Monday, 11 August 2014

Angels in America: Part One - Millennium Approaches

Only found out about it because someone wanted to go see it and because there was flat rate admission. I will freely admit that I didn't know too much about it going in. 

From the Facebook event page... (mostly because I can't be backside-d to explain what it's about)
theatrethreesixty presents the Malaysian premiere of

Written by Tony Kushner
Directed by Christopher Ling 
Featuring: Alexis Wong, Azzad Mahdzir, Belinda Hon, Dominic Lucien Luk, Jon Chew, Nicole-Ann Thomas, Qahar Aqilah, Sandra Sodhy & Tan Meng Kheng 

It is 1985. Prior Walter is HIV positive. His partner leaves him for a Mormon. Then he gets a visit from an angel who says it is up to him to save mankind. Meanwhile, love/hate, heaven and earth, past and future collide. 
In honour of the 20th anniversary of its commission, theatrethreesixty presents the Malaysian premiere of Tony Kushner's epic Pulitzer and Tony award-winning comedy directed by Christopher Ling, featuring an ensemble led by Qahar Aqilah, Dominic Lucien Luk, Jon Chew and Sandra Sodhy.

One of the most honoured American plays in history, ANGELS IN AMERICA was awarded two Tony Awards for Best Play and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. It was made into an Emmy Award-winning HBO film in 2003 and has received hundreds of performances worldwide in more than twenty-six languages.
I wasn't expecting so many people in attendance for a Sunday matinee performance (about 80 - 90% full house?). Which made me wonder if the flat rate ticket price was a factor (most likely), and also that some of the fellow attendees were media types and friends/family of the director and cast. 

You've been warned.
The set was pretty elaborate but made a butt load of sense for the script. What I appreciated was the projections that tell you the act number, date and place so you know what's going on. They were also not kidding about potentially offensive themes and language. Some people gasped when two dudes kissed, to which I thought, "what did you think was gonna happen?". Or when one of the guys dropped trou (but not totally butt naked, this is Malaysia). 

For a play that's about 3 hours long (not including the 15 minute intermission) that's pretty heavy, it has its light moments, but I was tired, overheated and out of it to laugh. I was also (but not the only one) distracted from the random yips, yelps and exclamations which I'm not entirely sure was from someone in the audience or if it was part of the play's design. I was so out of it, I didn't know the play had ended when it did. I was just glad I went for matinee and not the evening performance because it almost 6.30 p.m. by the time we were done. I don't know if Part 2 is ever happening, but if it does, I'll go because of the completist in me will want to. If you're looking for light entertainment, this is not it. But if you're looking for something provoking, then you're welcome to check this out. I thought it was okay, but I'm okay with just watching it once.

Tickets are RM38; there's a mid week and Sunday matinee flat rate admission for RM28, but free seating. There are concessions and other ticketing promotions, and running until the next weekend. Find out more here. The online programme is here

PS. Had to appreciate that one of the partners was Cat in the Box, who of course was selling food and drink outside the Black Box.

PPS. No wonder I had mild deja vu - I had seen Jon Chew and Qahar Aqilah on stage together over a year ago when they did Philadelphia, Here I Come! at klpac.