Fu­ture un­known?

Is the grass truly greener on the other side? Theatre pro­duc­tion Home finds out.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - ARTS - By TER­ENCE TOH star2@thes­tar.com.my

“BE it ever so hum­ble, there’s no place like home.”

It’s an old say­ing we’ve prob­a­bly heard many times in our lives. But do many of us still re­ally be­lieve this to­day?

More and more peo­ple seem to be fas­ci­nated by the idea of mi­grat­ing to an­other coun­try, en­thralled by the prospect of a bet­ter life. Is mov­ing abroad truly the best way for you to chase your dreams? Or should you strive to find suc­cess at home?

Such is the ques­tion posed by Home, a timely theatre pro­duc­tion set to play at the Da­mansara Per­form­ing Arts Cen­tre ( DPAC) in Pe­tal­ing Jaya from March 18- 20. The show is be­ing staged by Klang Val­ley- based Ano­ma­l­ist Pro­duc­tions.

“Many of my friends – and some in my fam­ily – have the men­tal­ity that study­ing or work­ing over­seas will make you a bet­ter per­son. Stay­ing back in Malaysia sup­pos­edly isn’t a good idea. My main mo­ti­va­tion in writ­ing this play is to ad­dress this is­sue,” says Khairi An­war, the co- di­rec­tor and co- writer of Home.

“My mum re­ally wanted me to study in Bri­tain. It’s a per­cep­tion thing that study­ing abroad gives you an ad­van­tage,” he adds.

Khairi, who is a law grad­u­ate from Univer­siti Te­knologi Mara ( UiTM), is one of the emerg­ing names in lo­cal theatre.

The 24- year- old is the man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Ano­ma­l­ist Pro­duc­tions, which was formed in De­cem­ber 2014. The pro­duc­tion com­pany started off a theatre club in UiTM, be­fore later ex­pand­ing to big­ger venues. Ano­ma­l­ist’s pre­vi­ous shows are Skrip Un­tuk Ali, staged in Univer­siti Malaya in March last year, and Teater Bangsa, staged in DPAC last Septem­ber.

Home, which di­rected and writ­ten by Khairi and Nell Hanan, fea­tures the tal­ents of Iskan­dar Al- Haziq, Tunku Habibah, Hana Nadira, Clarence Kuna, Chrisy Wu, Fikri Azzim, Sara Z, Nave VJ and Felix Au­gus­tus. The 80- minute show will be pre­sented in both Malay and English.

Home tells the story of Syafiq ( played by Iskan­dar al- Hafiq), a fi­nal year law stu­dent. He is also his univer­sity’s best de­bater as well as a Dean’s List Hon­our stu­dent. Talk about blue chip qual­ity. In his fi­nal se­mes­ter, he finds him­self grap­pling with a dilemma. Should he move over­seas to study, and later work abroad? Or should he stay in Malaysia?

Syafiq turns to his friends and fam­ily for help, but faces many con­flict­ing opin­ions. His good friend Adira ( Sara Z) and the mem­bers of his univer­sity de­bate team en­cour­age him to seek a bet­ter life in Bri­tain. On the other hand, his girl­friend Elina ( Tunku Habibah) does not want him to leave her, and things be­come com­pli­cated af­ter Syafiq learns that some­thing bad has be­fallen his mother Zara ( Hana).

Syafiq is torn and he seeks ad­vice from his favourite au­thor Razak Arif­fin ( Felix Au­gus­tus), a Malaysian who has lived in Southamp­ton, Eng­land for 23 years. What path will Syafiq even­tu­ally take in this com­pli­cated sit­u­a­tion?

This is the se­cond script that Khairi has writ­ten for Ano­ma­l­ist Pro­duc­tions, with the first be­ing Teater Bangsa, which touched on lo­cal race re­la­tions. In terms of scripts, Khairi has a knack of work­ing on plays with deeper home­grown themes and is­sues.

Home is bound to spark fur­ther dis­cus­sion on this topic of mi­gra­tion.

“Some­one once told me that we have to write some­thing that is very close to us. So I think, for the time be­ing, this kind of story is re­ally per­sonal to me, and I en­joy writ­ing them and see­ing how peo­ple will re­act to them,” con­cludes Khairi.

Home will be show­ing at the Da­mansara Per­form­ing Arts Cen­tre ( DPAC), H- 01, Em­pire Da­mansara, Jalan PJU 8/ 8, Da­mansara Per­dana, Pe­tal­ing Jaya, Se­lan­gor, from March 18- 20. Show­times are 8.30pm on March 18 and 3pm and 8.30pm on March 19- 20. For more in­for­ma­tion, email anoma­l­ist­pro­duc­tion@gmail.com or call 017– 938 6764.

The cast and crew of Home ( stand­ing, from left) Kuna, Au­gus­tus, ( se­cond row, from left), nell, Wu, Tunku habibah, Khairi, ( bot­tom row, from left), Iskan­dar, hana and Fikri.

Ac­tors Iskan­dar ( left) and Wu re­hears­ing an in­tense scene from the play Home, while co- di­rec­tor/ co- writer nell watches in the back­ground.

Au­gus­tus plays razak Arif­fin, a Malaysian au­thor who has resided in eng­land for over 20 years.

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