Five Minutes with Maxime Rhapsody
He landed in Penang last year and, inevitably fell in love with the island. Here, the Short+Sweet Theatre 2013 participant tells Su Aziz about living and working in Penang as well.
Maxime Rhapsody, as he is known, came to Penang for the Georgetown Literary Festival last year and fell rather hard for the place. So, the 24-year old who looks all of 18, went back to the fancy hotel where he worked, gave in his resignation and hightailed it back to Penang where he now lives as a full-time artist and works in the food & beverage industry. Originally from Kuala Lumpur, Maxime’s a Spoken Word poet, rapper, writer and one-time director – which is his stint in the Short+Sweet Theatre 2013 at penangpac. The play is called ‘Grave Affairs’, written by FA Abdul.
When you’re not performing and working, what do you do?
Write, Muay Thai and endurance bike ride.
You’d describe yourself as…
What does 'Short+Sweet' say to you?
Short and sweet , simple yet memorable like life.
What got you interested to participate in Short+Sweet Theatre?
I got to know through Facebook and my friends at penangpac was looking for upcoming directors and actors to direct and act in the upcoming Short+Sweet 2013 in Penang. I knew immediately that it was something I wanted to do. I always wanted to direct and act as well and S+S proved to be a stepping-stone for me since I’m coming up with experimental theatre that combines poetry, rapping and play together.
Tell us more about what you’ll be doing in the Short+Sweet Theatre 2013?
I’ll be directing and co-starring in ‘Grave Affairs’. It’s a simple script but carries a powerful message on women’s rights. The play will also feature the talented, up and coming actress Aimee Choon in the lead role. It’ll be on every night of the S+S at 8.30pm in penangpac’s Studio 2.
How has your experience in Short+Sweet been so far?
Amazing! I was able to explore and learn many things as a director, also brushed up my acting skills. At the same time, working with an actress, bringing out the best of her ability to enhance each scene, made me aware of another side of me. Working with with a team of stage managers to lighting and sound technicians has been a valuable learning experience for me .
What challenges do you face as a rapper?
I consider myself a storyteller. My chosen mediums to tell my stories are rap and spoken word poetry. Even though there are gadgets and technology to help me, with the existence of the internet the world is made smaller. This ensures my work can reach many continents with a mere click of a button. The main challenge is in the stories that I want to tell. The irony of it is in using of words and complicated rhymes that come from the mind, heart and life experiences to relate these stories.
If you know what you know now from your participation in Short+ Sweet what will you do differently?
Keep it short and simple. Simplicity makes a big difference. And remember to be humble and motivated.
How will you mark Malaysia Day on Sept 16?
I just finished writing a rap and spoken word piece called ‘A Nation's Jinx’ to reflect the recent turmoil of the people and the country, and to commemorate Malaysia Day I will be writing another piece to accompany the earlier one called ‘The Untold Prophecy Of Our Land’.
What are your favourite things about Penang?
Obviously the food, love the chendul for dessert at Upper Penang Road. Lunch at one of the mamak stalls and dinner at a Chinese hawker centre. Also enjoy the whole vibe and ambiance throughout Penang from the heritage buildings of George Town to the Miami-like beaches and hangout places at Batu Ferringhi, from the beautiful nature of Teluk Bahang to the kampung life of Balik Pulau, what more can one ask for? The art and the music scenes here nurture originality with plenty of talented people who inspire. Lastly, the people here are so friendly and helpful and that makes Penang a perfect place for me.