Bhumi Collective’s Mak Mak Menari tells the story of a traditional Malay dance troupe, as named in the title. “Mak mak” which translates to “mum” and “menari” meaning “dancer” in Bahasa Melayu aptly describes the group of ex-dancers, working mothers and homemakers. Their story is charmingly told; a loving tribute to dance and these Malay women.
I watched a total of 17 plays in 2019. Not a lot, I must admit, and also maybe why the recent Life! theatre awards nominations left me with “Oh, maybe I should have watched that…”. So only two months late, here are my 3 favourite plays from 2019:
The Utama Spaceship Incident Report #000291
Reported by: P Tobin Title/Role: Passenger G328β Date of Report: 14012020 Location: Space, 59³ light years away from Alpha Centauri
Type of Security Incident: Unauthorised ship repair attempt.
→ A plunger over an air hole.
There is a real sense of intimacy that is conjured from podcasts. When I listen to a podcast on my morning commute, the lone speaker’s voice in my ear in a crowded MRT carriage makes me feel connected with another human being (hello, Michael Barbaro.) This is what Café Sarajevo effectively evokes – not just visually, as “ON AIR” in red capital letters are displayed behind cast members Mariel Marshall, Peter Musante, Lucy Simic and Stephen O’Connell. But also aurally – as every audience member dons headsets, the performance begins with Marshall’s gentle singing voice. Her song lulls us in, the audience is listening. Café Sarajevo begins.