Friday, 26 February 2016

Huzir Sulaiman's The Weight of Silk on Skin

It's been about 12 years since there was ever a local production of Huzir Sulaiman's plays (that I was aware of, anyway), and about 13 years since I first saw the production of Atomic Jaya way back when. 

I had read the play when I got a copy of his latest compilation of plays, Huzir Sulaiman: Collected Plays 1998 - 2012 at the main Kinokuniya store (the one on Orchard Rd) in Singapore last year (I have no idea where to get a copy if you're outside Singapore). So I had a pretty good idea going in what it's about. 

I couldn't pass up a production of a Huzir Sulaiman play and I lagi couldn't pass up a erm, RM4 early bird discount by Theatrex Asia (RM45 instead of RM55; even DPAC members had to pay RM49) which involved a Google Docs online form, a Whatsapp convo and having to bank in money to the production company's Public Bank account... Like so dodgy liddat

I almost forgot that I was going opening night. Got there long enough so that I would only have to sit outside in the balmy weather for less than 10 minutes. The audience makeup is a bit odd in that there were a significant number of Mainland Chinese people (ehh??) for the show. Maybe they were students there for extra credit or something. I don't know, I'm just guessing. But it was a full house.

Previously performed by Ivan Heng (in 2011) and Adrian Pang in Singapore just last year, Dominic Lucien Luk is the youngest person in the role of John Au Yong. If I already didn't know that the character is in his late 40s and Dominic IRL is only a year older than yours truly, then I might be able to buy that. But I kind of didn't. If nothing else, I really felt the emotions in Dominic's delivery of the last lines and almost shed some tears myself. I also have to give the guy props for not being thrown off by the weird yips and out of place laughter. 

Reading the text, I hadn't expected the play to be so long that there would be a need for intermission. Which was just as well, as it felt stuffy inside the Black Box and the weather outside wasn't any better either.

Between the sinus headache, forgetting my wallet (stressing about how to pay for parking), and the random vocal tics from that one person, I had a tough time getting into John Au Yong's world. I suppose I should be glad I can always read the text.
  • I don't know how many parents realise that how racy the text is. I can't imagine going to this show with my parents. Someone even brought 2 little girls to the show! 
  • When the play first started, I heard the Chinese girl behind me go, "hao shuai" ROFL But didn't appreciate feeling her knees digging into the back of my seat later...
  • BFM's resident theatre critic was also in attendance.
  • Some person with Tourette's was in the audience. I don't know if it's the same person I've only ever heard when I go to certain shows (noticeably on opening nights). At least her vocal tics aren't coprolalic. But it's hard to get into it when you don't know when the next vocal tic (and resulting laughter from the audience reacting to that) is going to happen. 
  • Having Tourette's suck, and the people who laughed should be ashamed of themselves.
  • Anyone who's seen or read Atomic Jaya might recognise the name David Nussbaum, who gets name-dropped in this play too (I checked). I think I might be the only one who recognised this name.
Show started around 8.45 p.m., and ended around 10.30 p.m.

There's only 3 shows left in the run. If you can still get tickets, you should check this out. Perhaps you'll get more out of it than I did.