Such a bland name for a theatre performance, but one that is deeply meaningful for the cast and production team, Rebound is the name they have chosen to ensure that theatre goers actually get to see the plays they bought tickets for this time. Yes, Rebound is the new name of the series of ten short stories that attracted so much attention back in February for the name it then went by. Despite being sold out for all six performances, the show was cancelled after its first night on the recommendation of the police, who were worried about NGO demonstrations against the plays getting out of hand. The former title of the show made these NGOs concerned that there might be pornographic content, even though they had never seen the plays or read the script….

And a Rebound this most certainly is! Nothing at all has changed in the content of the ten short stories, which of course are not in the slightest bit pornographic. Writer/producer/director Fa Abdul has built upon her successful 2018 production Tales from the Bedroom, this time digging deeper into relationship dynamics among and between different layers of the many communities that live together and share beds with each other in George Town. Ten short stories open windows into attitudes about one night stands, unconventional sex therapy, sexless marriage, office flings, prostitution, extra-marital affairs, sexual preferences, paedophilia, and mixed race relationships. Some of the stories are hilariously funny, such as the one about three street sweepers discussing their relationships with their wives, others are touching, and one, about a paedophile father, is deeply disturbing.. 

Most stories are staged in and around the bed in the centre of the stage and are almost entirely in English, with a sprinkling of some of the other languages commonplace in George Town. One takes place in a replica kampong house, and is performed entirely in Malay (with English subtitles overhead); another in a Chinese massage parlour, whose interfering auntie-owner’ speaks in flawless Malaysian-Chinglish. Each member of the cast acts in multiple stories, switching between not just the language-habits but also the totemic mannerisms of the character he or she portrays. There is a lot of genuine acting talent on stage, and at one point, even real tears.

Congratulations to Fa Abdul, and her supremely talented and versatile cast, Sharmila Kana, Aloyah Bakar, Ivan Gabriel, Karam Tabba, Tan Seoh Chin, Sarah Sharifa, Tasnim Hasina and Kabilan Murali Dharan, for having the courage and determination to rebound and not be bowed by intimidation and threats. Unsurprisingly, the controversy in February has made it challenging for penangpac and the producers to promote the show this time. Please support them by going to watch these heart-warming and thought-provoking stories. You will not be disappointed.

Rebound is at penangpac, Straits Quay, with performances nightly at 8.30pm from Thursday 4th until Sunday 7th April, and matinées at 3pm on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets cost RM 45 and can be purchased from the box office or online here.

All photos courtesy of Lu Jia Chen Photography.