Sharifah Aleysha, who also goes by Leysha, will be directed, for the first time ever in a theatre production, by her sister Sharifah Amani, 30, in one of the three monologues in Tiga, which will kick off its Penang run today.
Leysha, 24, wrote the scripts for Bed, Chair and Knife in the first edition of Tiga, staged at the Five Arts Centre studio in Kuala Lumpur in April last year. Its Penang run introduces a few new tweaks, including some new faces and a site-specific approach thanks to its staging at the Sinkeh venue in George Town. Anissa Azis, 26, is taking over from Nora Rahim in last year’s Knife, which is directed by Arshad Adam.
Sharifah Aryana, 21, who is Leysha’s younger sister, returns to her role in Chair (directed by Andy Darrel Gomes), while the scriptwriter herself will act in Bed.
“It has been a while since I wrote the script and I don’t remember most of it, so that gave me a fresh pair of eyes when looking at it as an actor. Having my sister direct me was also another tactic I wanted to use since I know my kakak wouldn’t be afraid to tell me the truth and to make me do things outside of my comfort zone,” says Leysha about the changes in the work.
“She has been very accommodating to my actor self as well as respectful of my writer self, and she’s helped me out a lot when it comes to balancing the two. We have a lot of fun together!” she adds.
Tiga, a platform for new and emerging performing arts practitioners, works this way: A scriptwriter writes three scripts based on three objects. After the three plays are performed, the scriptwriter will then nominate another scriptwriter and provide three new objects for them to include in their writing. The idea is to have Tiga acting as a “creative baton” with each emerging scriptwriter passing on the challenge to another new writer.
“Tiga’s ‘risk’ as a platform is in its method of choosing new scriptwriters, and it is hoped that the creative baton will be driven in a sense by the emerging writers community,” shares Five Arts Centre’s June Tan, executive producer of Tiga.
The next nominated scriptwriter is Anjali Nijjar Venugopal, and the objects are a speed limit signboard, a bouquet and a left-side slipper.
What is in store for the second instalment of Tiga is anyone’s guess, but for now, Leysha’s Bed, Chair And Knife presents stories that are rather personal and intimate in nature.
In Bed, a young woman battles with the idea of possession in a relationship. In Chair, a woman is trapped in a loop, not able to move forward without giving up her past. And in Knife, a discussion on sexuality takes some surprising turns.
“I wanted my stories to speak to everyone, in one way or another, and I wanted them to sound real,” says Leysha.
“I think everyone wants to be reminded once in a while that they aren’t alone in their endeavours and that it is okay to feel feelings. Having this more personal and intimate,” she says in reference to the three monologues, “allows the practitioners and everyone in the audience to have a kind of quiet discussion without interruption. It is nice to share those moments with people and I hope that’s what everyone enjoys too.”
Bringing this first edition of Tiga to Penang has a two-fold objective, says Tan, early 40s.
“Firstly, it’s to initiate discussions and exchange between emerging practitioners in Kuala Lumpur and Penang, and second, an opportunity for KL-based practitioners to bring their work to another space and be exposed to a different set of audience,” explains Tan.
Since Sinkeh is managed by Chee Sek Thim, who is also a member of Five Arts Centre, she felt these two objectives could be facilitated. Also, they had support from Yayasan Sime Darby to help with travel and production costs.
“When the venue was confirmed, the young team was inspired to consider new ways of staging the monologues, the make use of the different spaces in the hotel,” says Tan. “I think it made the directors and actors think about the text and how to present it in slightly different ways, And finding new things in something you’ve done before, that is always exciting.”
Tiga is on at Sinkeh, 105, Lebuh Melayu, George Town in Penang from March 9 to 11. Showtime: 8.30pm. Admission: RM10. For bookings, call 016-393 8138 or e-mail email@example.com.