Celebrated every year on March 8 is the International Women’s Day, a global commemoration of the social, economic and political achievements of woman. To coincide with it this year, penangpac will present Theatre For Woman, a special double-bill feature. The very talented Suzanne Teoh and Marina Tan will perform A Complete Woman and What Am I? A Bloody Banyan Tree? respectively, two plays which portrays two different woman reclaiming their identities and fighting for justices of their womanhood.
A Complete Woman was written and is performed by Suzanne Teoh,who has been active in the George Town Chinese language theatre community since 2008. The play already been performed in Penang in 2016 and 2017, at the Sinkeh studio in George Town, which is owned and managed by the director of the play, Chee Sek Thim, and also in Kuala Lumpur last year. Positive feedback has encouraged the team to stage it in a larger theatre at penangpac as part of this double bill. It is the story of a mother who offers timely advice and shares her own experience of marriage and childbirth to her daughter on the eve of her marriage. The monologue uses a range of Chinese dialects to animate the characters that inhabit the mother’s universe as she manoeuvres a complex network of opinions, tradition and conscience while making some
important choices in life. Sek Thim explains that the play has used some elements of humour in bringing these characters, their experiences and choices to life, though it is not a comedy, and the result is an unforgettable story.
What Am I? A Bloody Banyan Tree? was written and directed and is performed by award-winning actor Marina Tan, whose talents range from children’s theatre, to Shakespeare, to everyday human stories told with contemporary realism and often humour. The play tells the story of a graduate student and part-time teacher, Mimi. She thinks she has found a “universal topic” to meet her many commitments, and infuse her students with “social justice” values. However, she gets more than she bargains for; deadlines loom and she feels a growing sense of panic as the search for other women’s identities triggers questions about her own. Meanwhile, a bevy of multicultural women from Colonial Malaya have something to say, and will not be left unheard! It was first performed as a workshop at penangpac in 2016, and since then has matured and become more nuanced during performances in Penang and KL. Celebrating the diversity of women’s experiences, Marina Tan
wonders “Underneath these multicultural features, are we really so different from one another? And amidst our technological advancement and growing understanding of social issues, how much has really changed since Francis Light’s landmark arrival in Penang? I aim to spur more digging and sharing about the untold stories of our past, so we may better understand our present.”
Theatre for Women goes on stage for only three days starting from Thursday 8th of March until Saturday 10th of March at 8:30 p.m at the Performing Arts Centre of Penang (penangpac) at Straits Quay. Tickets cost RM 55, or RM 45 for women and concessions, and are are available for sale at the box office or online at https://www.ticketpro.com.my/others/2261618-penangpac-Theatre-For-Women.html .