Performance of play titled 'Sex in George Town' called off after public outcry

GEORGE TOWN: A stage play called “Sex in George Town” was called off after public protests that it allegedly contained pornographic elements.

It was first performed on Valentine’s Day at the  Performing Arts Centre of Penang (Penangpac) but a number of groups held a protest outside the centre, forcing the police to step in.

However, there were no pornographic elements in the play, said George Town OCPD Asst Comm Che Zaimani Che Awang (pic).

“It’s a comedy sketch. The organiser’s mistake was that the publicity and advertising gave the impression of pornography,” he said in a text message to reporters on Friday (Feb 15).

ACP Che Zaimani said he spoke with the organisers at Penangpac on Thursday (Feb 14), urging them to cancel subsequent shows as a result of the public confusion and outcry.

He gave assurance that if there were any lewd elements in the play, the police had the power to stop it.

The play was renamed “<3 in George Town” - "<3" being the text emoticon for the love symbol and performances were set to go on until Saturday (Feb 16).

A spokesman from Penangpac confirmed that the subsequent replays were cancelled and all tickets will be refunded.

The play’s producer Fatimah Abd Kareem, more popularly known as Fa Abdul, issued a public apology on Facebook.

“I write to apologise for my oversight with regard to the misleading title of my play. It was never my intent to offend religious or cultural sensitivities but in the creative industry, such incidents are inevitable.”

Fatimah explained that the play consists of 10 comedy sketches of eight minutes each that address social issues such as inter-racial relationships, racism, paedophilia, and infidelity.

“They are not deviant nor exploitative, instead they reflect our challenges and cultural idiosyncrasies,” she added.