Main², written by theatre- maker Aidli "Alin" Mosbit, was the first Malay play to be staged at the Esplanade in 2002. It is being restaged by Malay theatre company Teater Ekamatra for Pesta Raya this year and runs from July 20 to 23.
Main² roughly translates as "play", usually in reference to children's games. The story is about six characters "who all start out not taking their lives seriously", says Aidli, 43, who is also directing the play.
It brings up issues plaguing the Malay community which are not often talked about in public, such as drug addiction and sexual and physical abuse. But these are dealt with in a light-hearted manner.
"The issues are serious, but if I play it serious, then it's going to be very boring. The spirit of Main² is that it has been able to unpack very difficult issues in a playful way that makes you rethink them," she says.
The cast is made up of actors Hatta Said, 41, Suhaili Safari, 29, Al-Matin Yatim, 28, Farez Najid, 29, Farhana M. Noor, 26, and Munah Bagharib, 29.
While the 2002 version was a devised work, this staging starts with a ready script.
BOOK IT / MAIN²
WHERE: Esplanade Theatre Studio
WHEN: July 20 to 23, 8pm (Thursday to Sunday), 3pm (Saturday and Sunday)
ADMISSION: $30 (go to www.sistic.com.sg or call 6348-5555)
Aidli is now getting the actors in shape. The 100-minute play is very physical, requiring them to sing, dance and remain onstage the entire time. Rehearsals have included physical training such as running and doing core body workouts.
Aidli says it is "definitely an honour" to be able to stage Main² again, but it is also bittersweet for her. "I did not have to update the script very much because I realised the problems are still the same and are even more rampant now," she says.
She adds: "I told the actors, 'Don't judge the characters you are playing.' Because at the end of the day, we are capable of having that streak."