A British artist who designs guitars and plays church bells, bicycle bells, handbells, ship’s bells, and even mobile phones. A mischievous girl who grows up to be a nun in the aftermath of the French Revolution. A factory worker who talks of ghostly hauntings in Penang.

April is definitely shaping up to be another exciting month with theatre shows that are supernatural, inspirational and everything in between.

Let’s not forget a mixbag of short dance works highlighting the diversity of Malaysian dance. Here’s a pick of theatre and arts performances this month:

BaBeBiBoBu 2.0
Venue: Now Theatre, Iron River Park, KL
April 5-7
Greenhopper Theatre, which recently received several nominations at the upcoming 16th Boh Cameronian Arts Awards, is bringing back its popular children’s theatre play BaBeBiBoBu … which some snazzy updates. Using the body rather than words to tell the story, the play revolves around two wizards who meet a crying boy at a park. His paper boat had been blown by the wind to the centre of the lake. In an attempt to help him, the wizards transform the boy into a frog so that he can retrieve his paper boat. But upon returning to land, the wizards realise that they don’t actually know how to reverse their spell to turn the boy back into a human. FB: Greenhopper Theatre.

theatre

Odissi On High – Boundless Verve & Audacity by Sutra Foundation and Rudrakshya Foundation. Photo: Sutra Foundation

Odissi On High – Boundless Verve & Audacity
Venue: Pentas 1, KLPac
April 10-14
Get ready to be transported to an ethereal realm with this highly traditional and spiritual odissi performance by our very own Sutra Foundation and India’s Odisha-based Rudrakshya Foundation. The dazzling performance, which celebrates the cultural ties between India and Malaysia, also seeks to describe the remarkable evolution of virtuosity of the two pioneer gurus of Odissi – the late Gurus, Kelucharan Mahapatra and Debaprasad Das. More details: www.klpac.org.

Dancebox Festival
Venue: Pentas 2, KLPac
April 11-14
Get your dancing shoes ready because you’re in for a treat with four programmes of short dance works, showcasing the progressive nature and diversity of dance in Malaysia. The Dancebox showcase, conceptualised 18 years ago, is a partnership between The Actors Studio and MyDance Alliance. As Dancebox celebrates its 18th birthday, the masses can look forward to a mini “retrospective” festival. Catch some iconic works from the history of Malaysian dance (Joseph Gonzales’s Awas! (excerpt) to Amy Len’s No Exit) and popular contemporary works from past Dancebox editions (Suhaili Micheline’s Initiate to Murni Omar’s M2M). The programme also includes a “dance in the community” segment and a selection of new and exciting works. More details: www.klpac.org.

Ilham After Hours: Martin Creed
Venue: Ilham Gallery, Jalan Binjai, off Persiaran KLCC, KL
April 13
Here’s a chance to check out a performance in an art gallery. Ilham Gallery presents an iconoclastic evening with Martin Creed, artist, musician, and Turner Prize-winner. That’s an impressive resume. Renowned for his wit and absurdity, Creed’s live performances are often unpredictable in nature and delicately balance art, humour, and subversion. Comprising words, music, and more, Creed’s performance invites audience members to embark on a one-of-a-kind experience and to expect the unexpected. FB: Ilham Gallery.

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Darynn Wee plays Salbiah in the chilling theatre show Fragrance (Wangian). Photo: Goh Hun Meng

Fragrance (Wangian)
Venue: Kotak, Five Arts Centre, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, KL
April 18-21
Malaysians just love urban legends and horror stories. But we rarely get to experience the nightmare chills in a theatre setting. Maybe someone should direct The Woman In Black (hint, hint) but for now, get your blood-curdling fix with Wangian which is inspired by the purported hauntings along the Vale of Tempe in Penang. In this hillside part of Penang, which is now called Jalan Lembah Permai, many mysterious accidents have happened. No shortage of spooky stories here. Five Arts Centre’s production assistant Darynn Wee takes on the role of Salbiah, a 26-year-old factory worker. Through popular anecdotes and imagined scenarios, follow Salbiah’s recollections which will slowly unveil the background behind this popular urban legend. FB: Five Arts Centre.

When We Were
Venue: Lot’ng Arts Space, USJ Taipan, Subang Jaya, Selangor
April 18-21
Theatre collective Theatresauce returns with its second season of the Emerging Directors Lab series. It features a cast of four new directors. This quadruple bill of short plays include theatre adaptations of Huzir Sulaiman’s Whatever That Is, Harry Allen’s Remembering The Kites, Ruby Rae Spiegel’s Dry Land and Jit Murad’s Malam Konsert. These works, in a broad sense, explore our relationship with memory. Poignant, funny and sometimes tragic, the plays ask what could’ve been, what would’ve been, what was, and how they shape what currently is. FB: Theatresauce.

Kandang
Venue: Pentas 2, KLPac
April 25-28
KLPac is re-staging the multi-award winning Kandang, based on British author George Orwell’s Animal Farm. When it premiered in 2017, it sold out even before opening. This is a timely re-staging – in this Malaysia Baru-era – as many big questions begin to surface post GE14, much like the post upheaval period in Animal Farm. If anything, Kandang wowed the theatre scene during its first run. It won four big awards at the 15th Boh Cameronian Arts awards.  Winner of the Best Actor in a Leading Role award for Kandang, Ashraf Zain, will be reprising his role along with some old ad new cast members under the direction of Omar Ali. Performed in Malay with English surtitles. More details: www.klpac.org.

Pohlithik
Venue: Black Box, DPAC, Petaling Jaya, Selangor
April 25-28
The subject of race, unfortunately, is not something we can run away from. Our political and social life seem forever tied to all things racial. It’s like trying to run away from our own shadows. In Pohlithik, a new production by theatre company Anomalist Production, this issue of “race” is given a wider – and critical – discussion. This coming of age play, with a pun of a title, explores the value of true friendship, loyalty and the strength to fight for what’s right through the story of three boys from different races. They are placed in the same dorm room. Set against a backdrop of student activism, the play sees how the three boys challenge the norm provided by the safety and security of their campus. FB: Anomalist Production.

Euphrasia – The Musical
Venue: Pentas 1, KLPac
April 26-28
Have you heard about the Good Shepherd Foundation? Well, this new musical is about its founder Mother Mary Euphrasia, a French Roman Catholic nun. Written by Uihua Cheah and Terence Toh, the musical follows the life of a young and mischievous Rose Virginie Pelletier in the aftermath of the French Revolution. She grows up to be a woman with audacious ideas for improving the lives of countless women and children. Find out how Rose becomes Mother Mary Euphrasia and sets up this foundation which has restored the rights and dignity of women and children in 73 countries to date! More details: www.klpac.org.