in the cause is Low's friend and fellow writer/poet/actor Priya K.
“The Oral Stage’s aim is to make theatre available to everyone, especially youths,” explains the 21-year-old.
“Students need an avenue to express themselves, without judgement or prejudice. The Oral Stage is meant to be less elitist, more accessible to anyone who has an idea to bring to the table.”
Most of their activities, auditions and rehearsals are passed around by word of mouth, a very “indie” way to go about it, as Priya so aptly puts it.
Its people, varying in age, culture, field and place of study, recently staged Rojak!, a mixture of ten very different shorts, at the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (KLpac).
“We came up with the funds for the project by holding a garage sale, then had our talented designer friends come up with a programme book, posters, postcards and flyers,” said Low.
Now that their numbers have grown and the public’s interest in what they do is steadily increasing, what is in the works for The Oral Stage?
“Our next project is Fifty-Nine Minutes, a bi-monthly series of short plays and monologues. Word about it will hit the streets soon,” sais Low.
With such talented young people putting in so much of their time, effort, hearts and souls into something they believe in, The Oral Stage will definitely be around for a long while more.
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