Ready or knot
Musical comedy marryingme dances around the question of bringing a boy home for the holidays.
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.ticketpro.com.my or call 03-40479000, 04-8991722 to book tickets.