A Tale of 3 Eurasian Sisters

You know, I never miss a play by Mark if I can help it.

That's Nic, me and Lisa with Mark (with GAP shirt)...met him after he acted in his play Ah Steve so he was in make up, hence weird eyes (and crouching - he really isn't that short!)
That's Nic, me and Lisa with Mark (with GAP shirt)...met him after he acted in his play Ah Steve so he was in make up, hence weird eyes (and crouching - he really isn't that short!)

Urmm…A Case of Mark Boleh
For one, he’s a good friend and two, if we don’t support Malaysian theatre, where will it be? It’s not that we are major theatre goers lah, I mean, look at the pathetic theatre scene in Penang.
Actually I shouldn’t say it’s pathetic because it is much better now. A friend from PJ came up in July and we caught a pretty good acapella rendition of Celine Dion’s hits and she gushed, oh I wished I could have these in PJ. Which meant that for the measly price of RM20 apiece, we in Penang can attend any theatre production we liked. In KL, she pouts, such prices aren’t available. Anyone can vouch for this?
Also come to think of it, while we do not have the Philharmonic Orchestra that KL people have, we do have our Penang Symphony Orchestra and visiting orchestras which are actually quite lovely to attend.
Culturally I suppose we aren’t left wanting in Penang. Perhaps we tend to be picky but I always think, if it is a toss-up between a play and paying the cover charge for some night hangout, I’d go for a play. And if people can pay cover charges, it’s not about the money then. It’s probably more of interest.
Secrets of 3 Daughters Undone
I caught Mark’s Mama’s Wedding on Friday night at The Actors’ Studio Greenhall, arriving at 8.29pm (plays usually start at 8.30pm). I had earlier SMSed him to see if he’d be around but he couldn’t come up to Penang for this. He’s actually one of the three directors-in-residence at KLPAC so he must be dead busy.
I liked Mark’s style because he writes about what he knows intimately.
Like about Kulim.
Like about growing up Eurasian.
Like growing up with hang-ups (hey, who doesn’t have hang ups!) about love and relationships.
Like about being Catholic.
Like about speaking Hokkien with English and campur with some Bahasa (that’s how real Malaysians speak, not those put on accents you hear on TV. Thank God someone realised that!)
But I’m biased. I’ve been a Mark Beau fan since his Stories for Amah days. Since his Cheet Chat days with my best pal. Since his Ah Steve days.
(He’s also one of the humblest people I know, despite his fame and success. Mark has twice been nominated for a BOH Cameronian Arts Award in the Best Original Script category against Jit Murad and Ann Lee.)
And of course, he was still in Penang then.
He took off for KL because let’s face it, if you’re in theatre and you want to really make it big, anyone in their right mind would relocate to KL. That’s really a no brainer.
So, how did I like this tale of 3 Eurasian sisters? (A sidenote: It premiered in Singapore before it came back to Penang and KL.)
It struck a chord with me because I happen to grow up knowing 2 Eurasians and yes, they do act all uppity and strange, neither here nor there. I can’t say they were silly; it’s how they were brought up to shop in Marks & Spencers, wear flowery hats at church weddings and bested each other with family gossip and acar recipes.
Oh and let’s not forget those incredibly English accents.
The Dresser Envy & Sugar Daddy Goss
This girl I used to know, well, she was beautiful at 16 and everyone loved her gregariousness.
Me, I loved and envied her bedroom because it was all hers (I had to share my cramped space with 2 sisters) and she had a full dressing table (which was one of those crazy things I hankered for when I was a teen!) and she had all these lovely English-y stuff that no one my age knew where it all came from (later I found out those lavender soaps, rose soaps, embroidered handkerchiefs, lacy undies and all came from Marks & Spencers and they still cost a bomb so I really didn’t know if I were to believe the sugar daddy stories).
The other Eurasian was a boy. He was an absolute maddie. Their family were so open that his mom showed us girls her G-string when we visited his home in the middle of a tea plantation (his father was an estate manager).
I formed early opinions of this group of folks whom I found exciting and different from my typical middle-class Chinese upbringing.
Anyway, Mama’s Wedding is about 3 sisters who each have their memories and angst about each other. The dialogue is quite Malaysian and though at times the jokes kind of hang precariously in the air , Mark’s play is always a continuation of family relationships, of how we really do hurt the people we love most and why in the end, everyone’s still family because we’re bonded by the blood that runs in us. We can fight, scream, bitch and groan about each other but we’re still deep inside, of the same kind. Different outside but same same inside.
It’s now playing in KL’s The Actors Studio @ BSC (running till 6 November).
So catch it and tell me what you think of Mama’s Wedding.

Leave a Comment