After Waking

Last Friday evening, I was just looking for some kawan to lepak at Devi’s Corner in Bangsar after work. I never go home straight after work on a Friday night, because traffic is a bitch and I try not to be one of the bitches on the road at that peak hour. So I was tweeting asking on people’s whereabout until a friend of mine told me that she’s going to watch a play at mapKL. I went to the FB event’s page and saw a familiar name, Jay Redza as one of the performers. Immediately without hesitation, I told my friend that I’ll be joining her that evening.

So we met up at Bestari for some quick dinner before heading to the White Box in mapKL where the play will be staged. I haven’t seen Jay for more than a year, so to be watching her first performance after a few years is also quite refreshing. To be honest, I didn’t know what the play was all about. So we’re bound for a surprise.

After Waking, is actually a physical theatre piece inspired by the Malay Mak Yong epic, “Dewa Muda”. Performed by the reTheatre Company, it is a adaptation and fusion of Malaysian and American traditions in a young man’s journey to find the girl of his dreams. You can see the malay characters of “puteri kayangan” and “nenek kebayan”, with the playful quest of the western prince charming and his faithful friends. It’s not just about the search for the one true love, but also dealing with issues after you have found the one, which leads to another question, if the one is the right one. The fact that it focuses on the excitement and anticipation of searching and what people does when they have found what they’ve been looking for is extremely brilliant and practical.

Performed by three American performers Alex Amery, Jaki Bradley and Conner Marx alongside local stars such as Ani Juliana Ibrahim, Jay Redza and Hemavathi Sivanesan, ‘After Waking’ is supported by the Fulbright Program, MAP and the Malaysian-American Commission for Educational Exchange (MACEE). It was also assisted by the brilliant musicians from Akademi Seni Budaya dan Warisan Kebangsaan (ASWARA) namely Amir Hamzah Jamil, Ahmad Ridwan Hussin, Harith Sabiria Mat Yusuf and Mohd Shariffudin Jarit. It was staged three nights in a row from Friday May 13th until Sunday May 15th.

Although the lead role is played by Jaki Bradley, I wonder if the adaptation can go a step further to not having a woman playing the lead role of a man, but to actually have a woman searching for her own ‘puteri kayangan’. Because visually, that’s what we saw in the play, and it wasn’t awkward at all, except when we glance back to the programme flyer, it is about a man searching for his princess.

This being only my second physical theatre I’ve watched, but I actually like the concept. I like the movements and leaving the audience to ponder what the heck is happening although as an audience, I might be thinking about what I wanted to have for supper after the play.

Nevertheless, kudos to the team, brilliant effort, love the audience participation, and I didn’t even sleep, so you guys gets 2 thumbs up for that. šŸ˜‰

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