Erica’s Room is a family drama, the story of Erica and Felicia, two cousins who are at times more frenemies than they are friends. The play recounts a letter from Erica to her grandmother, with her feisty cousin Felicia beside her, and follows a story of generations, family, responsibility and good and bad influences over a twenty-one year period. It takes place while Erica is packing up her room to go to college.
Very much inspired by The Joy, Luck Club, the classic book and film about the relationships between Chinese-American women and their Chinese mothers, writer and director Jude James based the play on his own experience with his Mum, a Malaysian Chinese who brought him up in Canada, together with those of Hannah Low (who plays Erica) with her parents. As such it incorporates the perspectives of the so-called “third culture kids”, people who grow up in cultures that differ from those of their parents, as well as portraying the outlook of the millennial generation, rendering it far more complex than the typical stereotype.
Erica’s Room uses Cantonese, but is mainly in English, and the poignancy of the story will not be lost on non-Cantonese speakers. The audience may not agree with the choices they see Erica make but they will understand why she made them. It is family-friendly, with no swearing or profanity, suitable for anyone aged twelve and above.
The play has been performed in KL, but this is the first venture to Penang by Kudoclasm, a new theatre production company. Kudoclasm was founded in 2016 by actors who had met during the Short and Sweet Festival hosted by KLPAC (Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre), and shared a common desire to tell stories that resonate with Malaysians, and to make theatre a full time profession, something which is extraordinarily difficult to do in Malaysia. The founders were later joined by Nicole Yong (who plays cousin Felicia in Erica’s Room). The next production Kudoclasm will bring to Penang later in March is a comedy called On A Starry Night, which has also already been staged in KL. The company is already planning their third visit in April, with a new production entitled After Earl.
Erica’s Room will be staged three times in Penang, on Friday 9th and Saturday 10th March from 7.30pm to 9.00pm, and on Sunday 11th from 3.30pm to 5pm. Tickets are RM 32 (RM 26 for students and the disabled). It is happening upstairs at Black Kettle, 105 Beach Street. Tickets can be purchased here: https://