Today, July 1st, theatres are permitted to open for the first time since the lockdown started, and penangpac at Straits Quay will be the first theatre in the country to put on a live performance, The Ice Kacang Project, Friday 3rd until Sunday 5th at 8.30pm. So what will going to the theatre be like in the new normal?

The show will take place on penangpac’s Stage 2. Following the guidelines of the Health Ministry, the audience will be brought into the theatre hall in groups where they will be seated 1 metre apart. The audience will be requested to wear face masks throughout the duration of the performance. There will be no intermission and no meet and greet session with the performers after the show. The audience will also be brought out of the theatre in groups. Stage 2 is the smaller of the two theatres at penangpac. it used to seat 120 people but now under the new regulations it will only seat 33. Also important to know is that the regulations limit audience age – only people over 12 and under 60 are allowed to attend…Needless to say penangpac is trying hard to get this rule amended.

The Ice Kacang Project features 6 short comedies written by John Newman, Terence Toh, Yusuf Zalfakhar and Fa Abdul. The scripts have been tweaked by director Fa Abdul so that only 2 actors will take on a total of 12 characters on stage. Karam Tabba and Tan Seoh Chen, who are no strangers to Penang theatre goers, will be doing some versatile acting, transforming from one character to another. The production was planned during the lockdown, with rehearsals conducted almost entirely via Zoom. The performers and production crew are also following the health guidelines, backstage and onstage, where the performers will be at least 2-metres away from the audience.

So going to the theatre will not be the same experience as before lockdown, but please do consider going anyway. Performance venues and performers have all suffered massive drops in income during the last three months and need our support if we are to get back on track and build back the vibrant arts, music and theatre scene in Penang. And these 6 comedy plays have been selected as a “best of” the last few years of Malaysian comedy theatre. So even if the experience is uncomfortable at first, you are pretty much guaranteed to have a good laugh (safely through your mask).

Tickets can be purchased online here or by calling penangpac Box Office at +60148991722/2722.