A new collective’s in town and they’re here to make a statement with their debut production this November. Named Rupa co.lab, comprising Malay theatremakers Hazwan Norly, Nabilah Said and Nessa Anwar (all founding members of the playwright collective Main Tulis Group), the collective aims to create new work and provoke and reshapes conversations as seen through the lens of the Malay person.
As of now, the collective has plans to produce three original full-length works over the next three years, starting with Nessa Anwar’s self-directed play, Rumah Dayak, to be staged at the Malay Heritage Centre this November. Marking her sophomore production since Riders Know When It’s Gonna Rain at the 2016 Singapore Theatre Festival 2016, Nessa’s Rumah Dayak is set to be an unapologetic look into the dynamics of troubled Malay youths. Commonly referred to as mats and minahs, the play dives deep into the challenges they face in today’s society amidst poverty, abuse and deprivation.
Having been developed over the last six years, as part of Centre 42’s Basement Workshop residency programme, Rumah Dayak takes place in a night-hour safehouse for troubled youths, dropouts, runaways and delinquents of the Malay community. Run by a pair of ex-offenders, external intervention looms, and it will take all of their efforts to come together to keep the walls of their home up and running, or face collapse.
Taking its title from a game that brought together Malay youths at HDB void decks in the ‘80s and ‘90s, the eight-member cast of Rumah Dayak comprises Al-Matin Yatim, Farah Lola, Yamin Yusof, Tysha Khan, Saifuddin Jumadi, Rusydina Afiqah, Riduan Ahmad and Alee Mazrin. Members of the design team also include veterans of the local theatre scenece, with Fared Jainal as set designer and Emanorwatty Saleh as lighting designer. If Riders was anything to go by, then we can expect Nessa’s script to deliver heart-wrenching, realistic dialogue that builds friendships and delivers impactful drama, as Rupa co.lab makes their debut this November.
Rumah Dayak runs from 21st to 24th November 2019 at the Malay Heritage Centre. Tickets available from Docket