after, after Four years, one person’s dream finally began to bear bittersweet fruit. Inspired by the real-life experiences of the late Dr. Aini Hamed, the all-new play You and I and Big C From now until September 25th at klpac under the direction of Joe Hasham OAM.
Co-written by Dr. Hamid and Terence Toh, You and I and Big C It is a story about Amy, a thriving modern woman who dreams of being a dance champion. Everything changes after she finds out that she has a lump in her breast.
After Amy was diagnosed with cancer, Big C began to affect her life and the people around her. Fortunately, she has her brave teenage daughter Mia, who is there for her. Together, Amy and Maya face everything life throws at them with humor and grace and discover that not even cancer can destroy their special bond.
For a behind-the-scenes look, we spoke to Chrystal Foo, who plays Amy’s daughter, Mia, and Omar Ali, who plays a supporting role and is the drama production.
Born in the tough, dusty corners of her high school’s Literary Drama Society, Fu began her acting career as an after-school activity and evolved into a staple of her life.
“I did drama throughout high school as an extracurricular activity and really enjoyed it. Fu remembers a lot of seniors who were so passionate about performing arts that it would guide and inspire me to continue in theater after I finished high school.
“So when I was 18, I auditioned and got into youth theater. Since then, I’ve been lucky enough to take some auditions here and there. And I made some theater friends who help me gain experience and book jobs.”
Currently, Fu is studying Law at the University of Malaya. We asked her how she reconciles the university with its creative projects.
“Well in all honesty, this is something I’ve been struggling with a lot. I know a lot of people handle responsibilities a lot better than I do, so it’s definitely possible! But I think it’s important to know yourself and listen to your body when you need a break and be disciplined About the break! I’m personally suspending acting for a while after this show while I finish my degree.”
as I wrote Sorry I get emotional when we driveExperimental play on wheels in July.
As for Omar, he was already working as a theater director when one of the actors had to drop out of production. “When Joe asked if I could take the role instead, I said yes.”
Trained as a graphic designer and copywriter, his entry to the theater was a lucky turnaround, as the actor also had to drop out of production at the last minute. “They needed a bilingual actor to replace him. I only had experience as an ‘extra’ stage at the time, but times were desperate, I guess.”
Omar added, “Since then, I was fortunate to have one role after another and enjoyed the experience, so I kept doing more things.
“Aside from acting at the time, I also did some behind-the-scenes and design work, including designing a set with scenographer Usman Mukhtar, to keep things running.”
Foo loves when they make a full play because it pleases her when she finally sees the story come together. “Plus the cast is there, so it’s fun being able to chat and have fun between scenes.”
As a theatrical work, Omar facilitated adaptations to the script with director Joe Hashem and screenwriter Toh during internal script readings.
Omar said that Toh’s unique charm and sense of humor in his scripts are among the things that make rehearsals interesting.
Omar shared how important the story was to him: “Different people have varied experiences with cancer, or losing a loved one to cancer, as I did. But for me, personally, the strongest points of this story are three main things: relationship stress in like These attitudes, the very human struggle—the ups and downs—to persist in adversity, and the importance of self-care for people as caregivers.”
For Foo, this upcoming play is a reminder to get regular check-ups of your loved ones and yourself, as well as being sensitive to others who are going through tough times, health or not.
The pandemic has delayed the play by about two years, and according to Omar, they have had to make some changes because some of the cultural references are somewhat outdated.
“To be honest, the hard part for me personally was in pre-production, while we were rewriting the script. As I mentioned, I’m a fan of Terence’s writing and sense of humor. So my biggest challenge was rewriting the script but at the same time keeping its voice and sense of humor.” as much as we can as a writer.”
“Although there were some minor changes made during the production process, I am happy that the final draft was Terrence’s script, and I hope the changes made serve his script well,” Omar said.
For someone who aspires to join the stage, Omar advises: “Do it. The more artists we have, the richer our scene will be. But you have to love doing it, and stick with the choices you make. Also, there are many other ways to be in – and contribute to – theater apart from being in the spotlight.”
Meanwhile, Fu picked up something she learned in a critical analysis of Ghibli Kiki’s Delivery Service related to presence in the performing arts theater in Malaysia.
There will come a time when every artist sees their craft as a bane to their existence and abandons it, and that distance will teach you whether or not you can live without your art. Burnout will come, especially in an environment like Malaysia where a return to the stage never justifies the effort and time you put into it. Learn to distance yourself from your art when you need to. It might teach you more about your craft than you expected.”
You and I and Big C It is the blood, sweat and tears of the cast and crew. If you’re hungry for a great story and want to support the local arts, Foo assures that any play is a story that people enjoy and/or connect with.
Theater lovers can watch this play and celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Aini Hamed for eight performances. Get your tickets at bit.ly/youmeandbigc.