A man standing on the edge, ready to jump. It’s a bold image to centre a story on. Let alone a musical.
But local composer and writer Nick Choo did precisely that.
In 2008, KLPac staged a workshop version of his musical The Edge, which centred on a man driven to take his own life and the suicide’s effects on the people around him.
This wasn’t your average show, especially since Choo chose to leave out the lead character completely on stage.
Can you relate to a person you can’t even see? As it turned out, you can.
In 2013, Choo’s musical was eventually staged in full at KLPac.
The Edge’s emotional songs and relatable storyline resonated with local audiences, which led to it picking up three Boh Cameronian awards that year, including Best Original Score and Best Musical Direction.
It was even re-staged in Perth earlier this year by Catface Productions.
For its 10th anniversary, a new and improved version of the show returns to the Malaysian stage, presented by TheatreThreeSixty. It is directed by Christopher Ling, who first directed the workshop version in 2008.
The Edge will be showing at Lot’ng Arts Space, Subang Jaya in Selangor, starting Dec 8.
“This piece speaks to me in many different ways. For me to come back to this musical – that’s evolved through the years – is like coming back to an old friend. It doesn’t make it any easier, of course. But it definitely spurs the creativity,” says Ling during a recent interview in Petaling Jaya.
The upcoming version of The Edge features the talents of Michelle Tan, Kai Chalmers, Ping Khoo, Iz Sulaini, Michael Chen and Tria Aziz.
The Edge tells the story of Josh, a young artist, who everyone believes has an ideal life and future. To his family and friends, he is a son, a brother, a lover, a rascal, a drifter. However, in a sudden twist, he decides to take his own life.
Through the show, we then see how six people in Josh’s life deal with his suicide – his mother (Tria), brother Jarod (Chen), girlfriend Deanna (Tan), friends Ryan (Chalmers) and Michael (Iz), and co-worker April (Khoo).
The musical show examines themes such as responsibility, connection and forgiveness.
This is the first time Theatrethreesixty is attempting a musical, something Ling is very excited about.
The show will be staged in the small space of Lot’ng in Subang Jaya, and the director says the audience can expect a highly intimate, personal stage production and theatre experience.
The music is also pivotal to the show’s identity.
Ling, in his director’s role, is thankful that Choo wrote a musical full of private moments.
“The music is filled with secrets being revealed and confessed. So what we’re doing with this musical, what I challenged the cast to do is to move these private moments into a public space … on stage, you have to be sitting on the verge of a confession,” says Ling.
Ling adds that the show’s story is relatively unchanged for this production, although its plot pace has been tightened a little.
All the show’s songs – 22 – will return, although some of the characters, he reveals, will be portrayed very differently from how they were in previous shows.
The Edge will be showing at Lot’ng Arts Space, 32, 2, Jalan USJ 10/1E, Taipan Business Centre, Subang Jaya in Selangor on Dec 8 and 9, Dec 12-16 and Dec 19-23. Showtimes are 8.45pm except Sunday shows (at 3pm). Tickets are RM58 (adults) and RM48 (concession) at theedgekl.peatix.com.