For 2013, AEXKL will be spreading its wings westward in an exciting international collaboration as one of this year’s two major programmes, giving Malaysian artists a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work together with award-winning Iranian puppeteer and thespian Hamed Zahmatkesh. Whimsically named The Abrisham Journey, the programme will see local performers handpicked by Zahmatkesh himself to adapt and localise The Mythical Month – a classical Persian myth telling the tale of Fereydūn and Zahhāk – to share with Malaysian children and communities nationwide.

The Abrisham Journey will begin with a six-day workshop from the 25th of August for up to 20 participants to learn and hone their skills in puppetry, masks, and acting, even culminating in a forest camping trip for a night. At the end of the workshop, director Zahmatkesh will choose four performers from the group – two men and two women – for the actual production of The Mythical Month.

The finalised cast will then begin rehearsals from the 2nd to 27th of September, working between 10 to 12 hours a day with breaks every Sunday in preparation for the play which will be performed in Bahasa Malaysia and in a mobile stage that can be easily transported between performance venues. To localise the presentation and performance, all props, sets and costumes will be produced in Malaysia.

The Malaysian cast will then get a once-in-a-lifetime experience to transcend language barriers and cultures when the story is brought back to its birthplace – Iran. For more than three weeks, the cast will be performing this classic tale in various Iranian communities and locales while perfecting it further. This will culminate in performances at the International Children Theatre in Hamadan between the 16th and 22nd of October, right before the production travels back to Malaysia on the 23rd of October.

Armed with a unique cultural perspective and experience, the cast of The Mythical Month will embark on a tour of Malaysia between the 25th of October and 2nd of November to reach rural communities in Terengganu, Pahang, Selangor, and Johor, with a main showcase in Kuala Lumpur slotted between. By bringing the production off the beaten path, The Mythical Month is expected to surprise and delight children of all ages in an entertaining yet easily understandable manner.

Interested participants can submit their applications here from now until 20 August 2013.

Director’s Profile: Hamed Zahmatkesh→

Synopsis of The Mythical 

The Mythical Month Gallery→

The Abrisham Journey Workshop →