When IQ.ROCK debuted in April, the timeliness of its storyline made it one of the most interesting original plays to hit the Malaysian theatre scene. The semi-biographical work will be restaged this weekend, and it is not to be missed.
Inspired by the life of Azmi Hud, one of the two writers behind the English and Bahasa Malaysia work, IQ.ROCK tells the story of a group of SPM students from rural Serting, Negeri Sembilan, who — like many school-leavers in real life — lack direction, are aimless and doomed by the system that raised them. Khairi Anwar, co-author of the play and Anomalist Production’s founder/artistic director, critically highlights the inequities of the education system; particularly how they affect rural communities, through the quiet sense of chaos and social issues that play out within a sleepy rubber tapping community, which is further stirred by the arrival of a veteran English teacher, Mary, from the city. The play offers a glimpse of the contrasts and inequalities that exist in Malaysia, which go far beyond just a lack of English proficiency, as Mary finds out.
“It’s a bold piece that tackles the flaws in the Malaysian education system that affect our students. We don’t have many stories, films, TV dramas or plays that are open enough to discuss topics like these, and that’s why we want to bring this from the rural to the urban areas. From this, we can perhaps find ways to remedy to problem. It’s an important and relevant piece,” says Khairi, who also directs.
One of the more exciting young theatre companies to emerge in the last few years, Anomalist is fuelled by a group of young creatives who are driven by a passion to not just tell stories, but to contribute to the narrative of an evolving Malaysia. As a testament to that, this restaging is presented in collaboration with Teach For Malaysia.
IQ.ROCK, Black Box, Damansara Performing Arts Centre, Empire Damansara, Damansara Perdana, PJ. Until Aug 19. Purchase tickets here; RM55.