The line-up of the ever so hardworking people. Who ever has had a taste getting involved in any kind of play or production understands that you have to be hardworking, down to earth and disciplined in order to produce a play.
The title, before we got to see the map of South East Asia, Malaysia, Kedah and Langkawi Island.
What I think of the play.
1. It was short and sweet.
There's no way anybody can lengthen the story without adding more fiction to it. Let's face the fact, our ancestors didn't really put a lot of time and effort to document so many things: history, influential people, tragedies, war, climate changes, economic situation during their time etc. We have to be thankful with the few sources we have. Some say Mahsuri is a legend and many still can't forget the movie of the same title made half a century ago. So, kudos to Fauziah Nawi for sticking to the storyline acceptable/understandable by the majority of Malaysians.
2. The main characters didn't shine
Don't blame me for sitting at the back, but seriously there was no chemistry between Mahsuri and Wan Darus. Emotions should reach everyone, regardless of where they're seated. Perhaps this was also caused by having so many strong supporting actors. The audience sometimes forgot about the 2 main characters.
3. Pronunciation.... pronunciation
Again, don't blame me for sitting at the back but a few actors need to improve their pronunciation - especially Wan Mahura. A strong voice won't guarantee a good delivery. Although her portrayal of a jealous woman was good and the audience started to hate her the moment she entered the stage, many of her words didn't reach me. I kept on wondering.... 'What is this woman complaining about?'
However, I found Mahsuri's mom, Vee, Azizah Mahzan and Farah Ahmad delivered the best - loud and clear.
4. The white blood remained as a symbol, not necessarily flowing out of Mahsuri's body.
The last scene didn't meet many viewers' expectation as there was no white blood flowing out of Mahsuri. I have always thought of it just as a symbol. The Legend of Mahsuri might have became a famous Malay folklore long ago and many of the story tellers have added details to make the story more interesting.
But then again, even if it's not just a symbol, the execution method will not produce a lot of blood because the keris went straight to the heart and Mahsuri died instantaneously. If you've watched a fight scene in the movie Troy, you'd understand. In the scene Brad Pitt was fighting another warrior who was a lot bigger and taller than he. With just one thrust of his sword the big warrior was dead. No blood splattering - nothing like what was portrayed in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.
5. Interesting silat and dance scenes.
My kids loved these. For them there were a lot of actions. Nothing resembles the boring Drama Swasta they watched on Malaysian TV. Wazif's favorite scenes werethe Bangsal Sila t and the Langkawi Fiesta. Shawqi's favorite moment was when he was first seated (sebab dia tak pernah masuk Istana Budaya, maka sangat le jakun jadinya...)
6. What happened to Wan Darus and Wan Hakim?
There should have been a final scene. Everybody wanted to know what happened to the hubby and the baby. It was mentioned in one of the newspapers that the production team was researching on this but I wonder why the anticipated scenes didn't make it to the stage. Could it be caused by lack of reference?
7. Kalau nak berlakon teater purbawara, janganle color rambut kau blonde, dey!
I couldn't help but noticed some of the village girls were blondes. Wey, Malay girls with blond hair - during Mahsuri time some more. Adakah logik? Maybe they were not that blonde. Maybe it was the lightings. Tapi dari seat aku tu, tetap nampak blonde nya cik kak oi!
All in all, it was a good play. Entertaining and mempamerkan nilai-nilai dan budaya Melayu. Can be improved further. Yang penting, Wazif and Shawqi loved it.