Tanda, a play by Rumah Anak Teater (RAT), has irked the authorities with its orgy scene.
A brilliant social commentary by RAT and directed by Nam Ron, Tanda was initially staged at the Akademi Seni Kebangsaan (ASWARA) in Kuala Lumpur for three days from Feb 9 before it was unexpectedly banned.
A group of 30 theatre activists staged a protest outside ASWARA on Friday afternoon, demanding the government-owned Malaysian school of art to offer them a written explanation on the sudden ban, and to respect their freedom of expression.
"ASWARA did not tell me about the ban," director Nam Rom said. "I learned about it from my cast and crew. They told me that we got banned because we had one scene in the play that shows people having an orgy. But it's done subtly. Everybody did it with their clothes fully on."
Explaining that it's just a symbolic gesture that depicts wild human sex behaviour, which is relevant to the story, Nam Rom adds, "That scene is based on the Hadith (Prophet Muhammad's saying) and the Quran, stating that a sign from God about the end of the world is when human beings start having sex like animals."
"With due respect to ASWARA and the public's sensitivity, we're willling to change that part if they find it not OK. But they (ASWARA) have never said anything to me before this. And I have yet to receive any negative feedback from the audience."
Among the local theatre and TV personalities involved in the controversial play are Beto Kusairy, Dira Abu Zahar, Noris Ali, Nadiatul Nisa and Zahiril Azim, who won the Best New Actor award at the Malaysian Film Festival last year.
The Rektor of ASWARA, Prof Madya Dato' Dr Mohamed Najib Ahmad Dawa, could not be contacted for comments.