MIHO Yeap doesn’t just act for the sake of acting. The 16-year-old student wants her audience to come out of a play feeling like they were a part of it.
The Kuala Lumpur native sees acting as more than just rehearsing lines, getting into character and throwing facial expressions and body language into the mix – she wants the audience to feel something.
In the play she’s in at the moment – Corporal PUNishment – she’s hoping that the feeling will be the sort that tickles the funny bone.
Written by Short + Sweet Malaysia Theatre 2011 award winners Uihua and Freddy Tan, the show is a devised play made up of wordplay and puns. The play aspires to explore the complexity of puns and hopes to get the audience chuckling, or at the very least, have them slapping their foreheads at the silliness and wit of it all.
“We were given a skeleton of a story, and we’ve put on the flesh. We’ve all had an active role in contributing to the story,” explains Miho, an active member of the drama club in Alice Smith School, Selangor. “It’s very funny and interesting because it’s very original and the quality of the writing is top notch.”
Miho is part of the ensemble cast that includes Matthew Ong, Erin Marie, Prisca Wong, Jen Yee, Joe Pagnelli, and Lorna Hoong, while principal roles are played by Jeremy Ooi of After Juliet fame and well-known comedian Phoon Chi Ho.
“The thing I love most about acting is being able to affect an audience. For me that’s the whole point, when I act I want to make the audience feel like they’re part of the story and experience all the emotions the characters feel,” explains Miho.
“That in itself is super challenging but it’s so rewarding when you feel a crowd of people responding, not just sitting there being passive.”
While Corporal PUNishment has given Miho a chance to bring out her comedic side, it’s a whole different ballgame from work she’s done previously.
Miho recently took her talent out of the school yard and into the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre with her role as a renegade post apocalyptic cowboy called the Wanderer in A Darker Shade Of Red.
“Recently, I was in my school’s production of The Trial by Franz Kafka and A Darker Shade Of Red. Both were pretty dark but The Trial was much more over the top and A Darker Shade Of Red was quite subtle,” shares Miho.
“The roles I played in both productions couldn’t be more different! For my role in The Trial I drew inspiration from a lot of Tim Burton films and in A Darker Shade Of Red I channelled a lot of True Grit and Tomb Raider,” says Miho, who has previously acted in her school’s productions of The Wizard Of Oz, Arabian Nights and Fame.
For now, Miho will continue to try her hand at different roles before she goes off to university, but Corporal PUNishment isn’t the last we’ll see of her on stage.
“I definitely want to be a part of a musical at some point, do a lot more plays and maybe shoot a few short films,” says Miho. — By Nasa Maria Entaban
q Corporal PUNishment is being staged at the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre until April 15, before heading to the Performing Arts Centre Of Penang (Penangpac), where it will run from May 2-6. For more information, head to www.klpac.org.