Last week from 31st October – 2 November 2007, saw the play “O’Glamour” by Teater Artistik, being staged at The Playden at The Arts House @ Old Parliament Building. The play was adapted from various stories found in Hafeez Glamour‘s book “Diari DJ“. In line with the contents found in the book, Teater Artistik brought to life and revealed what goes on behind the scenes of the entertainment world as well as personal accounts of different characters like a lesbian, an AIDS carrier, a maid impregnated and a con businessman amongst others.
To tell you the truth, I’m not much of a theatre person. The last play I watched was way back in 1998 whereby renowned theatre activist Sani Hussin and his sister Rosita captured my imagination with their sound acting through the highly acclaimed “Pentas Opera“. Back then, it opened my interest to the world of acting but somehow the flesh was too weak to follow it up, so it waned as time went by. I gotta admit, the reasons why I intended to catch the show was to support my favourite local DJ, to see how the characters in his book come to life and to see how they portrayed the “Sang Pendita” character found in the book. For those who dunno, this “Sang Pendita” character is actually based on yours truly and how I am as a fierce critic on national radio. Names have been changed to avoid direct references.
Both me and Aida were quite surprised to see the turnout on the opening night (Wednesday 31st October), which was a paltry 26 people. The Playden by the way, can seat 120 people at anytime. Why we decided to go then and not the final night, was to avoid unnecessary attention from other viewers and also because we felt that we wanted to do some last minute Hari Raya visiting on Friday night. I was quite pleased to see a few familiar faces at the entrance of the auditorium. At least I had company to while the time away before entering the auditorium.
Warna 94.2 FM‘s Riz Sunawan and RIA 89.7FM‘s Nity Baizura lent a touch of glamour to the audience in attendance…
I’m not going to relate vis-a-vis on what happened during the show as I feel that it would be a huge discredit to the hard work done by all the actors. I must say, for someone who is not in tune with the theatre scene, I was very much impressed by the production, simple yet elegant in its own right. The scriptwriter, Hazriemanja, was able to tap into the characters found in the book and bring them to life through the eyes of Hafeez Glamour as well as the perceptions of the radio listeners.
I have to admit my character in the play was a bit exaggerated, as I’ve never felt I was way bigger than other listeners. Neither do I have a great voice or think I looked like Taufik Batisah as portrayed by Tengku Mustaqim, one of the actors in the production. But putting my shoes as a neutral listener, it is easy to hate my character if you do not know me in person and only rely on what you hear on air. Overall, I was fine with the portrayal though I wished I could have been portrayed on a more positive light as depicted in the book, whereby Hafeez said my approach is such that I want to see improvements in the way our society thinks. So as you can see, this portrayal was more of a listener’s perception than my actual character.
But I’ve got to hand it to Haryani Othman for being THE star of the show. Not only did she nailed the character of most listeners’ “hated” persona on air, she went on to up the ante by portraying Sharifah Anu, a parody of Sharifah Aini during the talkshow segment. Speaking of the talkshow, I believe those who watched the play would agree that that was the best segment throughout as it was filled with veiled digs, spontaneity and the actors’ excellent impersonation of Sharifah Aini, Siti Nurhaliza and Anita Sarawak right down to the way they talk, the way they pout and the little gestures that have become their trademarks in the industry. Though I felt Siti Nurhaliza was a bit subdued and too dainty than the real McCoy.
As for segments that tugged the heartstrings, there were plenty. The ones that caught my attention include Jean the AIDS-carrying ex-stewardess, and Fahmi the vagrant who ran away from home. I was very impressed with Roselaily Ramli‘s portrayal of Jean, in which she laughed and cried effortlessly, thinking of her predicament. I was actually surprised the show was not rated M18, since there was a little part whereby Jean moaned in ecstacy to depict the history behind her ailment. But all in all I felt she was the second best actor of the night as she also portrayed an Indonesian maid named Risca and Siti Nurhaliza during the talkshow segment.
Speaking of Indonesian maid, one of the plays depicted the story of an Indonesian maid who befriended a Bangladesh worker and was impregnated and subsequently dumped. I was totally blown away by Roselaily‘s character “Risca” and Arbaayah Harif‘s character “Anggi“. The two actresses spoke in fluent Bahasa Indonesia, complete with facial expressions. If there was an award I could give for Most Animated Actor / Actress for the night, I would have handed it to Arbaayah. She’s simply out of this world when it comes to facial expressions. She repeated the feat later on in the night by portraying a diva who thought highly of herself.
Overall, I would give this show an 8-star rating. Not only was it easy to digest but the actors were also able to capture the mood and tug the audience’s heartstrings when it mattered. A pity a production of this calibre only received a paltry number of audience on the day I went to watch, even though it picked up in its following two shows. If there was a chance to re-stage it again, perhaps on a bigger scale, with better promotion and at a bigger venue like the Esplanade, I’m sure people would be interested to watch life stories from the eyes of a renowned writer and deejay like Hafeez Glamour. That would be the greatest justice to a well-produced production by Teater Artistik.
Kudos to all the actors and the people working behind the scenes!!!