MATURE CONTENT | SMOKING ON STAGE FOR ONE SCENE, AUDIENCE DISCRETION ADVISED
When: May 19-June 4, 8.30pm wit 3pm matinees on weekends
Where: Indicine, KLpac, Sentul, Kuala Lumpur
Tickets: RM60 / RM45 (TAS card, students, seniors, disabled)
Call klpac Box Office at +603 4047 9000
“AS an actor, it does your head in, yes,” says Razif Hashim on doing Harold Pinter’s Betrayal in both English and Bahasa Malaysia, on different nights.
“The most challenging bit is having two languages kept in your brain. But all the essence of the play must be retained. When Joe (Hasham) asked me to do this play, one night in Malay, one night in English, I said yes. It’s not just one play; we get it off two books. The process is so interesting. Right now, we are rehearsing by scenes in both languages, before piecing the scenes together,” said the charming 33-year-old after rehearsals at KLpac recently.
To be performed in an intimate theatre setting of Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre’s Indicine, with a sit-down audience of about 50 people, the 80-minute play revolves around a love triangle between Emma, her husband Robert and his best friend Jerry. One day after a party, Jerry confesses his love for Emma and the two begin an affair that will continue for years, as the KLpac release states.
Set in the 1970s, the play offers reverse chronology in plot structure where the first scene takes place after the affair has ended, and the final scene ends when the affair begins, in 1968.
Betrayal, by the Nobel Prize-winning English playwright, screenwriter, director and actor, won the 1979 Olivier Award for Best New Play and New York Drama Critics’ Circle Best Foreign Play in 1980.
Hasham has watched over five different versions of the play, much of them adaptations. For this run, he and KLpac’s resident director, Omar Ali, have managed to translate Betrayal into Bahasa Malaysia. Others in the cast are Stephanie van Driesen as Emma , Omar Ali as Robert and Jad Hidhir (the waiter).
Says Razif on doing theatre more than screen or TV roles: “Acting is my religion. Last year, I was in Pearl of the Eastern & Oriental, for the Georgetown Heritage Festival. (Razif played Tunku Abdul Rahman in this period play set in the E&O Hotel.)
“Everyone did Shakespeare last year (since it was the Bard’s 400th death anniversary), and I was in Bali performing Cymbeline, a Bahasa Indonesia adaptation, directed by Leon Rubin.”
The Master’s in Fine Arts (Acting, International) began his love affair with the arts in his teenage years, and has since made his mark as actor of screen (Jarum Halus, ,2008, Goodbye Boys, 2006), television host, director, writer, producer and teacher. “In fact, I went straight from SPM (Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia) to a master’s!” points out Razif who is also the founder of FTalent, which offers free acting classes to all and sundry.
“About 3,000 people have gone through these classes so far. It’s to help raise appreciation for theatre, for the craft of acting. We have a bad rep(utation) for local acting. But the idea is not to give up. It is all about education and acting is a learnable skill. So, don’t tell young people there’s no money in it; if you love it, do it.”
For Razif, Betrayal will be accessible to the Malay-speaking market. But he thinks the play will resonate with people because “everybody cheats, you know”.
“What if, this person is meant for me? It’s real, it’s life. So what do you do when you are in this sneaky situation? It’s sad because it’s all about the lies, and that’s we do in real life, honestly.”
“And I just love my character, Jerry; he likes his best friend’s wife, got a flat for the affair, did the right thing, you know. But now what? You’ve done the deed, then what happens?
“Bring a pinch of salt when you see this. It can get uncomfortable but expect the uncomfortable kind of laughter.
- An excerpt of the article which appeared in the New Sunday Times.
Pix courtesy of KLpac. Cover pic shows (from left) Razif Hashim (Jerry), Stephanie Van Driesen (Emma) and Omar Ali as Robert.