Blue jeans, white shirt, walked into the room you know you made my eyes burn. It was like, James Dean, for sure, you so fresh to death and sick as cancer. You were sorta punk rock, I grew up on hip hop, but you fit me better than my favourite sweater. ~ Lana Del Rey

(don’t worry. no spoilers)

before you all start screaming your charges, i am gonna say it here that this post is and will be pretty bias. yeah. i was initially gonna go for ‘conflict of interest’ actually, and then i thought, hm, there is really no interest that i care about here anyway so it is just a conflict of being completely neutral. not that i care a big deal about being neutral. i’m just berat sebelah because i have come to know just about everyone in the production of imports: a double bill, enough for me to eliminate whatever sense of impartiality that i had. not that i didn’t have all that much to begin with, honestly.

i guess that is the better and worse of the malaysian theatre industry. can we actually call it an industry yet? group? but group makes it feel much smaller than it actually is. collective? circle? okay, i like circle. the malaysian theatre circle. the very the google plus, but that is suppose to catch on sometime like now, rite? yes, i am very hip like that. heh.

what i meant to say is that the circle is that, well, comfy. everyone knows everyone else and if you don’t know someone, someone you know knows that someone and so you quickly get to know that someone as well. we’re comfy. and i guess it is something about the arts scene, that people just hit it off and they talk like they’ve been chums for the last decade. case in point, i don’t think many of these guys have a clue about what i do for a living, but they’ve giving me brownies and pink drinks anyway and we greet each other like soul machas.

but you see, that is people. you can be machas but the big question is, kalau kerja boleh ngam tak? and that is what makes imports a pretty neat production. the people in it are ngam with each other (good luck translating it to the spaniard and the san franciscan malaysian).

how do i know this? well, beside stating the obvious that i know these guys off stage, i have seen the show four times already (as of yesterday) and every single time i watch the show, (1) it just gets better and better, and (2) there is always something new in it. i mean, one would expect a sorta mechanical show where everything is choreographed precisely, where a character would walk, where they would stand, what they would say, you know, safe. safe as in, this is what would need to happen in this scene and this is how it is portrayed. but hey, this is not necessarily the case for the two sketches in imports.

there are days when the adam from method would be more depressed than others. there are days when he came out from depression and days when he did not really. there are days when cat was angry about the situation and there are days when he would be more entertained instead. sometimes adam’s fiance’s anger seem to come from confusion and sometimes, it seems to come from frustration instead.

in a streetlamp named desire, there are days when the doorman got more easily agitated than others. there are days he feels braver than others. there are days when it appears that sunday has smoked more (and has therefore became more… serene) than others. there are days when it comes across like monday is really cranky by nature, and there are days when it feels like he just woke up on the wrong side of the nest that morning.

and it works, if you ask me as a person who has seen this production many times. because one does not get bored. one meaning audience who watch the show multiple times, and the actors, i suppose. and that is why i say that with every show, i see that the plays are getting better and better. because every time i watch it, there is something different about it. and, well, i don’t know and i don’t think the actors plan these changes. dare i say changes? not really changes la. differences. yes, differences is a good word. differences in, well, reaction. differences in the finer presentation of the plays.

to put on my fancy critique hat, the two stories in imports are not something completely whacked out of the ordinary. the dilemmas faced by the characters are not something out of the usual (no, not even in method, you katak bawah tempurung, you). i think the strength of the stories are about the journey from point A to point B. we all know what point A and point B is. really, that is no rocket science. but the journey. how the characters get there. that is where the sense of neat storytelling takes place where imports is concerned. as part of the tagline reads, love hurts. you don’t have to be a genius to know that. but what makes it hurt. what makes the hurt real. that is what import attempts to portray.

if my arm was twisted to give some dimension for improvement, it would be energy levels. not always, but someone who watches the play more than once can see that some actors are more on on some days as compared to others. methinks that this may be one of the triggers of why other actors adjust their acting style resulting in finer differences (see above) to compensate. and some of the lines are a little runny. there are bits where, even after watching the show four times, i am still making out what the exact words are. i get the idea tho. i think. i would really like to know for sure, actually.

see, i did not get my degree in literature for nothing, eh.

i’d probably make at least one more appearance at imports. i think i have enough ticket stubs for sunday’s cast party to not be thirsty all night. but i found out yesterday that i got a really early flight to catch on monday morning.

oh well.

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