Madu II review

Madu II review

What is it like to be a “madu” (co-wife) in a Muslim household? That’s what you will find out in the play “Madu II”.

“Madu II” is a two-person act about polygamy played by two real-life sisters Elza Irdalynna and Inessa Irdayanty as the first and second wives respectively to the same husband.

On the left: Elza Irdalynna. On the right: Inessa Irdayanty.

Firstly, I have to say that the script was fantastic! Written by the very talented Singaporean playwright Alfian Sa’at and directed by U-En Ng as his directional debut.

From left to right: Set designer Marta, playwright Alfian Sa’at, director U-En Ng, actress Inessa Irdayanty and actress Elza Irdalynna.

The story happened entirely in the kitchen while both wives—Kamariah Hassan (first wife) and Suhaila Buang (second wife)—preparing dinner as they were waiting for their husband Hisham (an imaginary character) that seemed to take forever to return.

Hisham married the younger wife Suhaila because the first wife Kamariah was unable to conceive. And ever since, Kamariah and Suhaila have been fighting, with their own ways to get their husband’s attention.

Kamariah was a good cook. As she believes the only way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. On the other hand, Suhaila doesn’t know how to cook at all. But she has her good look. And well, that’s all she needed to get her husband’s attention.

Elza played the thirty-something first wife Kamariah flawlessly I would say in spite of her young age at only 22. While Inessa has also managed to project the soul and emotion of the younger wife who is more closer to her real age (21).

Although Hisham was just an imaginary character, the audience however, can almost feel the presence of Hisham on stage as Kamariah and Suhaila revealed the outlook, habits and characteristics of Hisham bit by bit throughout the play. And I think that’s brilliant.

The play was way more entertaining than I though it would be. Humorous lines and acts have definitely made the show a joy to watch.

I was literally jaw-dropped when Kamariah brought the rice cooker (with real steaming rice inside!) to the center of the floor during the last few scenes.

“No way she’s going to do that?!” I thought to myself. And guess what, she really did it—the infamous “Nasi Kangkang”!

Kamariah and Suhaila taking turn to make “Nasi Kangkang”.

If you have no idea what is that, it’s about an old believe of squatting over steaming rice so that the husband will do whatever the wife says after eating the rice.

Overall, the play feels so intricately crafted that it has infused just the right balance of humour, love, hatred and hard truth.

At the end, what the wives want is nothing more than the love and attention of their husband. And one should really strike a balance in life be it marriage or any other things we do.

However, striking a balance of love between a husband and two wives is definitely not an easy task because the fact is that, 3 can never be divided equally into half, and there’s always a remainder.

“Madu II” is staging at The Actors Studio @ Lot 10 since 6 April until tomorrow 10 April 2011. Don’t miss out the only show in Malaysia that talks about this sensitive subject—polygamy.

Photos courtesy Kelab Shashin Fotografi KL.

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