Don't Look Back….

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 No, this is not a post about reminiscence but rather, a post about a theatre that I recently went to with a colleague of mine, D. It is titled as such because it is loosely based on the Greek mythology of Orpheus and Eurydice. It was a project by my company’s Arts Department and of course, we bought tickets to show our support.

I went on the first night it opened, not knowing what to expect at all. The only thing we knew was this theatre was something different – instead of a sit down thing – we audiences have to walk along together with the performers on their ‘stage’ (and possibly, interact with them?). According to the promotional flyers and postcards, it is called a ‘site-responsive theatre performance’. And this ‘stage’ was this run down building in the heart of KL, which was formerly known as Majestic Hotel. Judging from the name, it probably was something grand in the old times, but honestly, I did not know of its existence at all. When I asked my mother, she had merely asked “Still there ah?” and when I said I would be there for a theatre performance, she asked if the hotel was turned into a cinema (aka theatre hall). I did not reply, cos I didn’t want to tell her about me walking into this old building at night for some not-so-living-based performance.

02022007.jpgThe Majestic Hotel

We drove there from work early, cos we were expecting traffic jam, which was a norm on Fridays. However, the roads were unexceptionally clear, resulting in us arriving early. Bored, we chatted with our colleague and at the same time fed ourselves to the hungry mosquitoes.

The ‘journey’ started at 8pm sharp, and we audiences were supossed to be ushered in at 5 mins intervals. D and I were the first to arrive, so, we were supposed to be the first to go in. Not knowing what to expect, we gladly gave up our position to several others, so, if something were to happen, we are actually ‘sandwiched’ between other groups. Yea, sounds stupid, I know, but when you are at a stage where you didn’t know what to expect, it’s always good to play safe, right?

Anyway, since there was only the two of us, the organisers asked another person who came alone to join us. We shall not talk abouot him here cos — it didn’t really make a difference whether he was there or not.

The first encounter we had was with this guy (Thor Kah Hoong) whom we thought was fantastic. Being the only one with the longest script (and the longest contact with we audiences) I think it would very much depend on him to create and instil the initial fear and mysterious feelings in each audience. Another colleague of mine who was in a different group had her eyes half closed most of the time.

The entire journey took about 45 mins but if we would like to linger around longer, we could. We were advised to take our time, else we would miss out on certain ‘things’. Once we are led into the building, we were supposed to be navigating (ourselves) through the numerous halls, corridors and rooms. And strategically positioned in some of these places are the performers. They do not talk to us, but were busy doing their own things, which could be quite eerie sometimes.

My favourite ‘scenes’ or to put it more aptly, ‘encounters’ would be:

  • watching of them them seated silently laying obituary cut-outs on the floor
  • being kept in a room where another hovered above us, laying flowers on a glass(plastic?) partition and then closing it with a lid slowly – so that we get the feeling of being buried alive
  • the one where one was cutting into strips our names (the sound of the ‘cutter’ or whatever you call it) echoed thru the room and it was scary to me
  • the bride that appeared seemingly behind the wall when we were walking up the stairs and then disappearing again — I thought this was an excellent effect
  • the violin player was another excellent performer – made us feel dreamlike and wanting to sit there and listent to him play forever (clue: Orpheus!)
  • Well, there were more scenes, but I could not really mention all of them here. At the end of the performance, both D and I thought it was a really unique experience, definitely worth the dosh we forked out for it. And of course, other colleagues that went also had provided good reviews.  

    And oh, by the way, the tickets are all sold out. Sorry to those who are intrigued now. Wanted to put this up earlier, but didn’t think it was appropriate to include spoilers for those who have not watched it.

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