Director: Ak Muhd Akmal Sulaiman Bin Pg Mohidin
Playwright: Samuel Beckett
Institution: Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD), Faculty of Arts & Social Science
Venue: Chung-Ang University, Korea
Time: 20:00, May 17, 2018
Event: 5th Asian Theatre Schools Festival
Running Time: 60 minutes
"Bearing Beckett in Bandar (BBB)" is an ensemble performance that comprises three monologues that symbolize the three pillars of life echoing Bruneian culture and identity, interwoven by 'random' interactions as duets and trios. The performance is inspired by Beckett's "Quad I & ll," "Waiting for Godot" and Dante's "Inferno." In the latter, the animal symbolism of the lion (power), wolf (greed) and leopard (pride) are featured. This tri-angulation of life forces reflect the intersection of politics, economy and religion, which if unchecked, can destroy lives and communities. "Bearing Beckett in Bandar" embodies the three pillars and tackles the issue of art denigrated in the post-truth era through texts and movement. The empty space acts as a platform that exists within one's mind and the actors embody such minds; the mind of an individual and also the collective conscious of the world. On stage,the three performers exist as three different entities, which are separate at first, but towards the end they collide as they seek and search for a change in their minds' space in order to reclaim the truth.
The first monologue was inspired by dance and schizophrenia. As Bandarite I performs a local traditional dance she adds on her destructive thoughts, while expressing the obstacles in trying to be successful. In her monologue,she criticizes the society for not accepting who she is and rejecting her contemporary art. In this current space,parts of the society are now conceited and corrupted, believing that they are all powerful, like gods. Hence,the pillar (culture) that the actor embodies resists being demolished as it hangs on to its roots. The second monologue, performed by Bandarite II, explores the concept of social isolation. By removing the need of human contact, one can become more independent and not be held back by others' opinions or expectations. However,in doing so, one becomes more socially distant and disconnected within the society, eventually losing the ability to bond, engage and interact with other human beings to form lasting and meaningful relationships. His isolation then brings him to the creation, that is, the realm of the divine. Since the Maker is the only one who creates all others, would He not feel alone, lonely and isolated? Likewise, Bandarite II feels the same. His monologue touches on the pillar of religion of being distrusted, exploited and abandoned.
The third monologue touches on the idea of a world full of lies. Through his lines, Bandarite III speaks the voice of truth, while man's eyes are blinded by the screen lights where the world's narrative is swiped away by the fake facts. In this post-truth world, young minds are deceived by the lies of the politicized media. The actor then prophesizes the next global conflict, World War 0, where a revolution will swallow up all mankind into a burning hell for their failure to uphold the Truth. They have failed to unmask the selection and fabrication found on every media screen.
Between the monologues, the three Bandarites symbolizing the three pillars intersect but keep failing to connect,eventually at the end of the play, they find some sort of balance in their occupation of space and syncopation of time. Their communion in time and space is repeated many times until they eventually form a triangular equilibrium on the centre stage.