There is a lot more going on in the mind than we realise.
In 2005, America’s National Science Foundation published an article that revealed the average person has between 12,000 and 60,000 thoughts per day – and 80 percent of these thoughts are negative. For many, negative contemplation often gravitates towards anxiety, depression and thoughts of suicides.
With a million people deciding to take their own lives annually, The World Health Organisation lists Guyana, Lithuania, Kazakhstan, Swaziland and Russia as the top countries where suicide happens. With suicide rates ranging from 32.5 to 25.3 per 100,000 population, Malaysia’s own numbers of 0.6 per 100,000 population, while low, doesn’t offer much relief. The recorded statistics for the country is an underestimate – taking into considering the number of reported cases, which is estimated to be a few hundred a year.
Also, a study conducted by the Malaysian Psychiatric Association Malaysia showed a 60 percent increase of suicides since the 1960’s is a reality check for all of us. Yes, more and more Malaysians are thinking about ending their lives.
For Christopher Ling, Artistic Director of theatre collective theatrethreesixty, the subject of suicide is one close to his heart.
“We all know someone who has been affected by suicide, whether it’s someone who has done it, attempted to do it, or even thinking about it,” said Chris, who had a friend commit suicide over 20 years ago.
The man behind musicals Bernaba Alba (2010) and Marrying Me (2013) first directed The Edge back in 2008, as part of a workshop at the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (KLPac). Fast forward ten years, he is once again directing the musical, the brainchild of local composer and writer Nick Choo.
The musical was re-staged in 2013 and most recently played to audiences in Perth, Australia in May. This month, The Edge returns to Malaysian shores and is all set to explore the intricacies of the subject through the eyes and minds of Jarod, Lilly, Deanna, Micheal, Ryan and April.
Josh is a brother, a lover, a rascal, a drifter. His friends are jealous of his idyllic lifestyle. Yet the cracks in all their perfect lives fracture the strongest of bonds. Lily, his long suffering mother struggles with betrayal – Jarod, his brother expects more than what he can give him – he’s drifting alone, yet surrounded by his closest loved ones. As friends and family reach out to help him, what is the ultimate cost to save his life?
The Edge explores the heavier themes of life, on the butterfly effect of our relationships through its tightly woven web of characters, each with their own story. It interrogates the way our desires have profound impacts on the way we interact with each other, and the high cost of our choices made in the tensest of moments.
While the third edition of The Edge stays true to the original story, the director, who is also the winner of the BOH Cameronian Arts Awards for Musical Theatre (Direction), admits to pushing the performance barriers of his actors, asking the actors to delve deep into the true meaning of the lines and sharing their bonafide feelings with the audience.
“Fireworks!” confessed the director, who looked for the essence of the character in each cast.
Featuring two former cast members of the musical, Tria Aziz and Michael Chen, The Edge showcases the talents of Michelle Tan, Kai Chalmers, Iz Sulaini and Ping Khoo. The production also features Nick’s new song scene and a development of characters, thanks to 10 years of life experiences at hand.
“The show is a collection of private moments and the challenge has been how to make private moments public, almost like a confession,” explained Chris, who hand picked the actors to star in the show.
Musical lovers in Malaysia have the chance to experience a musical that is both raw and intimate, coupled with dashes of hilariousness, in short, a musical entirely out of the box that questions human nature and how the mind works. With musical direction by Dominic Lucien Luk and movement direction by Kenny Shim, The Edge aims to come together to create a remarkable experience that will speak to everyone.
“The show doesn’t make a judgement on the act of suicide, whether it is good, or bad, or stupid. It just provides the opportunity for the audience to look at human nature, like a fishbowl, where you’re outside looking in,” added Chris.
Catch The Edge at Lot’ng Arts Space in USJ Taipan, from December 8, 12 to 15 and 19 to 22 at 8.45pm, and the 9, 6 and 23 at 3pm. Tickets are priced at RM58. Concession prices are available for students and senior citizens at 48MYR. To purchase tickets, visit http://theedgekl.peatix.com.