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Monodrama in Malaysian National Dramaturgy: a Retrospective of the Emergence of the Genre

Kukushkina Evgeniya

PhD in Philology

Associate Professor, Department of Philology of the Countries of Southeast Asia, Korea, Mongolia; Institute of Asian and African Countries at M. V. Lomonosov Moscow State University

121069, Russia, g. Moscow, ul. Mokhovaya, 11, str. 1, aud. 331

Other publications by this author










Abstract: The article focuses on the well-known Malaysian dramatic texts, created in the last third of the twentieth century, the generic features of monodrama in these plays being the main research subject. The purpose of the analysis is to demonstrate monodramatic nature of the works and to establish the time of the birth of Malay monodrama, as well as the reasons why the genre for a long time was not denominated as such. The analysis involves historical-cultural, analytical and comparative methods. Historical and cultural method allows to scrutinize the genre under study in the context of the post-realistic theater of Malaysia, which was born as a reaction to the tragic events of the second half of the twentieth century in the country. Analytical method is used to identify the essential generic features of the studied texts, whereas with the help of comparative method, the artistic features of these texts are matched with the genre characteristics of monodrama. Today, the Malay monodrama is undeservedly deprived of the attention of specialists, although its role on the stage of the country is quite noticeable. This determines the novelty and relevance of the work. The performed research shows that Malay monodrama is much older than is commonly believed, and has existed for almost half a century. The study of the plays "Lazri Meon" by Abdul Samad Said and "Not Suicide" by Dinsman made it possible to identify the most important monodramatic features in them (the subject of representation, the dramatic plot and the conflict), thereby pushing the lower timeframe of existence of this genre in Malay playwriting first until the 1990s, and then - the 1970s. The appearance of a non-classical genre less than a quarter of a century after the birth of Malay drama also allows us to acknowledge the accelerated development of this type of literature in Malaysia.


Malay literature, dramaturgy of Malaysia, genre, genre features, monodrama, dramatic plot, dramatic conflict, decon, Abdul Samad Said, Dinsman

This article is automatically translated. You can find original text of the article here.

In 2017, a material titled "Monodrama a powerful and fascinating art" appeared on the website of the Malaysian Language and Literature Council (Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka). The text introduced the reader to a genre, according to the author, relatively new to Malay literature and theater according to his assessment, it appeared only in 2011. It was also reported there that the monodrama gained popularity in a short period: contests began to be held among the authors at the state and national levels [28]. The attention to the genre by the government department responsible for language policy and the development of national literature indicates that the monodrama was recognized as a truly significant phenomenon on the stage of Malaysia. At the same time, the information of the author of the material raises serious questions. We can agree that the term monodrama' began to be used, indeed, already in the XXI century. But does this mean that such plays were not created earlier than this period? A number of texts of Malay drama written in the previous century make one doubt this. This article discusses two of the earliest and most famous of them.The emergence of the Decon genre and its names

A formal sign of a monodramatic work is the presence of one hero on the stage. P. Pavi, in his famous Dictionary of Theater, defines a monodrama as a play "with a single character, or at least for a single actor (who can play several roles)" [29, p. 217].

It was such a work that was written in the early 1990s by perhaps the most famous writer of modern Malaysia - Abdul Samad Said (Abdul Samad Said; b. 1935). However, neither the author nor the critic called it a monodrama. On the contrary, the play became known as the first example of the decon genre new to Malay drama. One of his characteristic features is the presence of a single character in the plays; in some cases there are several characters, but only one of them acts as a carrier of the emotional and plot core of the work. Often all the characters can be embodied by one actor.

The creator of the genre defined it as follows: "DECON is, indeed, a new term that I created because of an urgent artistic need. In short, it is a bridge between recitation and acting" [33, ms. vii]. This definition begins a short author's preface to the play, named after the main character "Lazri Meon" (Lazri Meon) and published in 1992. It was a dramatic adaptation of Samad Said's novel "The Possessions of Zeni" (Daerah Zeni; 1985).

In the word dekon invented by the author, the first syllable was taken from the English loan de klamasi, and the second from the MalayJavanese la kon (performance; stage action) [26, ms. 870]. Thus, the Malay name can be translated as play-recitation'. However, this name does not fully reflect the genre essence of the phenomenon. The concept of "recitation" gives rise to associations, first of all, with the reading of poetry, whereas the text of "Lazri Meon" is written in prose, and there are no poetic inserts there. However, not quite the exact name did not become an obstacle to the popularity of the genre.

Expressing at the end of a short preface the hope that his contribution to literature would be useful, Abdul Samad Said could hardly imagine how significant a mark it would leave. As soon as the play went out of print, its author was unanimously recognized as the founder of a new dramatic genre for Malay literature [17]; [21, ms. 1-3]; [23, ms. ix]; [34]. The Malaysian Language and Literature Council, as well as local universities, have shown interest in the decon. Decons began to be published, shown on festival stages and theater competitions; throughout Malaysia, the genre began to be honed at theater workshops [11, Ms. ix-x]. The center of its development was the Sabah State University in East Malaysia, where the Decon Festival has been held many times since 2001 under the auspices of the Cultural Council of the Universities of Malaysia [21, ms. 3].

As for playwrights, the new genre attracted the attention of both amateurs (for example, authors of plays for school productions) and famous writers Marzuki Ali, Hatta Azad Khan, Khalid Salleh and others. Decons are placed on the central stage of the country and are printed by well-known publishers. Over several decades of its existence, the genre has evolved, and there is still no consensus among experts about its main characteristics, which have changed significantly. However, the first sample of the genre, at least outwardly the only actor and a relatively small volume corresponded to the main feature of the monodrama.

Monodramatic character of the first deconThe play "Lazri Meon" is intended for one actor, and in the premiere performances the writer himself acted in this role [14, ms. 92].

However, the monodramatic nature of the work presupposes the presence of not only these formal features. In the definition of genre quoted above, P. Pavi emphasizes that he "explores ... the innermost motivations, subjectivity and lyricism" of a person [29, p. 217]. In the understanding of the Russian monodrama theorist N. N. Evreinov, the main subject of the monodrama and "the true 'master' ... of aesthetic pleasure" in it was an experience that the hero and the viewer experienced equally [4, p. 6]. This was achieved by the fact that everything that happened on stage was presented only through the eyes of the hero (in fact, the only "acting"), that is, the monodrama was based on the principle of subjectivation of the reflection of reality [2, p. 43]. The viewer and the reader could fully concentrate on the "mimetic image in the stage space of one consciousness" [1, p. 172].

Does the work of A. Samad Said have these genre-forming characteristics?

Before answering this question, it should be noted that there were indeed prerequisites for Samad's interest in the genre of monodrama. With his well-read and considerable outlook in the field of literature, he always stood out noticeably among his fellow writers belonging to the same generation, and even younger. In the colonial era (before 1957), the vast majority of Malays were deprived of the opportunity to receive a quality education, and graduates of universities since independence were increasingly skeptical of impractical humanitarian knowledge (for the features of the social base of Malay literature, see [25]; [37]). However, Abdul Samad Said, who was born before the Second World War, was not stopped by restrictions.

Persistent self-education made him one of the most erudite writers of his country. His knowledge in the field of world literature and culture is extensive and non-trivial for Malaysia: combining creativity with journalism, for many years he led columns in periodicals devoted to outstanding writers and world literary phenomena (some of them were included in the form of voluminous sections in the collection of his articles [31, ms. 313-426]). He could even be familiar with the ideas of Evreinov, although it is impossible to say with certainty. It is much more likely that Samad Said had an idea about the monodramas of Western absurdists. At least, he was definitely familiar with the work of S. Beckett [34, ms. 16] and mentioned absurdism as a literary and theatrical direction in his articles [31, ms. 55, 327].

His play "Lazri Meon" can rightfully be called a theater of subjective experiences, which fully corresponds to the nature of the monodrama. This quality of the work is generated by the material that formed its basis: "Possession of the Zenith" is "a typically psychological novel, not a novel of action; whatever actions [in it E.K.] occur, they have to be conjectured from the reflections and memories of the characters" [27, p. 3]. The plot consists not so much of actions and events as of a series of emotions and thoughts.

This property of the novel could not but determine the appearance of its dramatic version. According to the Malaysian literary critic Solehi Ishak, it represents "a series of epiphanies, epiphanies experienced by Lazri Meon" [23, ms. x]. These epiphanies form the spiritual experience around which the play was built, and which, according to the writer, should have been transmitted to the viewer: in the preface, he spoke about his desire to reproduce in the play the "spirit and vital essence" of the novel [33, ms. vii].

The play born from the novel, on the one hand, inherited his psychologism, and on the other inevitably became a product of inter-genre transformation.

The original novel plot is as follows:

The elderly writer and journalist Lazri Meon has withdrawn into himself after the loss of his beloved wife and only remembers the past family happiness, participation in the struggle for the independence of the country and literary work. In his current position, he feels unnecessary and misunderstood. Suffering from his own alienation, he simultaneously understands that painful closeness makes his daughters suffer. In an effort to find the roots of their father's oppressed state, they study his unfinished novel, which they accidentally found. Lengthy excerpts from the novel-within-a-novel are introduced into the main text and form an independent plot layer. The internal narrative is devoted to the events of the history of British Malaya in the second half of the XIX century, and its characters have their own storylines.

The writer's daughters are no less important characters in the novel than Lazri Meon. The elder Zenya takes care of the partially paralyzed younger Zedi: the first is torn between sisterly duty and personal life, and the second does not want to accept the self-sacrifice of loved ones. An obstacle to Zenya's happiness is her distrust of men after an unsuccessful marriage, although her current friend is sensitive and decent. Finally, the situation is aggravated by the ex-husband, who pursues Zenya, trying to force her to get back together with him.

There are many mysterious details and questions in "Zenya's Domain", which are never clarified in the finale the daughters cannot find the ending of Lazri Meon's novel. The novel ends with Zedi's remark: "We cannot give up, sister!" [30, ms. 182]. It can be interpreted both as the girls' willingness to cope with the hardships of life in general, and as an intention to continue searching for their father's manuscript [27, p. 8].

All the mentioned circumstances are preserved in the play created on its basis. However, of the several central characters in it, one remains a clear step towards a monodrama with its only 'acting', "in which, as in focus, the whole drama would focus" [4, p. 6]. This actor in the play was Lazri Meon, despite the fact that in the title of the novel there is the name of another character his daughter Zeni. Such a choice seems natural, since in the image of the veteran writer there are obvious similarities with the biography and public image of Samad Said himself. It is no coincidence that the writer became the first performer of his decon.

The background events of the life of Lazri Meon's loved ones are transmitted exclusively in his presentation. The choice of the only actor' turns the rest of the novel's heroes into characters offstage. They live only in the continuous reflections of Lazri Meon and in his memories, appearing before the audience only through him. The dialogues between them are reproduced by him in the form of direct or indirect quotation. Their personal qualities and life situations are also given only in his assessment ("They both have problems now" [32, ms. 13]; "They are the same confused people as their father" [32, Ms. 35]; "Zen ... is not easy" [32, Ms. 38]; "I will not say that she is weak she weighs everything too much" [32, ms. 59]). Also, exclusively through his perception, the mental state and emotions of the 'characters-behind-the-scene' are described ("I can understand why Zeni was confused and trembled" [32, Ms. 31]; "Both my daughters have actually been suffering for a long time" [32, Ms. 35]; "Zeni was dissatisfied with him" [32, ms. 38]; "Mohdi didn't care" [32, ms. 46]). As a result of these observations and assessments, the very experience of a single character arises, which in a monodrama is expressed through the subjectivation of the surrounding space.

Depriving all the characters of the novel, except one, of the status of actors in the play reduces a number of storylines and simplifies the complex chronotope of the original prose work. From the 'novel-within-a-novel', which occupied quite a lot of space in the "Possessions of Zen", only a few small excerpts remain in the play. This also seems logical, since the novel narrative is a narrative retelling of facts and events "without emphasis on the narrator", whereas the dramatic discourse, on the contrary, "focuses on the speaker's personality and the situation in which he speaks" [7, p. 55]. Creating a novel-within-a-novel Abdul Samad Said acted as an objective narrator, making the fictional author of this text, Lazri Meon, such. The transfer of a whole layer of narrative from internal history to the play would be discordant with the principle of monodramatic subjectivation.

The action of the novel "Possession of the Zenith" unfolds mainly in conversations and monologues of the characters. These conversations form the plot, revealing the psychological problems of the characters, their attitude to each other and to life. In the play, the only character only remembers and reproduces these conversations, reflecting on the people who lead them, and about himself. These memories and comments are accompanied by "a sequence of mental and/or emotional states of the hero", which "make up the plot of the monodrama" [1, p. 173].

In "Lazri Meon" there is definitely a monodramatic conflict, which is of an essential, existential nature. The stage embodies the "crisis of consciousness of the 'single actor'", catastrophic and at the same time cathartic for both the character and the viewer/reader of the monodrama [6, pp. 167-169]. Suffering from a sense of creative failure, lamenting the pain inflicted on her daughters, Lazri Meon at some point experiences a surge of acute anxiety for Zeni, whose ex-husband openly declares that he will not give up persecution. A painful and difficult feeling, however, changes the inner state of the hero. It causes a "mental struggle" [32, ms. 66], which forces the elderly writer in the finale of the play to recall the words of the youngest daughter that it is impossible to give up. Lazri Meon allows himself to open up to life, freeing himself from self-pity and bleak doom.

In a monodrama, the situation of the hero often practically does not change externally from the end to the beginning of the action: the hero remains "in a situation of solitude, voluntary or forced loneliness, isolation, abandonment, etc." [1, p. 172]. It is to this category of plays that "Lazri Meon" belongs, since outwardly absolutely nothing happens to a writer who has condemned himself to loneliness. The conflict of the play is purely internal, and the whole movement develops exclusively in the soul and consciousness of the hero.

It follows from the above that the decon of Samad Said meets the well-known definition of the monodrama of N. N. Evreinov: this is "a kind of dramatic performance that, in an effort to most fully inform the viewer of the mental state of the actor, shows the world around him on stage as he is perceived by the actor at any moment of his stage existence" [4, p. 8]. Thus, the first play in Malay drama, called decon, was actually a monodrama. The time limit of the emergence of this genre, therefore, is being pushed back from the beginning of the 2010s to the beginning of the 1990s.

A separate question is why Abdul Samad Said, with his literary outlook, refused to use the generally accepted term monodrama'. Of course, the reluctance to use borrowing from Western languages, as well as the desire for fame as a pioneer, could play a role. It seems, however, that the choice of genre designation could primarily be affected by the practical purpose with which the play "Lazri Meon" was written.

In addition to the desire to convey the "spirit and vital essence" of his novel "Possession of the Zenith", Samad Said was concerned to more clearly outline its plot outline and problems to help not the most sophisticated mass reader. Such a reader was provided to him by the Ministry of Education of Malaysia, which included this "very vague" work in the secondary school curriculum, "definitely not designed for easy and comfortable perception" [27, p. 2].

The writer began to receive requests to explain the novel in accessible to schoolchildren (and teachers!) formulations. Realizing that a detailed literary analysis of the work would also not be clear to everyone, Samad Said decided that the stage version of the text and its embodiment on stage would have much more clarity [33, ms. vii]. As a result, the play "Lazri Meon" was born. Perhaps the author wished to propose a new name for the genre in which it was written, taking into account the educational purpose of creating the play. As noted by the audience of Samad Said's performances, his performances turned "into a lecture with live acting", thanks to which students "became closer to the plot they were studying" [14, ms. 92]. The decon he wrote, thus, turned out to be a monodrama created for educational purposes.

A. Samad Said himself has never expressed himself definitely on this topic. However, subsequent generations of authors, who took "Lazri Meon" as a model, began to highlight the educational aspect of the work. Moreover, decon is now characterized precisely as "a literary genre that can be a mechanism of learning and training" [21, ms. 6]. And if this did not prevent the play of Samad Said from remaining a monodrama with all its essential features, in the future the appearance of the decon began to change clearly. Already in the early 2000s, the genre "was given different interpretations, and there were various variants in the style of productions" [21, Ms. 7].

The genre that originated as a monodrama has changed significantly. It is natural to assume that the educational message that accompanied the birth of the play "Lazri Meon" by A. Samad Said was subsequently so developed that it affected the artistic appearance of the works of the decon genre. Now, indeed, it cannot be reduced to a monodrama, it has turned into a genre form used to perform educational tasks. However, this does not negate the fact that the first decon had the striking characteristics of a monodrama.

"Not Suicide" by Dinsman: Neo-absurdist monodrama

The conclusion made above significantly corrects the ideas about the history of Malay monodrama, and consequently Malay drama in general. As we have seen, the genre affiliation of one of the most famous dramatic texts of the late twentieth century remained unclear for a long time. However, the study of an even earlier period of the development of the dramatic kind in the literature of Malaysia suggests that at least one more monodrama also existed incognito. At the same time, it was written almost two decades earlier than "Lazri Meon" by Abdul Samad Said, which was talked about in literary circles in Malaysia and is still being talked about as innovative and the first of its kind.

The primacy of the famous author in the use of the term decon, indeed, cannot be disputed. However, his work was not the first Malay dramatic work with significant signs of monodrama. In research works, justice began to be restored quite recently, when their authors began to at least mention the monodramatic nature of the play "Not Suicide" (Bukan Bunuh Diri), written back in1974. Its author was the then young writer Dinsman (Dinsman is the pseudonym of Che Shamsudin Osman; b. 1949).

Her appearance made a great impression on critics, literary critics and the public with its novelty. However, the novelty was seen, first of all, in the absurdist sound of the play, but not in the similarity to the monodrama. The work has never been analyzed from the point of view of the presence of features of the monodramatic genre in it. Later, the fact that the play belongs to this genre began to be gradually recognized (for example, [20, ms. 2]; [22, Ms. 8]; [23, Ms. x-xi]). Nevertheless, "Not suicide" is still defined as a monodrama only on a formal basis a single actor. Based on this, it is sometimes called a monologue play (a term often used as a synonym for monodrama [19, p. 160-161]). But at the time of the play's appearance, the audience and critics paid much less attention to the monologue than to its absurdist, as it was believed, character.

In the early 1970s, an active and conscious departure from realism, which had dominated it for several previous decades, had already begun in the national literature of Malaysia. The so-called theater of its time (teater kontemporari) became mainstream, to which it was also customary to apply the definition of experimental. This general concept denoted a very heterogeneous phenomenon, or rather, a set of post-realistic phenomena [9, ms. 51-69]; [10, ms. 629-674]; [24, ms. 67-77]. Among these phenomena was the Malay teater absurd, in which Dinsman was a prominent figure.

In fact, the poetics of works that were immediately attributed by critics to the theater of the absurd can be considered neo-absurdist with great reason. Unlike European and American absurdism, it is built on an unshakable religious foundation. However, this foundation is not immediately detected. Almost throughout the action of their plays, the authors make the viewer and the reader acutely feel the suffering of a person who no longer sees the logic of being, convinced of the doom of any attempt to contact his neighbor and the Almighty. And only in the finale, effectively using the paradox technique, the playwrights do not deny the hero the opportunity to find the way to God, or at least hope for it [5]. This is the obvious peculiarity of the neo-absurdist layer of Malay drama. Nevertheless, the impetus for its emergence was given by the Western theater of the absurd, and its influence on the aesthetics of these plays is beyond doubt [9, ms. 7]; [12]; [13]. The fascination with samples of the work of European and American absurdists could fuel interest specifically in monodrama as one of the genres they were developing.

Dinsman's "Not Suicide" became one of the earliest conventionally absurdist plays in Malaysian literature. This is a one-act play with a single character on stage; the voices of two more only sound from behind the scenes. The young man Adam is ready to commit suicide because of disappointment in rational thinking and book wisdom, unable to reveal God to him in earthly life, so finding Him in death seems to the young man the only way out. The scenery boils down to a huge pile of books with a noose hanging over them. The change of feelings and thoughts make the hero then climb to the top of the pile, then descend to its foot then approach death, then indecisively retreat.

Invisible interlocutors are trying to dissuade him, including his father, a former lover and a certain "goddess" a female ideal in Adam's imagination. The hero rejects all the arguments of his interlocutors, but in the finale he remains sitting at the foot of a pile of books with a noose hanging over them. He does not directly abandon his intention, but he does not fulfill it either. In a certain sense, he remains the same as Lazri Meon and his daughters in the play by A. Samad Said not to give up to despair.

The Malaysian viewer of the early 1970s could not help but share Dinsman's experience, no matter how shocked he was by the topic of suicide - a terrible sin in the eyes of a devout Muslim (Malays profess Islam, which is the state religion). From this point of view, the play was expected to be criticized, since it was associated with atheism and "denial of the cultural values of the Malays" [13, p. 136]. But the anguish of a man who had lost the inviolability of faith in the presence of God in the world was very familiar to the witnesses of the shock experienced by Malaysia a few years before the creation of the play. In May 1969, bloody clashes took place in the capital of the country between the communities of Malays and Chinese, which deprived the citizens of the country of a sense of security and inviolability of the familiar world for a long time. Society experienced a severe shock and plunged into an atmosphere of fear and despondency (for the consequences of the shock for the literary environment, see [36]). Just as Western absurdism was brought to life by the tragedy of the Second World War, in Malaysia, interest in this artistic direction was generated by the trauma of 1969.

In addition to feeling the meaninglessness of being, the inconsistency of a logically constructed picture of the world and simple everyday common sense, the theater of the absurd showed disappointment "in the possibilities of even purely linguistic understanding, the conviction ... that a person in modern civilization is doomed to complete loneliness" [8, p. 95]. The absence of communication also means the absence of dialogue the basis of a dramatic text. Thus, the genre of a monodrama, especially a monologue play, is organic for the theater of the absurd. "Starting with the theater of the absurd ... it is safe to talk about one form of dialogue a dialogue between the viewer and the stage, between the text and the viewer. In this sense ... even those plays of the theater of the absurd that are written for several characters become monodramas in the sense that only one voice sounds in them the voice of the text itself" [3, p. 103]. This voice in the monodrama is put into the mouth of the acting'.

We saw above that this is exactly what happens in Samad Said's play "Lazri Meon". Dinsman went the same way even earlier, with the only difference that he gave the voices of several characters absent from the stage. These are the invisible opponents of the main character, who seek to prevent his passing away. The voices of some of them (for example, the hero's father) are not heard at all, others sound from behind the stage, and their appearance is indicated by a light effect. However, young Adam is as closed from them as old Lazri Meon is from his loved ones, making a choice in favor of voluntary loneliness, characteristic of the heroes of the monodrama.

Lazri Meon hides in his isolation from his daughters, only repeating to them: "I just want to be alone with myself You are not to blame for anything" [32, ms. 27]. Young Adam also does not accept admonitions or words of love ("You are no longer needed," he says to his former lover [18, ms. 158] and does not believe the confession she once uttered: "... the words that you whispered to me that night were lies" [18, ms. 160]). The hero (and with him the viewer) of Dinsman's play does not even understand whether his interlocutors really exist, or whether they are a figment of his imagination: "Is that you, goddess? Goddess!!! Or am I dreaming? Or is there a mystery in front of me!? Or do I see a heavenly virgin?!" [18, ms. 170]. It is appropriate to recall that N. N. Evreinov considered works representing a dream or a lasting hallucination to be the closest to the monodrama [4, p. 13]. In this context, the function of additional monodrama characters is especially obvious they turn out to be "projections of the hero's consciousness, certain symbols of people ..., or voices (heroes) that exist outside the hero's life" [1, p. 172].

So, the only audible voice is Adam's voice, and he conveys to the viewer his acute experience of loneliness and despair: "I've been waiting for you for years. But you've never, ever shown me your face even a little bit. You've never given me your voice even a little bit. And every day I am forced to listen to my own voice" [18, Ms. 152]. The hero of Dinsman speaks about the feeling of existential isolation that gripped many in the youth creative environment of Malaysia after the events of 1969 [16, p. 144]. Well-known to the writer's contemporaries, it inevitably infected the audience.

Just like Lazri Meon in Samad Said, Adam in Dinsman solves a purely internal problem. At the center of both plays is an equally essential conflict, typical of a monodrama. It is associated with the loss of human relationships and "develops between 'I-for-myself' and 'I-for-others' in the setting of certain interpersonal relationships family, love, friendship, etc." [1, p. 173]. Of course, the highest thing for a religious person is contact with the Creator the conflict in the play "Not Suicide" is brought into this sphere. Despite his intention, Dinsman's hero does not deny faith: "It's not that I don't believe, Father. It's not that I don't want to believe I don't blame the believers, Father. On the contrary, I respect them. And if it were possible, I would like to become like them" [18, ms. 154].

The plays are similar from the point of view of the interiorization of the plot, which consists of a change of mental states and the flow of reflections of the only actor'. Adam goes over the arguments in favor of his decision, then strengthening in it, then hesitating. And just like Lazri Meon, he meets the finale of the play as if in the same state as at the beginning. Nevertheless, everything he experienced during the action, which consisted of this experience, apparently became a "catastrophe of consciousness" characteristic of the monodrama, which "is always internally cathartic" [6, p. 170].

As noted in one of the articles, despite the fact that "Adam's position at the end of the play does not look much better than at the beginning, there is an underlying difference between Adam, who is full of questions at first, and Adam sitting silently at the end" [16, p. 149]. The hero for a long time erected a system of arguments in favor of a fatal denouement, but his construction, apparently, could not withstand the shock of feelings and words of love. In this sense, indeed, we can talk about the catastrophe of consciousness, long fixated on despondency and loneliness.

The listed artistic features of the play "Not Suicide" definitely make it related in genre terms to "Lazri Meon" by Abdul Samad Said. Obviously, Dinsman's work is also a monodrama. Thus, the boundary of the presence of this non-classical genre in the drama of Malaysia is being pushed back from the early 1990s to the first half of the 1970s. Thus, monodrama has been living on the stage and in the literature of the country for half a century.

ConclusionA number of important conclusions follow from what has been said; at the same time, a number of issues arise that require additional research.

First of all, the first Malay monodramas have not only a formal sign of the only actor, but also have monodramatic features of the plot and conflict. This is all the more significant because the history of Malay monodrama as an artistic phenomenon has not yet been considered (the only exception is Ismaliza Ishak's dissertation is devoted only to acting [22]).

Monodrama appeared in Malay drama already in the first half of the 1970s - much earlier than was commonly believed. The appearance of a non-classical genre on the local soil after only a quarter of a century since the birth of the national drama (in the early 1950s) allows us to judge the intensively accelerated development of the latter.

It is also obvious that in the first decades of its existence in the literature of Malaysia, the monodrama was called differently. Thus, Abdul Samad Said preferred to introduce the genre designation decon for his play "Lazri Meon", although its characteristics were monodramatic. This designation has taken root in Malaysian literary studies and theatrical practice. Also, for a long time, Dinsman's play "Not Suicide" was not characterized as a monodrama. The main attention of researchers was focused on the challenge that the author threw to the realistic theater, while the artistic characteristics of the work were not studied in detail, and the question of the genre of the play was not considered at all. Nevertheless, today it is Dinsman who should be recognized as the author of the first monodrama in the national drama of Malaysia.

The lack of clarity in definitions and genre names makes the study of the history of the Malay monodrama quite difficult, but interesting and urgent task. The genre continues to exist and develop, a number of famous writers work in it. The next stage of the research should be the analysis of the features of the Malay monodrama of the XXI century, its place among other dramatic genres and interaction with them, as well as with other forms of contemporary art. A separate topic for research should also be the evolution of the Malay decon, which began with a monodrama and in recent decades has expanded the range of its genre features under the influence of the educational function that was assigned to it.

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The article presented for consideration "Monodrama in the national drama of Malaysia: a retrospective of the emergence of the genre", proposed for publication in the journal "Litera", is undoubtedly relevant, due to the small number of scientific works in domestic philology devoted to the study of Malaysian literature. In addition, the lack of clarity in definitions and genre names makes studying the history of Malay monodrama quite difficult, but interesting and urgent task. These problematic issues are what the author tries to solve in the course of his work, based on the work of his predecessors. As the author notes, a number of texts of Malay drama written in the previous century make it doubtful that the type of drama in question originated in the 21st century. This article examines two of the earliest and most well-known of them, but we do not specify the sample size. The author provides both theoretical data from other researchers and his own classification of the identified features. It should be noted that the postulated by the author is illustrated with examples with explanations. However, the volume of the language corpus under study, the principles of sampling and the analysis of the results raise questions. Getting acquainted with the text of the article, I note that in some places a citation is presented, in others it is unclear whether the author presents his own conclusions or borrowings? The article does not present a clear research methodology. This work was done professionally, in compliance with the basic canons of scientific research. The study was carried out in line with modern scientific approaches, the work consists of an introduction containing a statement of the problem, mention of the main researchers of this topic, the main part, traditionally beginning with a review of theoretical sources and scientific directions, research and final, which presents the conclusions obtained by the author. The disadvantages include the lack of clearly defined tasks in the introductory part, the ambiguity of the methodology and the course of the study. The bibliography of the article contains 37 sources, including both works in Russian and in a foreign language. Unfortunately, the article does not contain references to fundamental works such as monographs, PhD and doctoral dissertations. The practical significance of the research lies in the possibility of using its results in the process of teaching university courses in foreign philology. In general, it should be noted that the article is written in a simple, understandable language for the reader. Typos, spelling and syntactic errors, inaccuracies in the text of the work were not found. The comments made are not significant and do not affect the content. The work is innovative, representing the author's vision of solving the issue under consideration and may have a logical continuation in further research. The article will undoubtedly be useful to a wide range of people, philologists, undergraduates and graduate students of specialized universities. The article "Monodrama in the national drama of Malaysia: a retrospective of the emergence of the genre" can be recommended for publication in a scientific journal.
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