Monday, May 30, 2011

Hard to get lost in KL

As we arrived to pick up our tickets for "Heaven and Earth" we noted that we were surrounded by Indians. We are often the only westerners in an audience, but an all Indian audience for a Chinese play seemed unlikely. Our mistake - the City Hall auditorium was reserved for an Indian poet. A group of attendees and guards conferred and decided that the play was at the old city hall just down the street. We got clear directions and a guard walked with us to point out the building. Once we were at the right theater we found a more predictable audience demographic. As far as I could tell we were the only non-Chinese.

The play, scheduled to coincide with Parents Day. had two interwoven stories about filial piety. In one story "from ancient times" a son overcomes many obstacles to rescue his God mother (as in mother who was a god). In the other, a contemporary true story, a son murders his mother. In this case the mother made all the sacrifices. (I am not sure who celebrates Parents Day - Mother's Day is the big holiday.)

The play was in Mandarin, but subtitles allowed us to follow the story and enjoy the acting, gymnastics, and martial arts moves.We were impressed with the stamina and ability of the cast - no body was relegated to the sidelines during the more physical parts. An added treat was the orchestra that played on traditional instruments. 

Vivo Experimental Orchestra

After the play we were invited to pose with the cast - an honor for us to be in the midst of a talented and energetic troupe. And once again we were impressed with KL's best kept secret - a lively and diverse arts scene. "Heaven and Earth" artfully combined the traditional and contemporary. We keep wondering why the audiences aren't larger.

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