Comedy gets musical with Losertown at KLpac


Age restriction: Contains Mature Content (Parental Guidance is advised)

When: Dec 7-17, 8.30pm with 3pm matinees (Dec 9, 16)

Where: Studio 9, The Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre

Tickets: RM 38, free seating.

Call klpac Box Office at +603 4047 9000

SHE finds catharsis in doing standup comedy. He has an itch to scratch in doing devised forms of theatre. Together, Hannan Azlan and Tung Jit Yang hope to make people laugh a little with their “musical” called Losertown.

Kuala Lumpur-born Hannan is making headlines with her quirky, ukulele-playing style of comedy after her performance at the 2013 Short+Sweet festival at the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre.

After winning the 2016 Hong Kong International Comedy Competition, the 23-year-old got a call from her fellow Theatre for Young People (T4YP) alumnus, Tung, on doing an experimental piece on musicals.

“He’s an evil genius to me,” says Hannan of the 27-year-old graduate of New York’s Tisch School of the Arts and currently The Actors Studio’s director in-Residence at KLpac. “So, I said yes. The title ‘Losertown” came to me in the shower,” she adds matter-of-factly.

In the show, Hannan will be backed by musicians Coebar Abel, Endee Ahmad, Ian Francis Khoo and Khairil Imran.

Tung, who did Riwayat last December when on a six-month residency with theatrethreesixty, says: “‘Losertown’ is a devised piece that draws from the musical genre, stand-up comedy, and maybe musical theatre. It’s a reaction to musicals as we know it. Doing devised performances and shows stems from an itch I want to scratch.”

Tung has earlier expressed doing devised plays as starting from “a seed of an idea, or a question, or an urge to say something. But that’s it. Something invisible. Nothing on the stage yet. Nothing on the page. Just this invisible something.”

“Losertown,” says the Klang Valley native, ” draws from Joseph Campbell’s THE HERO WITH A THOUSAND FACES. The hero from the small town goes to New York City and becomes famous or whatever.

“So, I asked what makes their journey, the hero’s journey. I asked the musicians, and it was music that saved them. So, they have stories to tell too, in Losertown.

“I was inspired by a classmate who didn’t like musicals but because of that he challenged himself. I am not a huge fan of musicals myself.

“Yet I liked what Hannan did in Short+Sweet. I liked the authenticity in her work. She did comedy and actually played music on stage.

“It was comedy but it wasn’t all jokes. I knew her as an actor from T4YP, and then she did comedy! It kind of disrupted the formulaic idea of musicals and musical theatre.

“When I wanted to do this ‘musical’, I thought of her.”

That makes the young artiste smile, as she adds: ” Losertown has stuff I want to express, like death of a loved one, to put it into perspective and get some closure.”

So personal, maybe even autobiographical, you wonder, to which she says: “Somewhat inspired by what has happened in my life. Doing standup comedy, it’s like saying something people have been thinking.

“The best part is when I am being real on stage. You know, you can’t recreate jokes, so when you are real on stage, there is a deeper connection with the audience. Standup comedy offers a limitless amount of what you can do. I now perform 5 times a week, and I put on shows at 11.30pm. I though no one would come, but I held one session at Crackhouse Comedy (Club in Taman Tun Dr Ismail), and the room was filled!”

Losertown will be a welcome break for Hannan as she will be working with an ensemble as opposed to being a lone wolf on stage.

The performance space is also different in that it is tucked away in a corner of the sprawling grounds of KLpac. “It feels like a trip, kinda like going walking with us,” she says.

“There’s an immersive feel about the whole show with this space,” adds Tung.

  • This article appeared in most part in the New Straits Times 2017
  • Pic courtesy of the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre

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