KAJANG, 5th August – Bullying: A Theater Of The Oppressed Showcase organized by Project Spect-Actor in collaboration with Art & Culture Bureau of College of Foundation and Diploma Studies (CFDS) was conducted on the 2nd August 2017 from 9 pm to 11 pm. Held in the Library Auditorium, the event served as a unique type of theater, where members of the audience were encouraged to participate and act along with the actors. ‘Spect-actor’, as described by Mr. Andy Darrel Gomes of Project Spect-Actor, is somebody who not only spectates in certain scenes, but also chooses to respond to those scenarios and take action. Comprising five actors, the show was attended by approximately 160 members of audience.
Comprising of games and scenes, Project Spect-Actor engaged with the audience throughout the night. Provoking members of the audience with uncomfortable, real questions, Mr. Andy would demand for the audience’s view on the situation being presented to them. As the actors acted out a scene, the audience was given two tasks to do: think of a solution to the problem and think about the right place and moment to improve the main character’s situation. After the scene ended, actors would once again reenact the situation and a member of the audience would be allowed to stop the performance and take over the role as the main character.
Dylan Ting Chiun Ket, a foundation student taking Computer Science, was stunned to see the actors doing a great job. “I’ve seen the play, which is something new and it’s a first time for me. It’s a play where the audience plays a part in the play itself. Although I’ve never been a victim of bullying, it has shown me that bullying is a serious issue and we should give more attention to it. They did a really good and I didn’t expect it to be so enjoyable!”
The organizer of the event was none other than Mr. Andy Darrel Gomes, a lecturer in Taylor’s College who also works in the theater and performing arts scene in Malaysia. In an interview with him, he told us more about what Project Spect-Actor truly is, “Project Spect-Actor was something that I started with my students in Taylor’s as a classroom activity. There, I saw that my students were doing wonderful; they were talking about the issues in the class and being exposed to it, so I thought, why not we take it out and bring it to other students? So, what we do is we that we use drama teaching theater of the oppressed, which is an art from from the 70s from Brazil to have a discussion and see whether we can stir them up.”
Comprising ten members in total, Project Spect-Actor is currently traveling around Malaysia to perform in a number of universities to spread awareness on the dangers of bullying as well as addressing to victims of bullying everywhere that there is a solution to everything. The main objective however is to expose students to bullying and to start conversations between students and lecturers alike on what they can do to put a stop to this issue.
Miss Alicia Phillip, an English lecturer in UNITEN, stated that this event affected her. “I think it highlighted the common issue of bullying that is happening around us where many of us are turning a blind eye as well as our ears to. Students who participated in the event could reflect upon themselves and wonder if they were the victim or if they were the bully and how they could actually change the situation. I think it is a great platform for students to look at a different kind of theater and at the same time to be involved with it and see how it could steer them in the heart and in the mind and make them wonder as to how they can stop bullying.”
Scenes of the theater were also based on real-life situations, where the first scene was inspired by the recent bully case and death of T. Nhaveen. One of the actors, Cornelius Raj Amalanathan, asks victims of bullying to stay strong, stand up and voice out. ”If you don’t have the courage, look for a friend. Out of thousands, there has to be someone that you can speak to. Seek for help. Talk to someone. Do all you can to seek help because then you are being active and someone will actually notice and they will step up for you. If you are being bullied remember that you have a purpose and no one can steal it from you.”
All in all, the event was conducted with a huge amount of satisfaction from the audience. Another two members of the audience, Nur Amira Binti Rustam and Nor Aqilah Binti Mohd Zamri, were more than happy with the event.”If there is another theater like this we will definitely come.”
Written by: Nurul Izzahtul ‘Ain binti Mohd Razih
Edited by: Ahmad Danial ‘Irfan bin Husain
Photo Source: Muhammad Alif bin Muhamad