When you’re stuck in traffic listening to music on Spotify, that music is art

When you just bought a house and needed furniture in it, that furniture is art

When you’re out having fun with your friends in a club, that DJ is an art — because they’re an artist.

The cast of the theatre show of MonStar Awards 2022, “The _ Life of Jane, Peter Jambai anak Albert Bangau, further added,

“There are artists all around you; creating and making arts… 

Have some respect for the art that you consume and have respect for the artists that create the art for you.”

In conjunction with our first-ever live theatre show performing at Panggung DBKL, on 26th November, we have gathered some of the cast members and the co-directors to let us into their world of creativity. 

They talked about their journey, struggles, hopes and learning in this underappreciated and undervalued industry. 

Writing his life in the creative scene

Growing up, Peter had been involved in a lot of church theatre shows.

“I’ve always been intrigued by theatre. That’s why I decided to give it a try when I saw an open casting call [for The _ Life of Jane] on a friend’s Instagram story.

I gave it my all and it was affirming to receive the message from the team that I passed my audition! ”

But, his dream is not to become an actor.

“The audition was an experience of its own – I had to do a one-minute monologue in front of the directors.”

“One of my biggest dreams is to become a best-selling fiction book author by the age of 30. I want to know how it feels like to see the product of your skills and talent being put on display in a bookstore.”

And, he knew age is never the determining factor of one’s pursuit in the creative field.

The Sawarakian said he felt welcomed here in the creative industry — a space where people are gathered regardless of their backgrounds, age, and colour.

“We all started somewhere, but that somewhere wasn’t just when we were young.”

From performing for plush toys to directing a live theatre show

Yes, you saw that right. It’s for plush toys, not for living humans.

“I used to put on little mini concerts for my plush toy after kindergarten. And this would carry on as I grew older when I would put on full productions and force my family to watch them,” the co-director, Amirul Zain, recalled his old days.

“Everything from props and production design, to costumes and lighting — I would put on these one-man shows in our living room. It wasn’t until secondary school that I received formal classes in theatre by my school — something that I was proven to be naturally gifted at.” 

But, sometimes, the 25-year-old wished he was a “boring, unnoticeable, behind-the-scenes worker.”

He is working in the filming industry now, during which he received formal training for performing arts at the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (KLPAC).

In an industry full of veterans, he was facing difficulties to get people to listen to him — a youngster — and choose to take a chance on him.

“Getting noticed [in this industry] is like trying to save yourself from drowning… Maybe if I grew a beard, people might take me a lot more seriously. ”

As a writer, actor, and director, Amirul wished to have a creative industry where artists and creators can make a living doing what they specialise in.

We bring colour into the world; we make the world a more vibrant, more interesting place. 

Shouldn’t we be able to feed ourselves through our work? 

Shouldn’t we be able to have a legitimate future in our careers?“

A “character collector” in this exploitative industry

“To be honest, I do not enjoy being in the centre of attention.”

Lee Qi, the cast of The _ Life of Jane, expressed her disdain towards being under the spotlight that she stopped dancing and singing.

Her dad, who comes from a music background, came in and talked her out of that mindset by saying these 5 words.

She used to work as an “extra” on set that need her to stand by for 12 hours.

“It’s part of the package.”

Her father told her that every job has its perks and dirt. 

“To pursue what you want, you have to embrace the good and bad sides of it — by focusing on the good.”

Also, the one thing that keeps Lee Qi going is that she gets to ‘collect’ different characters by trying different roles.

Aspiring to be a versatile actor, she further shared the dirty stories behind the glamorous industry —  from casting pretty faces with barely proper English, to unjust and exploiting treatment from agents. 

Yet, she was firmly standing her ground in this exploitative industry.

“People will exploit you. So, know what you’re capable of. Remember those times when you create and it makes you feel good. Keep those in your memory or in a notebook.”

And she had her ‘special’ way when dealing with underpaying clients:

Hoping for the freedom to discuss ‘dangerous’ social issues

Another co-director, Danniel Iskandar, started his journey in this industry when he was finding an easy A+ as an elective in middle school. 

“It was dance class, and ever since then, I’ve been propelled into the world of entertainment. 

From school musicals to university theatre plays, and professional training provided by industry giants, I keep finding myself enjoying the process, and that’s what keeps me dabbling in this industry.”

To him, he met struggles that haunt society as a whole.

He urged people who are interested to dabble in this industry to explore and have fun exploring it.

“The struggles I face are the same struggles that haunt society as a whole — unrealistic societal expectations of what something should be, stemming from the poor education system.”

“Some things, such as social issues, need dialogue, need conversation. And it is my hope that this dialogue can be sparked through the work of art, without having to be hounded as ‘dangerous’, according to the status quo.”

Debunking the biggest myth of the performance art

“Acting is an easy job.”

A lot of non-artists and non-creators are convinced that what the artists do is easy, fun, and therapeutic

What most people fail to realise is that any play, movie, TV show, fashion collection, book, painting, piece of furniture, and every other form of art requires hundreds of hours, countless jobs, and indescribable amounts of time, money, and energy.

Their journey to uncover, unfold and unmask their true selves.

“Never underestimate the tenacity and passion of an artist or a creator. We are amongst the strongest people on this planet,“ Amirul emphasised.

LeeQi also chimed in, “Do you think being vulnerable is easy? We can’t even show our vulnerability and weakness in front of our families, friends, or loved ones. Performing on the stage — acting is showing our vulnerability in front of the audience.”

The _ Life of Jane(s)

Presented by Monsta Asia

1️⃣ Co-Directors : Amirul Zain & Danniel Iskandar

2️⃣ Executive Producer : Zhi Ee Chan

3️⃣ Creative Director : Aces Chew

4️⃣ Production Team : Anomalist Production

5️⃣ Music Supervisor : Francis Cobb

6️⃣ Casts : Alya Amani, Farhahn Miraj, Thamil Arasan, Peter Jambai anak Albert Bangau, Shania Perkins, Lee Qi, Alex Bong, Naimi Iman, Jelissa Lim Fidelis.

No words are enough to thank these talented youth for their contributions to this struggling industry.

Support them here while they will be performing The _ Life of Jane which helps to uncover, unfold and unmask your true self.

Food and drinks are included. More details are on this page.