Niki Cheong is blogging

Raj and the End of Comedy

Supporting Instant Cafe Theatre Company, 25 years on

Happy Quarter Century, Instant Cafe Theatre Company! I can’t believe it’s been that long, and that you welcomed me into your family about 16 years ago!

And what an adventure it has been. It’s been a riot (I mean, you guys are pretty funny), mental (hello, stage managing your 10th anniversary revue show?) and turbulent (I was literally there when the authorities shut down a couple of your shows – or tried to play censor). Most of all, it’s been 16 years of amazing friendships that have stemmed from working with you folks.

I remember as a kid when both my sisters took on part time work as front-of-house crew for ICT shows and I was too young to attend (my sisters also didn’t want an annoying brother there so they pacified me with autographed programmes, which I still have – how much would I get them for on eBay?). Who’d have thought that some years later, I would be involved in the shows (quite a few over the years) myself!

My first foray in Malaysian theatre was as Assistant Stage Manager to Jit Murad’s Gold Rain and Hailstones, directed by Zahim Albakri and starring Jit and Lin Jaafar. Dramalab, which was presented the show, was born from Instant Cafe. For those of you old enough to remember (ahem), you’d remember that Jo Kukathas, Zahim, Jit and one strange white man called Andrew Leci together with some of the amazing talents Malaysia have who continue to thrill and excite us now were the people behind the famed ICT Revue shows.

Not many people locally have been able to recreate what they have – with all due respect to some of my friends, I have not seen the wit, class and finesse in satirical comedy done as well as the ICT folks have. It’s a shame we don’t get to see much more of it anymore. Having said that, the performing arts scene has changed over the years, and so has audience tastes.

But it’s not just the political satire and comedy that Instant Cafe has gifted to our country – and yes, it was, and to me, remains a national institution – some of the most memorable theatre performances I’ve watched in Malaysia were productions from ICT – Gold Rain and Hailstones and Shanon Shah’s Aircon to name a couple.

So next week, to celebrate its 25th anniversary, I will be heading to the Nov 30 fundraising night. Tickets are RM200 and RM500 (I can’t afford the latter unfortunately) and goes to support both its new production Raj and the End of Tragedy (written by Jo Kukathas!) as well as the company who have spent the better part of the last decade bringing us amazing new original works.

Plus, it’s a stellar cast! Jo, Ghafir Akbar, Anne James, Doppo Narita and Suhaili Micheline are always a delight to watch.

It would be great if you could contribute and attend the fundraising night so that many more young people continue to get the ICT experiences that the 18-year-old me did. But details on the whole run (opens Nov 27) is available here.

I’ll leave you with this note from the company.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO US!
Instant Cafe Theatre turns 25 on 1st Dec. So join us for the Sun Nov 30 8.30pm show – for our fundraising night. We are raising funds to support part of the cost of this production and our ongoing work to create and nurture Malaysian theatre. Tickets are priced at RM200 and RM500. Audiences will also be invited to a surprise birthday party for ICT later that night at a location to be disclosed later (surprise!). To purchase the fundraising tickets, please email ictfundraising@gmail.com or call +6017 747 1135 or +6016 286 1313.

I hope to see you on the 30th. My experiences working with Instant Cafe has helped shaped the person I am today for which I am grateful (and for the amazing friendships as well that I have developed over the way). I just wonder if I’ll ever achieve my lifelong dream of performing in one of its shows. 😛

2.54pm Malaysian time (+8 GMT)

Discussion (1)

There is one response to “Supporting Instant Cafe Theatre Company, 25 years on”.

  1. Kareena Tan responded:

    · Reply

    Hi Niki,
    I am approaching you on behalf of ICT to see if we can publish an excerpt of your blog in the souvenir programme booklet for ‘Raj’? My number is +601********, would love to have this wonderful piece in the booklet. Hope to hear from you soon!

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