Short+Sweet Malaysia 2012: Theatre, Penang

I went to see SHORT+SWEET on Thursday night.

Here’s the description from their blog:

Short+Sweet is the biggest short play festival in the world. First produced at the Newtown Theatre in Sydney, Australia in 2002. This year happening in Kuala Lumpur AND Penang with a BRAND NEW category: STAND-UP COMEDY! The Festival will mark its 5th year in two most prestigious theatre establishment in the country, The Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre –klpac and Performing Arts Centre of Penang (penangpac).

In KL there are to be 4 different categories but in Penang it’s just dance and theatre. I went to the latter show. There were 11 skits in all and here’s what I thought of them:

  • Echo
    Blind girl auditions for a part in a play.
    This would have been better if not for that actress. From the minute she began talking, I lost all sympathy for the character. Don’t know if it’s her natural accent, but to me it sounded so stiff and pretentious – kind of like “I’m trying very hard not to sound Malaysian here”. It was so grating. I just wanted her to shut up. (Ouch, that sounds so harsh… But it is, unfortunately, exactly what I thought.)
  • Away from   , away from    .
    “Behind every family, there’s politics and hardships. This is a play told from the perspective of a miner, a farmer and his son.” (says the description in the programme)
    It was ok. One actor played the three roles – essentially three monologues. I thought the actor did well as the farmer, but faltered more as the son and the miner.
  • Smart Phones Stupid People
    “An iPhone, a dangerous wild animal, and an opportunity not to be missed… What could possibly go wrong?”
    Way too manic, though I think the script itself was all right. The problem was the direction and the costume choices.
  • 我的家 (My Home)
    Two little girls play together in the way little children do – getting into fights one minute, but making up the next.
    Pretty good, all things considered. I didn’t much like all the screaming, but they were suppoesd to be little kids so I guess that was inevitable. Very well-acted though.
  • Love is a Four Letter Word
    “Nice Guy and Jerk engage in a battle of jokes and pickup lines to win over Nice Girl.”
    … I really don’t know what the point of this was?
  • We Were Made Fools
    “Migrant workers. Who are they? How did they get here? Why did they come here to clean up our dirt?”
    A good idea, but I felt it was a bit too long. And that dance at the beginning was a puzzle. I recognised the music as being “Dola Re Dola” from the film Devdas, but I’m not sure what the point of it really was. Was it to tell the audience that the two guys were supposed to be from India? If so, that was really unnecessary. The accents they used were enough.
  • The Martyr
    “Two people discussing life at the funeral of their abuser.”
    That description… didn’t seem to have anything to do with the actual skit. It turned out to be two guys rehearsing a script. I suppose the point of it at the end was that one guy was the “martyr” type – thinking that he’s sacrificing himself for everyone else and so on. Not too sure though. I was kind of confused by this too.
  • Confessions of Perfection.
    A teenager confesses that her perfect life really isn’t so perfect at all.
    Very good acting, but also very gloomy monologue with odd shifts of position around the stage.
  • Small Talk Really Stinks
    Two people meet on the train and small talk ensues.
    This got my vote for the Audience Choice Award. Brisk, easy to understand, humorous. The only one that I truly enjoyed watching.
  • Somnus
    A husband takes his insomniac wife for a holiday, hoping that she’ll get some sleep at last. Doesn’t happen.
    Not bad, but quite grim. The husband’s tenderness was quite convincing – when the audience collectively reacts the same way to a scene (“awwwww~”), you know you’ve hit the mark with both script and acting in that scene at least.
  • Drive All Night
    “After a quarrel with his wife, Sonny takes her car and drives all night to clear his head. He is confronted by a variety of radio programming which forces him to rethink his marriage.”
    It was okay. The three actors were quite young (they looked about high school age?), and the main guy was rather good-looking. hahaha

Overall it was a good effort. I thought the acting was in general far better than the scripts. I’m not fond of depressing stuff in general so having 8 that were on the really serious and/or grim side was not really to my liking. Of the non-grim ones, the first was too crazy, the second was pointless and the third was just right. So I only really liked Small Talk Really Stinks but I think it was clear that everyone worked really hard and it shows. Nice to see that there’s quite a bit of acting skill around. Now we just need to improve the writing and directing part.

Got anything to add or say? :D