As part of Damansara Performing Arts Centre’s (DPAC) annual arts festival, HANDS Percussion’s collection of events collectively named Opium has decided to use the alternative spaces in the establishment to present a series of music performances with a tinge of artistic expression. There were four sections: Tunnel of Memories, Fake Freedom, Drumbeat of Pain, and The Finale. Each performance is presented to free-standing audiences in a proscenium stage format. Novelty seems to be main selling point in this collection of events. According to the programme booklet, the events reflect the artistic expressions of Malaysian and French artists. The artistic director of the event is Bernard Goh.
‘Scabs’ debuted last night at KLPAC with a small cast and a respectable audience turnout. I was pleasantly surprised that the play turned out to be strangely brave and had a resonant quality as I had been apprehensive about its content.
There was a scene with a chair, and a person with body painted in white, struggling and shouting. As if the scene was depicting my feelings at that time, the music that was accompanying it somehow relaxed my tensed body. That was the beauty of the Japanese Butoh, which originated from the fifties in Japan responding to the effects of the war.
Chin San Sooi is not an unfamiliar name in Malaysian theatre. He is renowned for directing Stella Kon’s seminal play Emily of Emerald Hill for times more than any director of that play ever did. He is also the artistic director of the Canticle Singers, a company which presents choral music and music pieces from different cultural milieus. Coming April 2016, in commemorating William Shakespeare’s 400th death anniversary, like many others, he will restage the bard’s classic Macbeth as well as an added Cantonese opera performance entitled The Inauguration of the Prime Minister (Lok Kok Tai Fong Seoog) before the actual performance of the play. Chin’s version of Macbeth was staged in 2015 featuring a full regalia of Chinese opera costumes.