GEORGE TOWN, MALAYSIA – The George Town Festival brings with it plenty of experimental art, including the unique Instant Theatre. Designed by Chinese performance artists group XiaoKe x ZiHan, this year’s edition was held at the Basketball Court at Lebuh Aceh, and saw a combination of Malaysian and Chinese performers put their creativity to the test as they figured out how to use the space given to them.
With this unique premise then, one saw a myriad of work from the 15 artists, each bringing their own brand of performance art to the basketball court, now with a giant temporary shelter built over it to stage the performances. While certainly innovative, the amount of free reign given to the artists makes each of the works feel disjointed and difficult to follow, often having little to do with the site itself. Though promising, there was little to keep audiences enthralled throughout, not helped by the lack of air-conditioning and the heavily insulated, stifling environment under the shelter for audiences.
Certainly, Instant Theatre acts as a good potential platform for supporting independent artists and a space and place to showcase their craft, and would make for a much stronger project if there had been some kind of brief or set of rules to angle and shape the project to form a more cohesive whole as they explored art and the space together.
Instant Theatre played at the Basketball Court at Lebuh Aceh from 25th – 26th August 2018. The 2018 George Town Festival runs from 4th August to 2nd September around various locations in George Town, Penang. For full programme lineup and tickets, visit their website here