The Many Things That Aku Cinta (I Love)

August 4, 2011 at 3:00 pm

The Malaysia.com team was recently invited to review a production by ACX and klpac entitled ‘Aku Cinta XXX‘, which recently just ended its run at The Actors Studio at Lot 10. Some may think that it may have something to do with stories of love and betrayal or even murder, others may think it may be related to another play called ‘Terima Kasih Cinta‘, which was a musical theatre adaptation held at Istana Budaya earlier this year.

The show is all about Malaysia and the people of Malaysia. There were not much things that the cast members, made up of Ceci Yong, Easee Gan and Jinnie Lim, missed out in their declarations of love for all things Malaysian. Cafes like Old Town White Coffee, Pappa Rich and Secret Recipe made into their list of the things they love about Malaysia. So did UPSR, PMR, SPM and STPM as well as iconic landmarks and cities such as Puduraya and Putrajaya. Food stuff like ulam, sambal belacan, cencaluk, nasi lemak, cendol, bak kut teh, nasi briyani, char kuey teow and many more was also mentioned as some of the things that they love here in Malaysia.

Aku Cinta XXX

Ceci Yong and Easee Gan doing the 'Dikir Barat' performance while Jinnie Lim takes the lead on vocals

There were no lengthy dialogues, no plots and no elaborate stage settings, just the sentiments of these people spoken out loud for all to hear and know. Members of the cast highlighted a few of the many significant events that took place around the world, from natural disasters like the major earthquakes that shook Japan and New Zealand to the cold-blooded massacre of youths in Norway. Though most of the issues highlighted were no laughing matter, the cast managed to make it into a fun session as they acted out the events in an engaging way. In the later part of the show, members of the cast also gave their views and opinions on some of the issues that took place in Malaysia, like the issue of brain drain that the country is facing as well as the Obedient Wives Club that was recently formed to curb the problem of cheating husbands.

In a way, the whole show felt more of like a sharing session of all the things that most of us in Malaysia were exposed to when growing up. Not all of them grew up reading comics like Dennis the Menace or books like the Famous Five, but most of them grew up watching cartoons like Ninja Turtle, Thundercats, Popeye the Sailorman, Sonic the Hedgehog and even Doraemon! Many may remember a certain type of bubble gum that came with a temporary tattoo or the playing cards like ‘Happy Family’ and ‘Old Maid’. Some of us may also remember the multi-layered pencil box with ‘hidden’ compartments, only accessible when a certain button is pressed. There was also the different shapes of erasers, bearing the different flags of the states in Malaysia. As I listened to the cast members reciting the things that they loved during the 80s, it evoked many of my own childhood memories.

Aku Cinta XXX

Jinnie Lim and Ceci Yong taking turns to sway Easee Gan like a pendulum in one part of the show

I once heard an acquaintance of mine comment that here in Malaysia, we have quite a number of public holidays. As I listened to the three members of the cast recite the list of major holidays that they love, I cannot help but to agree. The cast members also brought up other issues that most people would have faced at a certain point in their life. Sex, being everyone’s most favourite as well as a controversial issue, was also presented albeit a very interesting way. As two of them take turns to sway their friend between them, one of them gave a monologue on the list of things that they love about the other person – from the tip of that person’s hair right down to the toes of the person’s feet. Certain sentiments were repeated few times throughout this part, which could be an effort to emphasize on the depth of a person’s feelings towards someone when they fall in love.

I must admit, there are certain segments of the show that left me wondering as to the purpose of conveying their opinions in that particular manner. For example, when Easee Gan was presenting a few of the local issues to the audience, the remaining cast members, Ceci Yong and Jinnie Lim supplied the background ‘music’ by knocking on the steel frames of the stage props. Though Gan was using the microphone to give his comments, the knocking was somewhat disturbing and at times did drown out Gan’s voice. Another part was where the three of them ran around the stage, looking very lost and confused. It felt that the action did not contribute anything to the message that they were trying to give.

Aku Cinta XXX

Easee Gan giving his views on some of the local issues while the other two drum away on the stage prop

One of the better parts of the show which was my favourite was the part where the three of them repeated a routine – some sort of a ‘mime’ performance where they acted out a scene in the life of a working adult. It struck a familiar chord with me, as I feel at times we get so caught up in our work life that sometimes we lose track of what is important in our life other than work – spending time with our loved ones and friends. There was also the dancing section, where each of them danced with their own imaginary partner. As they waltz with their partners, they stated the things that they love their partners for; the fact that he is friendly, the freedom that she enjoys even though she is in a relationship, the small things that she can do with her small finger and many more.

There are times when I feel like I’m watching a bunch of kids performing on stage. The energy that they display never seem to fall, but only climb higher. They may be sweating or tired from jumping around, but it never shows. Given the fact that they were jumping or prancing around most of the show, I was very surprised to see them doing the back flips enthusiastically towards the end of the performance. The three of them were doing the back flips continuously and it went on for at least five minutes before the show ended. I feel, it is cast members’ dedication to making this a heart-warming sharing session that made it such an entertaining show. Though it may not be another award-winning production, the show has certainly achieved its purpose, and that is to accurately point out the very things that us Malaysians love and loathe.

Aku Cinta XXX

The cast members miming their daily work day routine. Here, they are washing their faces before taking their bath

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