In February 2015, I attended the play Diari Wanita…Episod Kak Ani & Nyonya directed by Rosminah Tahir and staged at Istana Budaya. I reviewed it for Kakiseni’s blog; here’s an excerpt:
Diari Wanita…Episod Kak Ani & Nyonya is a production that deals in doubles. [It] tells the stories of two women from two different countries told in tandem, as guided by the vision of one director, Rosminah Tahir. One story illustrates the journey of YB Dato’ Rohani Abdul Karim, our Minister of Women, Family and Community Development (the ministry supported this production), with anecdotes from her childhood, teen years and young adulthood presented through monologues. The other is a comedy by Indonesian writer Wisran Hadi, staged for the seventh time – our very own Madea! – telling the story of Nyonya, a young matriarch trying to protect her wealth from both a wily antique dealer and the determined grandchildren of her sick husband.
Producer Siti Rohayah Attan had said that they were restaging Nyonya due to what she saw as a lack of new ideas that could stand up to the production’s established merits, but that the inclusion of the Kak Ani story would reinvigorate the delivery and storytelling. It would have been delightful had this been the case, but unfortunately the two stories were so tonally and thematically at odds with each other that Diari Wanita was, for this reviewer at least, a rather confusing and dissatisfying experience.