Ready or knot

Mu­si­cal com­edy mar­ry­ingme dances around the ques­tion of bring­ing a boy home for the hol­i­days.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - ARTS - By QISHIN TARIQ en­ter­tain­ment@thes­

STILL no boyfriend, ah?” The hol­i­day sea­son means it’s that time of year again to face down par­ents, aunts and grandrel­a­tives as they grill “trag­i­cally sin­gle” daugh­ters with that dreaded ques­tion.

“Men get that too,” ob­jects writer Mark Beau de Silva, adding “when you reach 30, it gets stress­ful. Par­ents don’t ask about life and work any­more, they only ask about your re­la­tion­ship!”

“Even my dad feels I’m this very lonely crea­ture liv­ing in KL. One day he sud­denly re­quested the weird­est thing: ‘at least get a dog’,” says de Silva, laugh­ing wrily.

Join­ing forces and frus­tra­tions with com­poser Onn San and USbased lyri­cist El­laRose Chary, de Silva penned Mar­ry­ing Me, A New Mu­si­cal, which tells the story of am­bi­tiously sin­gle Stephanie, a firm be­liever of say­ing “I don’t” when it comes to mar­riage.

Tired of her mother’s dogged in­stance that she tie the not, Stephanie says “yes” to the one per­son she trusts: her­self.

De Silva re­veals that the seed of an idea started with an ar­ti­cle about a woman in China who mar­ried her­self.

“Onn San said it was self­ish of her, but I felt it was sad. There must have been some­thing that drove her to it,” he opines.

The mu­si­cal, which ac­cord­ing to di­rec­tor Christo­pher Ling is “roughly 60% sung, 40% spo­ken”, will be staged at the Pe­nang and Kuala Lumpur Per­form­ing Art Cen­tres this month.

Ling ex­plains that Mar­ry­ing Me is “a les­son in self ac­cep­tance, learnt through song.”

“The rea­son I love Mark’s writ­ing is how it al­ways starts so light and funny, with re­ally grounded Malaysian char­ac­ters. Then, when you get to love them, he in­tro­duces darker el­e­ments,” says Ling.

De Silva points out that nowa­days, most teenagers have par­ents who are fight­ing or di­vorced. Light­en­ing the mood, Ling calls the mu­si­cal a screw­ball com­edy at heart.

“For good­ness’ sake, we’ve got cho­ruses of singing aun­ties, match­ing big wigs and a pro­duc­tion line of blind dates for Stephanie!” he gloats.

Stephanie Van Driesen, who plays the epony­mous lead char­ac­ter, says such in­ter­fer­ence is pre­cisely why her char­ac­ter is such a thorny gal.

“She de­vel­oped th­ese spikes to pro­tect her­self, they’ve no busi­ness di­rect­ing my life,” she ex­claims.

De Silva rea­sons that the older gen­er­a­tion must have had a rea­son be­hind their in­sis­tence that their off­spring be law­fully wed.

“My grand­mother was Taoist and she be­lieved chil­dren’s re­spon­si­bil­ity is to pray for their fore­fa­thers. Thus, not hav­ing kids is a curse. You need kids to pray for you, else you’ll be a very sad ghost,” he says, sound­ing dead se­ri­ous.

“It’s in­ter­est­ing how old peo­ple seem sat­is­fied when they’ve done their role to get the next gen­er­a­tion mar­ried. It’s so en­grained they don’t give a sh** about the per­son they’re ‘help­ing’,” says the ex­as­per­ated song­bird.

To this end, Stephanie’s mum (San­dra Sodhy) de­vises a plan to get her daugh­ter back to­gether with old flame, Eugene (Tony Leo).

There is a rea­son old flames should stay that way though, as Ling and de Silva both agree.

“I tried to set my­self up with an old flame, then was pretty quickly Mat­ri­mo­nial mad­ness: Stephanie Van driesen milks her lead role as the quirky bride and San­dra Sodhy is her schem­ing mum in the mu­si­cal com­edy play­ing at Pe­nangPac and KLPac this month. re­minded why it didn’t work out be­fore,” sighs de Silva.

Mar­ry­ing Me, A New Mu­si­cal will be staged at Pe­nangPac, Straights Quay, Ge­orge­town in Pe­nang daily till Dec 8, and KLPac, Sen­tul Park, Jalan Stra­chan, off Jalan Ipoh in Kuala Lumpur from Dec 13-22. Tick­ets are priced at RM53 (adults) and RM33 (stu­dents, TAS card hold­ers). Tick­ets are also dis­counted to RM33 for shows on Dec 17 and 18. Visit www.tick­et­ or call 03-40479000, 04-8991722 to book tick­ets.

mar­ry­ingme,a New­mu­si­cal,

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