Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Performing in Shopping Centers

When we travel (and given our current circumstances, when we move) we check out the local  performing arts immediately. In our first five weeks in KL we have seen (or heard) two plays, an indie Malaysian film, two symphonies, a chamber music performance, and a gamelan performance. More music and plays are on our schedule. Each peformance was given in a major shopping center - easily accessible by public transportation. 

Actors Studio is on the roof of Lot 10, which bills itself as "a favourite with tourists and up-market shoppers." The two nights we went the audience had fewer than 30 persons, so the 196 seat theater felt relatively intimate. During intermission we could observe very buff men and women working out at a nearby fitness center - we are clearly not part of its target membership. The play Brickfields Then and Now was in two parts. A single actor told stories of growing up in KL, from colonial days. It deserved a larger audience, but we went of two weeknights.

The Malaysian Philharmonic plays in a hall attached to the KL City Centre (KLCC) - a city within the city. In addition to a major shopping center and symphony hall it has an art gallery, a multiplex theater, an aquarium, a science discovery center, and convention center. Our first trip to the symphony hall found the ushers operating as camera police. As soon as a cell phone was spotted an usher rushed over. So we  have to settle for the photo posted on the MPO website

The High Winds, an all-Malaysian chamber ensemble, performed in an annex to Pasar Sini, the Central Market. Central Market started life as wet market; now it is a one-stop site for local arts and crafts. The space didn't look too promising - folding chairs crowded together and a plain interior. The conductor noted that KL lacks a chamber hall, but this space was more than merely adequate because it had wooden floors and a high ceiling. The first notes confirmed that the space worked well. Also note the lack of grey heads. The audience for this and the symphony is very young - we would estimate no more than 10 percent of the audience is over 50.

No comments:

Post a Comment