Friday, October 21, 2005

(T) Oct 14, 2005 - Pygmalion (a Limerick)

Break-a-Leg attempts her first limerick... (ampun ya!)

An Irish he was, George Bernard Shaw
Malaysians watched his Pygmalion raw
  A tale of language, class and manners
  “Hey, it’s what’s in the heart that matters!”
Then, KLPac’s classed-seats were a flaw?

Paul Loosley’s quirky direction
Made hybrid interpretation
  A British-Edwardian closet
  In Malaysian culture it set
Man’s values for contemplation

Cast of fourteen; orchestra six
Conductor-in-kilt, a cute mix
  Though composer and lyricist
  Anonymity they insist
All in, the audience they transfix

Both script and song in can’t-repent Manglish
Don’t Talk Like That One” was almost English
  So began the Overture
  Of an unusual nature
A prologue for Shaw worthy of relish

Kaki Lima sets the path for intros
To characters with impressive credos
  Prof Harun Higgins was lingering
  With Colonel Sankeran Pickering
Besides two Ladies, both screeching psychos

Young Freddy the taxi-getter
Knocked Lisa’s flowers, that bugger
  “I am just a Muddy Bunga
  She rendered in brilliant raga
For moneys’ sake, does pride matter?

Later at Higgins’ Laboratory
Work on Lisa was exploratory
  How could he not twitch
  with phonetics itch?
To pass her as Datin is victory!

Sponsor Pickering debates
“Should I ask for rebates?”
  “Ai Ah, Ah Doi, Ai Yo,
  “Ai Ah, Ah Doi, Ai Yo,”
Let’s see what fate dictates

He’s willing, and wanting and waiting to tell
That his Ms ‘Too’Little, he’s willing to sell
  But that Mr ‘Tew’Little
  His rhetoric a tad brittle
Too many a time his elocution fell

Some scenes with less articulation
Drew laughs with literal description
  “That’s where the racket is coming from
  While “dropped your ‘hand’ phone” is great sitcom
There’s plenty of room for great diction

To Mrs Higgin’s Salon
Lisa was brought to test-con
  Could she small talk?
  Or make guests balk?
Will her future be forlorn?

What a Great Success” this project
Surely marriage proposals she’d expect
  “Well here’s your slipper,
  You no-good fibber
I’m naught but an all-class reject

The musical was too draggy
The clock showed almost twelve pagi
  The climax came at last
  Where Lisa made a blast
At Higgins, who went rickety

The difference between a lady
and a flower girl in the alley
  Is the manner in which she’s treated
  Gentlemen, more respect is needed
Enough of ego, pride and bully

So what of language, class and manners?
So what if we better our letters?
  There’s really no need for snobbery
  Mr Kueh Teow pays cash for Camry
For Peroduas, we seek bankers.

Pygmalion plays 14 – 30 Oct 2005, at Pentas 1, Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre. For more information, call 03-40479000 or email

p.s. Susan Yung (Village Voice)… you started it! :p

Friday, October 07, 2005

(D) Oct 7, 2005 - Jamu III - Dance Photography

Break-a-Leg took 11 photobugs to Jamu III and introduced them to the world of dance photography.

The 11 were from the newly launched
Lensa Malaysia, a community of practice for serious photobugs.

"Lensa" is the Bahasa Malaysia word for lenses closely related to photographic camera. They make no distinction between SLR or compact camera photographers. Anyone with an eye for capturing an enduring imagery is welcomed to join the community.

This non-profit portal is put up together by a group of serious hobbyists in photography from various backgrounds - people who have migrated from film to digital, from compact point-and-shoot to dSLR, and people who find marvels in simple pocket-size cameras.

One such pocket-size digital camera owner is yours truly... :D (Look for my Lensa psuedo laracroft)

Photobugs at Jamu III

Fumbling in the dark at first, the frustrated photobugs found that dance photography was quite a challenge - both light and object eluded them.

A beautiful dance photo captures the moment - the facial expression, the movement, the contours of the body, the colours, the interplay of light and shadow.

Here are some great first attempts by Lensa:

Leonard's Album

Alex Moi's Album

(D) Oct 7, 2005 - Jamu III

Freedom...Boredom by Gan Chih Pei
Pix by The Star

THEY saved the best for last – that was obvious last weekend when Akademi Seni Kebangsaan presented the third and final instalment of Jamu 2005 at its Experimental Theatre.

Jamu is a series of performances that began in 2001 as a means of providing critical exposure for contemporary dance in Malaysia.

While Jamu I and II (held in May and June respectively) featured three choreographies each, Jamu III offered six works by Gan Chih Pei, Mew Chang Tsing and Joseph Gonzales.

The two best pieces – Gan’s Freedom … Boredom and Gonzales’ 9 to 5 – sandwiched the other works.

Gan’s piece had premiered at the Surabaya Dance Festival in Indonesia last year. Lim Wei Wei, Amy Len Siew Mee and Tan Chai Chen did justice to the brilliant choreography. The three were dressed like Hans Christian Andersen’s Little Match Girl in brown hoods and rags with white splashes that resembled snow from afar.

The strength of this piece lay in its coherent structure as evident in the clear phrasing and the strongly etched character that each segment featured. Contrary to its title, however, the dance progressed from boredom to freedom.

The first part focused on individuality. Each dancer entered the stage in her own style: the first looked deliberate and mechanical, the second used smooth and swooping movements, and the third jolted about as if electric currents were going through her body.

Light was used brilliantly on stage – to create the illusion of a cage with bars among which one dancer amused herself, as if trapped by boredom; to form square boxes and rectangular pathways that gave the whole piece a futuristic feel.

After a dramatic halt when the three dancers dropped “dead” to the floor, came a beautifully juxtaposed contrast: one segment in which all the dancers moved slowly to fast music, and in another, two dancers moved in slow motion while the other was almost frenetic.

Gan also made full use of the space on stage. She plotted her dance from the front of the stage (downstage) to the back (upstage), moving the dancers backwards diagonally.

As each dancer “retreated” back into the style she used to enter the stage, the spotlight blinked off, as if snuffing her out. It was a dramatic end to a brilliant piece of work.

In Gonzales’ funky contemporary piece, 9 to 5, Kuala Lumpur’s top ballerinas, Elynn Chew (National Ballet Champion), Jessica Ho, Annie Liew and Lee Wen Yan, hung up their pointe shoes and tutus in favour of platforms and groovy, psychedelic-coloured micromini skirts. To complete the 1960s look, they also wore wigs and feathers.

Drama abounded in this work. The four dancers played model and walked to and fro on the “catwalk” on stage. Student extras were roped in to play journalists and photographers crowding the catwalk.

The dancers then played secretary, typist, tea lady, and other typical office work roles. Then they left the office, where they’d been serving others all day, and went home – where they were served by their male maids! This was the most fun and entertaining piece of the night, with the dancers showing that they can handle both comedic and classical dance.

Gonzales also restaged Windows and Walls, a piece he had choreographed for Azizi Sulaiman in 2002. This was a farewell performance for Azizi, who will pursue a degree in Dance Performance in Korea on an Art Major Asian Scholarship. Azizi gave the props as well as his imagination, not to mention his safety, a good working out as he showed the audience the many different ways there are to toy with a wooden frame!

Mew Chang Tsing and the dancers from her RiverGrass Dance Theatre restaged three pieces: Qi.v, Rose and 1+1. Qi.v stood out with a beginning that looked like an alien abduction scene. As the dancers swayed zombie-like amidst a whirl of dry ice vapour, they were dramatically backlit. Mew performed well in this piece that featured several difficult lifting sections and movements borrowed from classical Chinese dance.

Except for 9 to 5, all the pieces performed were old works. While the Jamu series has done much over the years to give contemporary dance a serious presence in Malaysia, it would be great if it could trigger the creation of more new works next year.