Dust and immortality on stage

DUST (90 minutes)

Contains strong themes dealing with death, including grief. FOR MATURE AUDIENCES.

When: June 13-15, 8.30pm with 3pm matinee on June 16; June 19-22, 8.30pm with 3pm show on June 23

*Post-performance conversations after  Friday and Saturday shows

Venue: KOTAK, Five Arts Centre 27, Lorong Datuk Sulaiman 7 Taman Tun Dr Ismail, Kuala Lumpur

Tickets at RM63 (Regular) RM53 (Concession; students, the disabled, senior cizens)

Purchase WhatsApp: +60 19 807 4810, email newprojects@theatresauce.com, or visit theatresauce.com

Esther Liew, director. Pix courtesy of theatresauce

AN exploration on of mortality, and how different people deal with it will be the subject of a devised play called Dust.

“There might be a common misconception that young people don’t talk about death. Or that death and grief only impacts a certain (older) age group,” says director Esther Liew.

“To me, that is not true.”

The Theatresauce project arose from Liew’s experience with the death of two grandparents last year, both within the span of a week.

The events upped the actor-teacher’s awareness of her own mortality at the age of 31, and sparked a journey of self-discovery. It prompted her to reach out to others who have gone through their own vivid journeys.

From the stories, dreams and imaginations of five performers — Lim Sheng Hui, Andy Poon, Ranessa Theyakaraja, Season Chee,  and Thomas Alexander  — come this play, Dust.

“In Dust, our cast are 20-40 year olds. And each of them has been impacted by various experiences and questions about death, grief and life.”

Chee, who has a longterm illness, aims to ultimately exist with the construct of death. He quotes Haruki Murakami: “Death is not the opposite of life, but a part of it.”

Since it is a devised play, Liew says even before the auditions, she and her dramaturg Sandee Chew did quite a bit of research – compiling articles, books, poems, songs – as a mode of infusion.

“Once we assembled the cast, they were then tasked to write their personal responses to these prompts given to them. And then we decided to focus on the cast’s personal stories and dreams.

“Then there is a lot of editing of the text written by the cast, going back and forth.

“And finally, curating the whole show – stringing the stories together.

“Frankly, the whole process is pretty challenging – from casting to putting the show together. I think maybe the least challenging part was during the first 4 weeks’ of rehearsal – when we took our time to explore.”

The 90-minute experience will weave theatrical storytelling with expressive visual and auditory montages. The production searches for hope – by considering life, and the way we choose to live.

On the production team is Ali Motamedi (Assistant Director), Artistic Director Kelvin Wong, Syamsul Azhar (Lighng Designer), Hannah Cheah (Stage Manager), and Frederick Tan (Assistant Stage Manager).

Dust is the first of three New Projects presented by Theatresauce as part of the 2019 season.

“I hope that the audiences would leave the theatre contemplating about the way they live their life and to know that they are not alone in the things that we would talk about in this show.

“You know that saying “YOLO”? You Only Live Once. I disagree with this. I believe we only ever die once, because we all live every single day until then,” says Liew.

** This article appeared in the New Straits Times


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