[By Dhiya Bisyarah Fadzal]
The indie-pop tune of Foster the People filled the four walls of Lecture Theatre 20. Psychedelic light installations circled the room. It was the 19th of October – the second day of the three-day event. Everyone was buzzing with excitement and chatter. For its sixth volume, Taylor’s Society of Performing Arts’s (SPART) annual signature event, Sparties Shorties, muses on what it is like to be human.
The first play was Closeted Lies. It touched on the theme of fighting our internal battles. Often, we have polar opposites in our head that cripple our strength to make decisions. Director Nurul Khalisah Shahridan was inspired by the film Inside Out and channeled that into “juxtaposing an angel and demon” within the mind of the main character, Miles. From this, she aims to raise awareness on how everyone has their own inner demons and struggles. Once you accept such denials, you can eventually break free from closeted feelings.
Better Life: Open 24/7 is the next play written and directed by Tinesh Janaki Raman. The play opens with comic relief peppered throughout the first half but eventually takes a darker turn when the audience realises how Jo, Tom and Sarah were intertwined into what was an unfortunate accident. From this, the play explores confrontation and acceptance – reminding how coming to terms with your feelings and then moving on is necessary and healthy.
This was followed by Unspoken, written and directed by Sameni Kumaravelu. The play begins by piquing interest with a disclaimer of sensitive content, the misuse of substance and strong language. Gut-wrenching and intense, the play spoke of the realism on the prevalence of sexual abuse today.
“The shock factor really made me choke. I did not expect that,” said Davandip, a Taylor’s University Broadcasting major who photographed the play.
Although heavy and triggering, the play revealed the challenges faced by victims in seeking help in real life.
The fourth play Lazarus was written and directed by El-Umar Mokhtar. It is about overcoming regrets and seeking closure. It introduces a regretful Adam with bottled-up emotions and his best friend, Sophie whom encourages him to release them. They then meet a crazy scientist that promises an experiment to overcome their regrets, but the scientist limits them to a mere 12 hours. Since, time becomes nothing but precious.
The final play, Minnie was written and directed by Sharifah Farah Aida. It opens to a scene of two inseparable siblings, Minnie and Azri. From an orphanage, it quickly climaxes to Azri, the older sibling, separated from his younger sister into a new home. From here, the audience notices Azri’s struggle to adapt to life without Minnie and his battle with acceptance. It is an intimidating life lesson all of us can relate to – to just move on because some things that happen cannot be explained.
However, audiences could explain why the theatrical play was such a hit.
“It taught me so many lessons especially Lazarus, on how time expires especially for the people we love,” said Charlotte Teo Wei Jian, a student from Sunway University.
James Leong Ka Jun, from the School of Architecture, also said, “I am a very technical person but the plays cleverly tapped on my inner emotional side that not many can reach out to.”
The 6th Sparties Shorties made sure to let the audience remember, redefine and rediscover the true meaning of being human. Even with internal struggles, we are no less human nor are we flawed beyond repair. SPART teaches us that we are simply finding ourselves, and that makes us unapologetically human.
Photography by Aiman Bin Mos Johari Rohaiza