[Review] A Light in KL City

Play: A Light in KL City
Produced by: Electric Minds Project
Staged: Pentas 2, KLPac
Runs: Refer here.

A young woman runs to the motel, banging on the door, begging to be let in. She clutches her used panties in her hand, screaming at her pursuer, defiant to the last. The two men sleeping in the lobby awakens. Darshan, the receptionist, sleepily opens the door. She comes in, an angry customer, no longer fearful of what chased her on the street.

A Feng Shui “master” and a young man with “visions” of Malaysia’s architectural future clash over the new decor. A Dato comes down the stairs with a scantily-clad beautiful woman, the euphoria of last night’s sex clinging to both visibly.

A beautiful songstress courts two men, unable to part with both. A cold woman who betrays her boss’ lover for money to feed her family.

It’s all about the money. Money to feed the children. Money to fuel development in Malaysia. Throwing away those who are idealistic, but cannot make the cold-hearted decisions to survive.

The light goes out. The machinery moves in. And within, at midnight, the residents who call Chahaya Inn home, huddle together, one last time.

A Light in KL City, the flyer says, tells us of things thrown away. Of the people, the history, the things we throw away or take for granted. Chahaya Inn, like many other buildings in KL, is full of history. The story of Anita, her Captain, and Aziz illustrates wonderfully Malaya’s ultimate choice to spurn the Communist ideology for the British “peaceful” transition.

Like many buildings in Kuala Lumpur, within such an old and historic building, are those whom society has forgotten. Whom we have “thrown away” because they don’t fit. From the old film star, to the runaway girl, to the mature sex worker, to illegal immigrant, to a “gweilo” singing on the streets. Their home is demolished to make way for a new hotel. One that promises to be chic, sophisticated and with a minimalist design.

I watched A Light in KL City with some friends. Each walked away with differing opinions of the show. One said that it was during the first half of the show that she could sympathise most with the characters, because they felt alive to her. Another found it interesting. My brother could understand it.

Me, I found it poignant. Devastating in some scenes. Heartbreaking in others. I keep referring to it as a film rather than as a play, because it felt that much real to me. In fact, it watches that much better than some movies I’ve watched. As Swing says, it’s better to shell out RM30 (normal price) for A Light in KL City than RM 10 for a movie you don’t want to watch.

Catch A Light in KL City. You won’t be disappointed.