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27 Oct 2011

"Pusat pengajian tinggi yang menawarkan kursus teater semakin banyak. Tapi ke mana mereka akhirnya"

“Usah tanya apa yang jadi pada mereka selepas habis belajar tetapi tanya adakah mereka mencari peluang sendiri untuk terus menabur bakti dalam industri teater tempatan? Atau ramai yang hanya menunggu peluang sahaja.

“Masalah-masalah ini yang sering berlaku di awal permulaan mereka. Orang teater kena cinta pada bidang ini. Masyarakat kena tonton apa yang dihidangkan. Kalau ini berlaku tidak mustahil dapat menaikkan semula industri ini."

(Fasyali Fadzly, Utusan Malaysia Online 18 September 2011)

  Among all of the shows or plays I've watched within these 3 months or so, I would like to highlight TWO, namely Teater Juta-juta and The Secret Life of Nora (Musical Extravaganza). The first one, was written and directed by my senior coursemate and friend, Fasyali Fadzly. Teater Juta-juta (TJJ) is his latest work. Known for applying "minimal" usage of set and props, Fasyali chose three brilliant young actors for this play; Aloy Paradoks, Fazleena Hishamuddin and Anas Ridzuan. I, myself, have been a fan of Fazleena and Aloy's style of acting and I must give standing ovation to the new kid on the block, Anas. 3 actors playing 12 different characters, now, tell me, is that easy? The lines were just brilliant, sharp and I bet many people who came to watch "rasa terpukul". Saya pun rasa tersindir sebagai seorang aktivis teater yang masih lagi bertatih. The set and props, although very minimal,  they were multi-purpose. The actors were smart enough to make use of the limited props on the stage.

  The main issue in this play is that the current theatre scene in Malaysia is actually below the par, despite the fact the National Theatre (Istana Budaya) seems to be the buzzing hub for stage musicals. The local audience kind of being "shoved-up" with pathetic musicals every now and then. Celebrities are lured to the stage to perform these musicals, leaving no visible space for pure theatre practitioners, almost that is. Graduates from various universities and colleges, conservatories (wait, we only have one, right? ASWARA?) that offer performing arts courses, are left with less choices; what to do with their scrolls upon finishing their studies? Many tend to end up working with the government, especially for the Ministry of Information, Communication and Culture (pardon me, I am not sure of the new name for this ministry). Some end up as school teachers, or working for production houses (films). Only a few are lucky enough to be in limelight and gain stardom. Yes, the ones with the looks. Nevertheless the TV world in Malaysia so far is dominated by "beautiful people". Beauty queens, metrosexual models et cetera et cetera. OKAY! Saya terpesong  sedikit. Maafkan saya. The point  is, it seems useless to produce arts majors if the industry operates like a "ghost town", visible but empty.

  Fasyali, I believe, has been spending a lot of time witnessing all these for as long as he's involved in this arena. He personally told the audience that this play is a product of what he felt all this while. What really amazed me was that he cynically replaced the name "Istana Budaya" (National Theatre) with KERATON SENI (in Javanese dialect, it means The Palace of Arts).

Now, back to the much talked musical extravaganza in town, The Secret Life of Nora, I have to say from  the first day of its staging at Istana Budaya, the play managed to attract more crowds than the fish market. Ooopss! Forgive me for my harsh words, my lady. The musical produced by your company failed to amend our theatre scene in this small nation. Why? Let me check my notes. First  of all, do you think by hiring a British director would simply help to boost the country's economy? Cut your budget? Well, we all know that your beloved significant other is capable to fund the whole  thing there. A Westend director. And a Broadway actor, the Canadian-born Ryan Silverman who recently got small parts in teen flick Gossip Girl and the blockbuster Sex and the City sequel. Marketing  strategy and publicity stint eh? Broadway and Westend, the two GIGANTIC names that are able to leave the local stage musical enthusiasts in awe.

However I shall spare some good words for you here, my lady. I was quite impressed with the set. Suggestive, I must  say. Colourful, eye-catching! Compliment goes to the technicality. Yes, a spectacle indeed. two hours were vainly wasted! Why? Even a kindergarten child can tell; there was no storyline, my lady! It was like watching Hiburan Minggu Ini. Nampak sangat tuan pengarah terlalu berusaha untuk meng"highlight" kan anda dengan secara keterlaluan. Nasib baik artis atau selebriti komersil seperti Adibah Noor (I ADORE HER, am not a stalker by the way!), Tony Eusoff and Aznil Hj. Nawawi memainkan peranan mereka di atas pentas dengan agak bijak. These trio, in my point of view, are the "saviours" on the stage. When I looked back at the Twitter wallposts, Adibah had more compliments than Tiara. Ryan Silverman sang as if he was acting for an OPERA, not a modern stage musical!

Apapun, bak kata sahabat saya Adlan Ramly, the staging of TSLON (malas nak type tajuk penuh, yes, that's the acronym for the musical for Hell's Kitchen sake!) is THE SADDEST DAY, in the life of Malaysian theatre scene. I quote Adlan (not exact words, tapi lebih kurang):

"Nampak ketara yang dalam TSLON ni, SEX DOES SELL!"

Saya agak yang dia terasa "insulted" dan "disturbed" masa babak watak Nora mula jadi perisik, ada pulak penari-penari (ensemble) menari gaya pole dancing kat platform. I, on the other hand, was like "OK, how can I relate Nora being a spy and a group of female dancers doing raunchy movements in the backgound? Apa simboliknya?" Adakah satu pengembaraan seorang perisik itu akan menaikkan rasa ghairah yang semacam di kalangan  audiens atau bagaimana?" Please do enlighten me on that part.

Jika dilihat balik cara pemasaran publisiti kedua-dua pementasan ini, TSLON menang sebab promosinya bagai nak rak termasuk video klip melalui televisyen dan juga laman Youtube. Penaja TSLON juga selain daripada penaja persendiriannya, juga gah (ASTRO, MIG, Tayangan Unggul dan sebagainya)! Jutaan DOLLAR ya modal projek ini. TJJ memang nampak low budget, tempat pementasan juga tidak se-GAH Keraton Seni kita. Hanya Stor Teater DBP yang kecil itu.

Tetapi, jika saya persoalkan balik IMPAK yang saya dapat daripada kedua karya ini, memang TJJ yang menang. I am not being BIASED, just because TJJ tu terdiri daripada kawan-kawan saya sendiri. Bagi saya ENFINITI milik Datin Seri Tiara Jacquelina itu, produk yang paling memberi kesan dalam sejarah teater muzikal tanahair adalah Muzikal Puteri Gunung Ledang. Itu saya  tak nafikan.

(Urut dada dan tutup mulut sejenak)

I'm lost. Unsure of the future of this field that I've been fighting for. If our KERATON SENI keeps on giving ways to mainly musicals in days to come, I bet Malaysians will continue to think that musical theatre is actually THEATRE! I bet that is how they will define THEATRE to the next generation.

P/S: Saya teringat balik filem Puteri Gunung Ledang dahulu, yang juga dibintangi oleh Datin Seri sendiri. Filem yang menjadi lawan pada masa itu kalau saya tidak silap, adalah filem Sepet arahan Allahyarhamah Yasmin Ahmad (God bless her soul, I miss your magical works, dear Storyteller). Rasanya filem Sepet mendapat ulasan yang jauh lebih baik daripada filem PGL yang menelan belanja jutaan ringgit. Terpulanglah pada anda untuk menilai, I have my own stance as well.




  1. terima kasih... btw, tulisan ni nampak matang. full of idea. seronok membaca. (even tanpa review TJJ sekalipun). teruskan menulis. we need documentation! VERY BAD!!!

  2. di mana mereka semua??? mungkin..kena usaha byk sedikit utk membariskan diri dlm tawaran berteater/berlakon....mana2 kerjaya pn sama jg sebegitu

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