What happens in the minds of a couple as they interact before they fall in love? This is the process Memes: A Love Story intends to illuminate for us. The musical drama is the latest product of the creative flourishing in Penang’s drama scene, written, directed and performed with professionalism by some of the best of Penang’s theatre and music talent.
A meme is defined as an element of a culture or system of behaviour passed from one individual to another by imitation, and these days, it is often an image, or a video that goes viral on the internet. Jay Menon, who wrote and is directing Memes: A Love Story, has introduced memes into the theatre, by using memorable phrases, catchy melodies, rhythmic movements and striking images, in this case to demonstrate how they are used in communicating the emotion of romantic love. A group of friends plot to bring two of their number together as a couple for a dance, and the couple’s friendship develops into love. The play is intended to be highly entertaining, with snippets of popular songs whose lyrics and tunes reflect particular emotions, and dancing which complements the different moods of the songs.
Close to fifty people are on stage to tell the story, all Penang locals, with music performed by members of the Penang Jazz Society, under the direction of Jerome Quah, and choreography by Penang’s Studio Pentas, directed by Aida Redza and her protégé Luvenia Kulia. The actors are with the Penang Players Music and Drama Society, which was founded back in the 1950s, and is currently led by Joelle St Arnoult and Mano Balachandran; Jay Menon himself has been active with the society for eighteen years, and is currently Vice-Chair. It has been a logistical challenge for him to organise rehearsals for such a large cast, many of whose members are very active in other spheres too. Starring as Adam and Eve, the couple that falls in love, are Ivan Gabriel and Ida Suhaini. The cast also includes Rachel Yeoh, Penang’s very own songstress, Sebastien Romero, Xin Er, Alex Davids, Hasina Tazeen, Roshini Chandran, Sharmen Gleen and Lawrence Chin with cameos by Jay Menon and Lucille Dass.
Memes: A Love Story will be performed from 28th of June to 30th of June 2019 at Dewan Budaya, Universiti Saints Malaysia in Gelugor. Shows are nightly at 8pm and there is also a 4pm matinée on Sunday. Tickets cost RM 50 and can be purchased here:
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/memes-a-love-story-tickets-61734522619. More details can be found on the Penang Players Facebook page or at www.penangplayers.org.