>rama-rama hinggap di jendela by teater artistik

>reviewed by musa fazal

>date: 21 mar 2003
>time: 8pm
>venue: ulu pandan cc theatrette
>rating: **1/2

>tired already? go home then
>review junkie? whitney, give them this click to sniff

                           
>look, we know that you need to know that we, as responsible reviewers, have some quantifiable categories to rate productions, and are not just relying on some undefinable instinct or gut feeling. So to put your mind at ease, we will give you a logical rating system based on the practitioner's vision / and the reviewer's response of a particular production. Here it is then: ***** : Transcendent / Rapturous. ****: Crystal / Appreciative. ***: Transmitted / Thoughtful. **:Vague / Unsatisfied. * : Uncommunicated / Mystified. Yet in the end, you will feel that this is (1) a cheap attempt to justify the subjective arbitrariness of our rating system (2) buttressed by an interest in the logical (and inevitable) categorisation of such productions, which is (3) undermined by the cheapness of the attempt, and (4) confused by the creeping feeling you are getting that we are dead serious in our feeling that this rating system is an accurate description of the content, intent and quality of the production. Oh please -- does it even matter now? Look, at least we tried.


>>>>>BUTTERFLY AT MY WINDOW

Sazali Othman, part-time lecturer at LASALLE and Artistic Director of Teater Artistik, writes and directs this competent, but rather uninspiring production.

RAMA-RAMA HINGGAP DI JENDELA tells the story of Hasan, a rich, successful yuppie whose unscrupulous behaviour finally catches up with him on a dark and stormy night, when he leaves the window open and lets in not just the butterfly of the title, but strange other-worldly apparitions from his past.

The premise is potentially interesting, though it bears the suspicious whiff of a Malay version of Scrooge's Christmas tale. The dialogue is fluid - Othman can clearly write- but what disappoints about the script is the one-sidedness of the characters.

Hasan is your typical bad boy, a drunkard and chain smoker, who declares he's God, says nasty things to his mother over the phone, and generally seems doomed from the start. Nuraisha A Haleem and Sugiman Rahmat play the apparitions - one a woman Hasan has raped, and the other his dead father. Hasan, begins the story believing the world revolves around him, and though the other characters in the play seem determined to convince him of his follies, by their incessant chatter, they merely seem to prove him right. Hasan's butler of sorts, Ahmad, (played by Hazriemanja) is short on lines but perhaps the most interesting character. Indeed Othman displays the most subtlety with this character. In one scene Ahmad nonchalantly strides into the room and helps himself to a drink as if he were the owner of the house - we find out later of course that Ahmad is more than a servant; he is an accomplice to the rape and murder of Nuraisha's character (Perempuan).

>>'The premise is potentially interesting, though it bears the suspicious whiff of a Malay version of Scrooge's Christmas tale.'


The play opens on a naturalistic set, with a plush living room and an understated pair of shoes in a corner under a table. One wonders if a lighter set might have permitted a more interesting use of space and lighting, given especially that the script touches on the supernatural. One of the most interesting parts of the play is a video at the end (projected on the same screen that bears the projection of the "butterfly in the window"), of the rape and murder of Perempuan. Done in black and white it has the tone and feel of film noir. Had the play been interspersed with more of such scenes, I think it would have dramatically added to the pace of the performance.


The acting in general is competent, though Johari Aziz clearly stands out, and deserves plaudits for his performance as Hasan. The veteran actor in English stage productions like 'Army Daze', and 'Guys And Dolls', makes his debut in Malay theatre in this production. He does a good job- his movements are sharp and he hits the right notes, mostly.

Overall, a decent play. Teater Artistik has been around for over a decade but has only recently been given a home at Telok Ayer Performing Arts Centre. We look forward to more productions from this company.