Updated: May 8, 2021
Rumah Lakon recently staged Romansiprokal a theatre show in collaboration with Liveinmypoetry, at at Revolution Stage on 2 October, 2020. It was supposed to end on 11 October but had to cancel after its fifth show when COVID-19 cases in Selangor rose to unprecedented numbers. Despite this, there is hope for a restaged to take place once the pandemic crisis is brought under control. This write-up gives you a hint at what to expect, should that chance arise in the near future.
The title is a play of words between ‘romance’ and ‘reciprocal’, that also hints at the central focus of the play. It explores different dynamics of love, romance, and reciprocation in the relationships between partners, family members, and even society.
As a theatre piece, Romansiprokal, attempts to be bold by not sugarcoating the depictions of sensitive issues. Each scene and plot performance, is geared towards keeping audience members in thrall throughout the close to two-hour long duration.
Based on seven different adaptations of Yusof Bakar’s work, Romansiprokal is directed by three different directors: Dzeelfa Zainal, Izhar Azree, and Remy Eldhani. The theme, staging, and cast is designed to “an extremely chilled vibe”.
At first glance, the stage is arranged is simple: A long rectangle with white cloth backdrop. The walls had some clothes hanging from the ceiling down to the floor. Three big boxes served as props for the cast of all seven plays.
These would be turned into a sofa, bed, bus stop, and several more. The audience sat, surrounding the stage to give off a “theatre in the round” or a black box feel. Keeping the props simple and sparse was a deliberate choice in keeping with the show’s sense of minimalism.
The music ranged from indie to lofi-hip-hop. A spotlight from the front of the stage and two from the edges edges served as primary lighting. The colors used were pink, purple, red, and yellow. The directors took this effort to give the show a unique ambiance and provide a vibe for each of the seven plays.
It has been a challenge to present the work amid a pandemic, in which strict SOPs and guidelines needed to be adhered to by the production team, cast down to every audience member.
Although. only a total of five shows out of ten were staged, I believe Romansiprokal has something big to offer for audiences and I look forward to its restaging.