A must-save playlist!
Writer: Dominic Luk
Published: Fri, 15 Mar 2013
From March 8 to 10, the first year students of the Department of Performance & Media at Sunway University presented ‘The Playlist’, a 45-minute devised theatre performance constructed by the students. The performance, basically, was made up of several short skits and plays, all conceptualised based on lyrics and songs written and composed by Malaysian artists.
Under the supervision of their lecturer, Mark Teh, the students were given seven weeks to conduct research and devise their presentations using the ideas from the songs they had selected. Songs by popular Malaysian artists like Ah Niu, Brian Gomez, DJ Fuzz, Huang Yi Fei, Mia Palencia, P. Ramlee, Pete Teo, The Have-Nots, and Zee Avi were selected.
The performance was brilliantly made up of different approaches to interpret lyrics from songs using varied forms of physical movements, while playing around with sound, music, and speech.
For example, The Playlist began with a performance based on Ah Niu’s song, Mamak Tang (written in 1998). The students explained how the sounds we hear in the mamak stalls are often neglected, which is very true. Using the concept of rhythmic beats and percussive noise, they interacted with the audience by making them order some typical mamak dishes. And from there, they used objects commonly seen at a mamak to make sound, all in a carefully choreographed pattern. These objects included newspapers, bowls, plates, brooms, jars etc.
The entire cast comprised of 30 students who played different roles and made their stories and ideas come to life. It was simple, yet highly effective, with the use of things like an overhead projector to make lighting effects and to project words onto a wall made of newspapers.
It was a very creative show which was memorable, simply for the fact that the students used art and their creativity to share their own thoughts about their roles as citizens in our country, and how they feel as youth of a growing nation. In one item, the students took out their identity cards, yelled out their names and IC number, and explained how their race has little to do with how they should be perceived.
Everyone wanted to be seen as a strong individual who could come together as one. The students, after showing the audience their ICs, stuck it on their foreheads to show how our identities on our ICs shamefully dictate who people assume we should be, mainly by our race and religion. Shameetha Pillai received a huge applause when she introduced herself in Mandarin, proving to us that the colour of our skin should not determine what languages we speak or who our friends should be.
Overall, I was impressed by the performance. I arrived the Roof Top Theatre at the campus with almost no expectations, but left feeling proud of these students who are channeling their sense of national pride through the arts. It was certainly a breath of fresh air, with a bunch of very talented youngsters to show that great things are happening in our country.