Kee Thuan Chye, author of ‘No More Bullshit, Please, We’re All Malaysians’ and other bestselling books, returns to the Malaysian stage as playwright-director after an absence of more than two decades. His last play, ‘We Could **** You, Mr Birch’, played to full houses in 1994 and was invited the following year to the Festival of Asian Performing Arts.
He now brings for the first time to Malaysia his play ‘Swordfish + Concubine’ in its original English version, realising a dream he has harboured since long before the play was judged one of the top 5 in the International Playwriting Festival 2006 organised in the United Kingdom.
To be staged at KLPac’s Pentas 1 from November 2 to 5, the production aims to help raise funds for the family of Ooi Eow Jin, the former RTM Orchestra conductor, who is 78 and suffering from Alzheimer’s and whose son recently underwent surgery to remove a brain tumour.
‘Swordfish + Concubine’ is an epic production based on the classic ‘Sejarah Melayu’ (Malay Annals). Thuan Chye digs into the past to create a story about the present.
The story of ancient Singapura attacked by swordfish until it is saved by a boy, and of a young, smart and spirited concubine sentenced to death by impalement – this is made relevant to Malaysia today.
Kee turns it into a lavish and fun-filled piece of theatre. The play is packed with drama, humour, music, movement, silat and, as they used to say in the old Hollywood heydays, “a cast of thousands”! Hahaha!
It incorporates gamelan music performed by the magnificent Rhythm in Bronze – and rap. Yes, rap! Hahaha!
Its dream cast comprises Malaysia’s best actors – Na’a Murad, Sandra Sodhy, Qahar Aqilah, Alfred Loh, Hana Nadira, Arief Hamizan, Amanda Ang, Bella Rahim, Gregory Sze, Iefiz Alaudin, Bright Ong and 12-year-old Joel Timothy Low. In the play, they act, sing, dance and fight. Yes, fight!