In life, there will always be winners and losers. Certain people always seem to be more fortunate than others.
But what exactly makes a winner or loser?
Actress and comedian Hannan Azlan, 23, recently found herself confronted with that very question. She thinks of herself as a “loser”, and much of her stand-up comedy involves her playing down-and-out characters.
Hannan, however, isn’t doing too badly in her career. In 2016, she became the youngest comedian and first woman to win the prestigious Hong Kong International Comedy Competition.
“I might be winning. But my insides don’t feel any different, I still feel like a loser. So how could someone be winning but also losing at the same time?” asks Hannan during a recent interview.
It’s these conflicting feelings that formed the inspiration for Losertown, a musical that will be showing at KLPac till Dec 17.
“Losertown, for me, is like a headspace. It’s like, you can take the loser out of Losertown, but you can’t take Losertown out of the loser,” she adds.
Losertown, presented by The Actors Studio Seni Theatre Rakyat, is directed by Tung Jit Yang. It is a devised play featuring Hannan and musicians Coebar Abel, Endee Ahmad, Ian Francis Khoo and Khairil Imran. The play marks Tung’s debut as KLPac’s resident director.
The musical is based on the Hero’s Journey, a narrative pattern popularised by American writer Joseph Campbell in his work The Hero With A Thousand Faces.
Losertown has elements of both comedy and drama, and borrows influences from various other performing styles.
“I wanted to play with a blend of forms. From pop gigs to rock concerts, they all have their different rules. When you watch a rock concert, or a musical, you have a few assumptions, and you have different rules and contact with the audience,” says Tung, 27.
“So I took all of that, and twisted it. So one moment, you’re watching a theatre show, the next moment, it can be a concert hall or underground gig.”
The show’s music contains a mixture of styles from progressive rock to ballads to “screamo” and even meditative music.
“When I first started out, the music was very simple, very whimsical. But with the musicians in, it has been such an amazing journey.
“Collaborating with them has been wonderful, because they’re all very good, and they’re all very different,” says Hannan.
Losertown plays at Studio 9, KLPac, Sentul Park, Jalan Strachan, off Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah in Kuala Lumpur till Dec 17. Showtimes are 8.30pm from Dec 8-10 and Dec 12-17, and 3pm on Dec 9 and Dec 16. Tickets are RM38. For more information, call 03 4047 9000 (KLPac) or visit www.ticketpro.com.my.