Malaysians love to chit-chat about politics, neighbours and everyday stuff. That is what Tales From Malaysia Baru offers
AUNTY Kang, Kak Kiah, Ah Boon and Nathan are among the characters in Fa Abdul's latest play, Tales From Malaysia Baru, in Penang.
It is a reworking of her Big Nose Productions' 2013 play, In A Nutty Shell.
Says Fa: "Those who had seen that play would definitely want to catch Tales From Malaysia Baru. In A Nutty Shell received such amazing reviews and I am pretty sure they'll love this one too.
"The script of Tales From Malaysia Baru isn't only improved on to match the political climate of the country today, the actors too bring different chemistries through their characters. For example, In A Nutty Shell focused on three young men in a mamak stall, but Tales From Malaysia Baru involves characters of different generations, and with that we offer a different feel to the story."
The award-winning director and scriptwriter, known for her witty insights into Malaysian foibles, is all set to tickle with her brand of irony. The two-hour play, set in an old Chinese house in the heart of George Town, revolves around Aunty Kang, a 65-year-old tailor, and her nosy Malay neighbour Kak Kiah, who dwell on what's not right in Malaysia one hazy afternoon. They are soon joined by Aunty Kang's son, Ah Boon, and Nathan, a fellow neighbour.
This time, Fa as the scriptwriter, digs deeper into the dynamics and complex layers of relationships "among and between Bolehland's race-based citizenry in the context of a new political climate".
The script is strategically-timed to reflect Malaysians' current "wait-and-see" approach to judging the new government and its policies, while also taking aim at the reluctance of many Malaysians to see this as a time for change within their own mindsets.
Idiosyncrasy and idiocy take turns to show themselves in the energetic banter of the lead characters, played by local theatre favourites.
"Auditions were initially planned but never carried out. The more I tweaked the script, I realised auditions were not necessary as I already knew who would really fit into the characters. These are combinations of actors I have worked with in my previous productions and those I have always wanted to work with," says Fa.
The actors are Aloyah Bakar as Aunty Kang, Sharmila Kana as Kak Kiah, Lawrence Chin as Ah Boon and Ivan Alexander Francis Gabriel as Nathan.
Aloyah, a stalwart of Fa's productions, describes her character as "cool on the outside, intense and passionate on the inside, with an amazing quality of seeing through people's falsity and hollowness."
Since her return from the US, Sharmila has acted in a few of Fa's productions including Tales From The Jamban, Love In Georgetown City and Tales From The Scars.
Chin, a performing arts enthusiast, has been on and behind the stage since 2006 while Ivan made his stage debut at 7 years old. Penang audiences may remember him as the "Half Naked Guy" in Big Nose's Tales From The Bedroom.
Fa thinks Malaysians would love to watch the reflection of themselves on stage. "On how they sound when they are yapping away with friends and family, all those racist and hypocritical tones which most of the time we utter without realising it. It would make them laugh, cringe, think and go 'oops! I do that too!'."
Fa, who faced a brouhaha over her Sex/Love in George Town play early this year, is confident of going through this latest offering without a hitch. But, "these days, even with permits, we can end up cancelling shows thanks to some snowflakes!"