Friday, November 14, 2008

Muzikal "Batu Belah Batu Bertangkup", Panggung Bandaraya KL

For a theater enthusiast, I am ashamed to admit that I have never attended a single bangsawan theater (a popular urban theater mixing music, acting and dancing). So when a friend invited me to attend this show I was like YEAY!! Finally, I get to see what a bangsawan show is actually like.

To my suprise, I think nearly everybody else in KL was thinking the same thing. My friends and I showed up at Panggung Bandaraya to a waiting area jam-packed with people. And as soon as the doors were open people made a bee-line to find seats. We were lucky. We managed to grab the last 4 seats that were left. I had to reserve a seat for a friend who was unfortunately late due to traffic, and during all that time people were hungrily eyeing the empty seat next to me and I could practically see the thoughts that were in their heads "It's not fair! I was here first. That bee-yotch should not reserve seats for latecomers!!"

Back to the play, the show was about the infamous suicidal mother who killed herself just because her hungry kids ate the last bits of fish eggs that she secretly kept for herself. So the play continued off after the suicidal mom threw herself into the gaping rock mouth. Fortunately she managed to regain her senses when she died and vowed to eternally be their guardian and will come to their aid if ever her kids were in a pickle.

So after being abandoned by their mother, Pekan and Melur grew up under the care of Nenek Kebayan, who coincidentally was the Princessof Kerayong's nurse. While Pekan and the Princess Mayang Mengurai secretly knotted their love affair, the King of Kerayong decided to hold a cock fight competition to search for prince for the Princess. The winner of the competition will have the princess's hand in marriage. The Princess, however asks Pekan to disguise himself as a prince, enter the competition and is assured victory by using poison on the cock's talons. Then tragedy begins, when Raja Jayeng Indera Sakti, the loser in the competition, takes revenge.

When tragedy struck, Melur remembering her mom's last dying words took her brother and his bride to the rock and managed to save their lives. And true to fairy-tale style endings, everybody then lived happily ever after.

All in all, the show was amazing. Me being the "bling-bling" sort of person just couldn't take my eyes off the costumes, props and makeup. They were superb!! The stage was amazingly done. Kudos to the stage manager and crew. And as for the costumes... WOW!! It was perfect to the very last detail. The whole performance was Istana Budaya worthy. And oh yeah the acting was really good too ;P

What made the show interesting was the mini shows in between scene changes. I think I was entertained by all sort of old-skool entertainment they could think of; the cha-cha, little kids dancing the twist, zapin anak ayam etc. It was so cool. Certainly beats having to wait in the dark while waiting for the crew to move stuff around.

I must say that my first bangsawan experience was an extremely enjoyable and memorable one. Made even more so by my bunch of friends who managed to over-analyse the whole cock fight competition - He who has the biggest and strongest "cock" gets the girl (get it?) So throughout the entire cock fight scene all 4 of us couldn't stop giggling. Trust literature grads to see things that aren't really there.

So yeah, I think bangsawan is definitely for me. Panggung Bandaraya will be having another bangsawan teater next month, titled "Musang Berjanggut". I for one wont miss it for the world.

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