Getting to Know: The Nonsensemakers from “Travel With Mum”


“The Nonsensemakers” are a highly acclaimed Hong Kong theatre group and we are pleased that they are part of KLIAF this year. Rensen Chan & Jo Ngai managed to squeeze some time off from their busy schedule for a short interview specially for the festival blog


How do you feel about returning to KL? What is the difference between the Malaysian audience and those in the other countries?

We are very pleased and honour to be invited again and this shows that the performance received good response from audiences. We found that audiences in Malaysia are warmer and more direct than those in HK. They will not hide their feeling and response very directly with laughter and tear, and also applause. They even hug performers after performance to show their gratitude and appreciation.

Why did you choose to bring the story of “Travel with Mum” to the stage and why do you perform “Travel with Mum” with masks?  

It is based on a true story which happened in China and we do believe that the love between mother and son is very touching to everyone. We would like to convey how great being a mother is and nothing is impossible if you have will to do something.

Jo and Rensen are not old enough to persuade audiences that they are 99 and 74 respectively. Even make up will not help. We think mask is a very effective media to help actors to build up the character. Mask is also a very different art form on stage. One point needs to note, actors need to use his whole body to convey their emotion instead of just facial expression. Even audiences sitting at the back row should receive that energy and power, that what’s theatre works. By facing different angle of the mask to audiences, they should feel the different emotion of the character too.

Moreover, we have more than 20 characters in the show and we use only 4 chorus to perform all these characters. Actors can change role quickly within a second by putting on different masks.

The Nonsensemakers just celebrated your 25th anniversary in 2015. What are your favourite performances so far? Does being partners in life as well on the stage affect your acting?

Travel with Mum is definitely one of our favourite production. University of Laughter and The Note Book are also on our list.

Being partners in life actually helps. We fully understand each other what we are doing. When we perform on stage, we know we are professional actor and forget our role in real life.

What do you hope to convey to the audience with “Travel with Mum”

Love and treasure what you have.

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