A year ago, around the same time, we went for our first Short & Sweet Gala Finals at KLPAC. We luv it very much… and this year, we are back for more!
Short & Sweet is the brainchild of Dato’ Faridah Merican (and her partner-in-crime Joe Hasham) making its debut here in 2008 with just the Theatre format. When we attended last year’s Gala Finals, they’ve already added Dance to its repertoire (but being newbies to this show, we didn’t know and thus missed that!)
This year they’ve added Musicals to the list and yet we contrived to miss the Dance Gala Finals again! Thankfully we managed to come to our senses and promptly booked tickets for the Theatre Gala Finals.
Short & Sweet Theatre is an innovative concept of a series of 10-minutes plays put together by emerging local directors, screenwriters and actors. The ten best plays are then selected to appear in a Gala Final night where awards are given out for Best Actor, Best Director, Best Production, etc.
With ticket prices for the Gala Finals at just Rm43/pax (comparatively the Kings & Queen show we attended a week earlier cost almost 7 times as much!), the event was backed by heavy sponsorship from various organizations, notably YTL one of the co-founders of KLPAC, an important hub for Malaysia’s young performing arts industry.
Kudos to the following sponsors for making this happen!
ASHELISM in Theatre?
My niece Reimena has been helping us with some creative work (for Boardgamecafe.net) lately. Waiyan suggested we should take her along for the Gala Finals since this type of show is likely her cup of tea. Her first theatre?
We were early. Very. Hardly a soul there and we were half wondering if… we’d got the date wrong? Nah.. We were just.. very early.
After collecting our tickets, snooping around the box office to see what other shows they are having next, checking out the merchandise shop.
Bought S&S t-shirts and a mug for souvenir.
Eerr… I think the kid was waving at me! 😛
And then it’s time to feed our stomach. 😛
The Curtain Call Bistro, the last time we were here (was last Sep me think) did not have much food to offer, except some really expensive meehoon goreng. However they have upped their game, and we can see they’ve a good list of a la carte meals to choose from.
Both me & wifey went for Singapore Meehoon Goreng – we saw a customer having this and it looked yummy – while Reimena chose Vegetarian Fried Rice, which was given thumbs up by her as well.
So ah well, we can now afford to have dinner here in KLPAC while waiting for the show to open it’s door. Cool.
We hanged around the foyer waiting for the queue to form at the entrance to Pentas 2. As Pentas 2 is a free-seating theatre, we need to get into kiasu mode to ensure we queue early to get a good seat.
Last year, the Gala Finals had 10 plays. This year, they’ve added 2 more.
FARIDAH & JOE
They are simply awesome!! And KL’s Performing Act industry owes so much to the tireless effort of these two in organizing, promoting and nurturing emerging talents!
Alrite, let’s get to the plays….
1. Birds Fly into Ceiling Fans and Die
Two siblings struggle to move forward in their lives, unable to see eye-to-eye.
Hmm… first show was, not, that, fantastic. Maybe it’s just me. The delivery of lines were wooden and bland. Think they were supposed to play two siblings in constant argument but can’t feel the underlying emos…
I think the title is meant to be a sarcastic punchline, but imho it went flat.
2. The Bear in the Pawn Shop
Sometimes things found, remain lost.
The next play was better. Much better.
At least the actors delivered the lines more naturally.. and as a bonus, they’ve the youngest actor in the Finals – the 11 year-old Chea-Mun Tan who played the little poor gal who lost her brother’s teddy bear.
This young gal got potensi! And she was given the “Encouragement Special Award” by Faridah.
Three ideas on discussing the best seat in the house…
It continued to get better! A hilarous take on our different perspective of right vs wrong; black vs white. The setting? Three people debating heatedly over which is the best seat in the theatre.
This play has many convoluted lines… involving heavily interspersed of the word “right” and “wrong”. Not easy to deliver and you need not just to memorize the sentence(s) but also the timing. Phoon-Chi Ho (above) did one amazing sequence of line that contained so many “right” and “wrong” that I think I need a recap in order to understand properly the context of that sentence!!
Viknesh was not too bad either… keeping up with Ho’s delivery. Ho went on to win the Best Actor (Male). Well-deserved win I have to say.
4. Perfect Stillness
A man writes about his wife in stillness.
Ah well, the good run has to end at some point….
There were bits of this play that looked like it was reaching up but then ebbed away… Anyway I like it’s morale of people needing to be honest with each other.
When will it end?
Next up was an interesting one. The actors didn’t speak a single word, they merely showed flash cards containing hand-written words!
I couldn’t take much pictures of this play since I found if I spend too much time peeking at time thru my lens, I would miss too much of the play if I do not read the flashcards!!
I suspected – but only confirmed towards the end – they are deaf-n-mute actors. My suspicion was confirmed when I saw their director talking to them using hand language!
Their director, Ms Larna Hoong was feted with the S+S Special Awards for Innovative Direction, and I must say she really did earn this!
6. 10,000 Cigarettes
Would you like to join the Cigarette Smokers’ Hall of Fame? Terms & Conditions apply.
This was a quality one from the script point of view! Four ladies – all playing as heavy chain smokers – delivering their lines all interwoven with each other.
They really have to do lots of homework (ie training) in order to get the delivery to be pitch-perfect (to borrow from the musical line)! Not surprisingly their scriptwriter Alex Boun (from Sydney) won the Best Scripts award.
7. Wati dan Puan
Kisah hubungan your istimewa di dalam sebuah rumah yang tipikal di Malaysia. Berdasarkan kisah benar.
Then comes a touching, yet at times funny play about a typical Madam, her servant and missing Indon husband! Haha.
The delivery of lines by both actresses were so natural you would think they were just having a chit-chat on their own without the audiences around them. The script was in Malay which was also refreshing.
Was expecting Siti Farrah (who played the Indon servant) to win Best Actress and disappointed it didn’t happen.
The trigonometry of drama begins when one is getting married and one is having trouble putting on his sampin.
This about a man getting married to his long-time sweetheart, and his best man & buddy who was in love with the same girl.
Pretty “old” storyline.. but was not too bad, I suppose due to the camaderie you could feel between the two actors.
9. This is Heaven
But all endings are also beginnings… we just don’t know it at that time.
This one lost me completely. Thought they were supposed to play husband-n-wife who have passed away and now met in Heaven to reminisnce about their good ol’ times but both characters were played by women!
I’m not sure how the “endings are also beginnings” were drawn from the play itself? But the part that lost me completely was this play won the Best Overall Productions award (which would have been equivalent to the Best Movie in Oscar)!! Maybe I really dun understand Performing Arts… haiz.
10. Single Worded Title
You have got to know funny to understand meta.
I enjoyed this the most! Not only were their idea very ingenuitive, they actually managed to insert an actor into the audience as a “surprise” factor! The inserted actor were not even mentioned in their credits to avoid giving up her secret… but she (Nabihan Yaacob) walked away with the Best Supporting Actress (Female) award!
They also won the Best Director and the People’s Choice Award, and this play took the most awards for this year! I would even consider them for the Best Overall Productions but I suppose the judges have other criteria.
I suppose having an oversized Justin Bieber (above) in your cast helps… LOL
11. Tipping Point
After three good years, Rob and Laura are breaking up. Now they’re trying to work things out, their lives and happiness hanging in the balance, on the tipping point.
Another one of those monologuous talk-to-the-audience type of play. I think for this type of play, two from last year’s Short & Sweet stayed in my mind! They were really good but this was just so-so.
Yet the actress won the Best Actress award. I’m stumped. 😛
“Accept me the way I am” is a contemporary euphimism for…
Haha.. This started slowly.. And I was half-thinking the good plays have done their run… and then it surprised you!
When we love someone deeply, we’ll always say “I’ll love you no matter how you change”. This play pushes the “change” part of your declaration ALL the way. And I really mean “ALL the Way”!! Haha.
Husband and ahem, wife contemplating a love declaration made many years ago…. (hehe)
Will you kiss me, honey? And they… almost… did… kiss on-stage!
DOUGLAS AH DOUGLAS
Last year, during the break when the judges went into the room to deliberate on their scores, they turned the stage into a dance floor and had everyone get off their bums to move it move it baby. That WAS fun!!
This year they decided to have something low-key, and instead of asking the audience to provide their own entertainment, they brought in Douglas Lim to deliver jokes to keep us entertained while they process the judges’ scores.
We’d just seen Douglas Lim at last week’s Kings & Queen of Comedy Asia and it would be interesting to see how many “fresh” jokes he has. He didn’t disappoint even though you can see he did not come prepared and it was more of an impromptu performance for him.
His “Bear & Police Efficiency” joke was great.. I even had that videoed but sadly he asked us not to put that up on YouTube. Hehe.
I salute this lady.. She was translating everything- even Douglas’ jokes – using sign language to a group of deaf audiences (some of them would be those acting in the Unfinished play).
And the award goes to….
For full list of award winner, go to their page here.
Nabihan Yaacob, the actress inserted into the audience, receiving her Best Supporting Actress award from Faridah Merican. She (Nabihan) actually sat next to waiyan!
Best Supporting Actor. Apparently his play did not make it to the Gala Finals but he still garnered the highest score to snag this award.
The Best Actress award to Shiva Kalaiselvan from the “Tipping Point”
The Best Actor to Phoon Chi Ho from “Postmodern-isms”
Special Encouragement Award to the youngest actor in the Final, Chea-Man Tan who’s only 11 this year.!
Innovative Directing award goes to Larna Hoong for her well-staged no-word-spoken play “Unfinished” delivered by a group of deaf actors.
On the way back, we saw Bangunan Sultan Abdul Samad was bathed in luminous purple light! Not sure if this was for Halloween or Deepavali?
Until next year! We’ll make sure we do all Musical, Dance and Theatre Gala Finals!!
Jack208’s Photo Album for Short & Sweet Theatre 2010 (click here)
Short & Sweet Malaysia website (click here)
Short & Sweet Malaysia blog (click here)
KL Performing Arts Centre (click here)