The Swordfish, Then The Concubine 劍魚◉妾 (2016)
以跨领域合作及独到美学为核心的“平台计划”，最新舞台剧作《劍魚◉妾》将于2016年12月15至18日于吉隆坡表演艺术中心（KLPAC, PENTAS 2）隆重上演。今次的演出将与多位青年世代的剧场工作者携手合作，其中也有影像设计师Fairuz Sulaiman及近期频频在国际上崭露头角的“人人人鼓剧场”为现场伴奏音乐，届时势必带来一场光、影、剧、音复合交织的艺术飨宴。
Singapura is attacked by swordfish! The Sultan asks his warriors to form a line to keep out the threat, but they end up being massacred. Then a boy comes up with a simple idea to defeat the swordfish. It works! What is the boy’s reward for saving Singapura?
When the Sultan dies, his son inherits the kingdom. But the new ruler turns out to be self-obsessed and neurotic. After his favourite concubine has been found guilty of committing unnatural sex, he does something that could result in the destruction of Singapura.
Culled from Sejarah Melayu, these remarkable myths find new life in The Swordfish, Then the Concubine by Kee Thuan Chye.
It is an epic play written to conjure the magic of theatre. It takes ancient myth and transforms it to address present-day concerns like human rights, gender bias, curbs on freedom and the abuse of power. It is full of spectacle, humour, mind and heart. It is really a play about Malaysia today.
The play was placed among the top 5 in the International Playwriting Festival 2006 organised by Warehouse Theatre in the U.K.
Then in 2008, it premiered in Singapore in a W!ld Rice production directed by leading Singapore director Ivan Heng.
In 2011, it was re-staged in Singapore by Young ’n’ W!ld and directed by Jonathan Lim.
This Mandarin translation of the play, directed by Loh Kok Man, marks the first time the play is being staged in Malaysia.
“I’m excited that The Swordfish, Then the Concubine is going to be seen in Malaysia finally, even though it will be in Mandarin translation instead of the original English,” says Kee. “It was, after all, written for Malaysians about Malaysians.”
Loh, artistic director of Pentas Project and an award-winning director, set designer and lighting designer, took an immediate liking to The Swordfish, Then the Concubine when he read it.
“The play is based on Sejarah Melayu but it takes a unique approach in exploring our myths to reflect on our society today,” he says. “I hope to convey its meaning to the audience through a highly entertaining production incorporating movement, dance, live music and puppetry.”
Pentas Project and ‘The Swordfish, Then the Concubine’
The Swordfish, Then the Concubine is a play that perfectly fits Pentas Project’s mission of encouraging Malaysian artistic creation and promoting the talents of Malaysian artists. It also provides an opportunity to raise awareness of the need for a humane society and the nurturing of its development.
Pentas Project aims to enhance the role of the performing arts in bringing together the different streams of the Malaysian community. In this regard, it seeks to adapt into Chinese renowned plays written originally in Malay and English, and to stage them for a wider audience.
Pentas Project is also working on translating some of these plays into Chinese and compiling them into a book to be published in the coming year. It believes that the material from such a book will benefit young artists as well as students, and serve as a useful reference for future performances.
The unique approach taken by The Swordfish, Then the Concubine in adapting the myths from Sejarah Melayu to comment on present-day Malaysia goes well with Pentas Project’s way of doing theatre.