French Actor Alexis Moncorgé Sheds Light On The Malay Word 'Amok'
1/7 Did you know that the English word 'amok' stems from the Malay/Indonesian belief in amuk?
Dictionary.com describes the word 'amok' as ‘a psychic disturbance characterized by depression followed by a manic urge to murder’. Some still believe that to 'run amok' is caused by the hantu belian, a nefarious tiger spirit that possesses striken persons.
2/7 There is no word for 'amok' in the French language
"But it's amazing how the word ‘amok’ is ever present, even unconsciously, across the globe," opines French actor Alexis Moncorgé. "It might be because humans have buried this part of our craziness in the shadows. It is probably the reason why this text is such a success—it addresses something innate but taboo."
3/7 ‘Amok’, a theatrical adaption of an Austrian novel by explorer Stefan Zweig, is set in Malaysia in the early 20th century
The tale follows a nameless narrator, a physician, who has retreated to a commune in the rainforest to escape his tumultous past. He unexpectedly crosses paths with a young Caucasian woman, who beseeches him to carry out an abortion on her, and with whom he grows increasingly infatuated.
4/7 Famed French actor Alexis Moncorgé will play the protagonist in 'Amok' at DPAC this April
The tricenarian (born in 1986), Molière Award (likened to America’s Tony Award) winner and grandson of Jean Gabin (considered one of the greatest figures in French cinema) always knew he was born for the stage "just like a monk who feels the call of god, and who decides to dedicate all his life to prayer."
5/7 The actor, unlike the character he plays, considers himself a 'romantic' but not 'obsessive'
Even so, he symphatises and understands how someone might abandon everything for the sake of love.
6/7 Though penned in 1922, Stefan Zweig's story still applies to contemporary culture in 2018
Some themes in the tale, such as the weight of society on women, are still pressing today. "One day, the woman knocks on (the physician)'s door," tells Moncorgé. "What brings her here? Social pressure! Being caught for adultery at that time was the worst fate for a woman. Couples could not divorce so easily. A hundred years after 'Amok' was published, women throughout the world still have to fight for their rights, even in developed countries."
This year marks the 17th iteration of Le French Festival, making it the longest-running foreign arts festival in Malaysia! Spanning the duration of April 12 till May 20, 2018; the festival encompasses live theatre, film screenings, concerts, fine art exhibitions, food and wine events, and much more. The festivities have always been divided between the Klang Valley and Penang, but expanded to Kota Kinabalu last year, and will include Johor Bahru this year.
Find out more from Le French Festival's official website https://www.lefrenchfestival.com.my/.
'Amok' will be staged at Damansara Performing Arts Centre (DPAC) in conjunction with Le French Festival on May 4-5 at 8:30pm. Tickets are RM50 for the general public and RM45 for AFKL or DPAC members.