Debut of realism comedy


By ZIEMAN
  • Nation
  • Friday, 21 Feb 2003

BY ZIEMAN

PETALING JAYA: Datuk Syed Alwi’s Alang Rentak Seribu, which ends its 10-day run tomorrow, depicts a new approach in Malaysian theatre – realism comedy – according to Istana Budaya director-general Dr Hatta Azad Khan. 

“Realism comedy is a new thing here. The play, told simply and well, will affect its audience because the characters are down-to-earth people.  

“In an age where unity plays an important part of life, you will love someone like Alang,” he said. 

The play, which was written in 1973, is about a Filem Negara crew planning to film a documentary on the people in Alang’s village.  

The shooting of the film comes to a halt several times because of various problems, which bring about some humorous situations. 

This thought-provoking play addresses pressing problems like unity without being heavy-handed and preachy. 

“Watching this play is like taking a journey. With a different approach from the last time it was staged, the play challenges the ability of its actors and for a while, the audience will momentarily forget the high-tech, state-of-the art stage at the Istana Budaya,” Dr Hatta said. 

The text was specially chosen as a mark of respect for Syed Alwi, who was recently conferred the title of National Laureate. 

It is directed by veteran director and actor Ahmad Yatim who, incidentally, played the lead role when the play was first staged. 

Syed Alwi, 73, is a renown theatre personality who formed the Malayan Arts Theatre Group in 1952 together with K. Das, Datuk Rahim Razali and Krishen Jit.  

After writing three of his more famous English plays, Going North (a translation of his short story Menuju Utara), The More We Get Together and Day of Efil, he wrote Alang Rentak Seribu, his first play in Malay.  

This was followed by Tok Perak in 1974.  

Both the plays were Literary Prize winners.  

He also wrote Desaria, Alang – Trilogi Drama, Rakan, Teman dan Para Bangsawan, Z:00 – M 184, Hamba Allah, Di Kampung Di Kota dan Masak-Masak and an English trilogy I Remember ... The Rest House, Member of The Club and The Governor’s Mansion. 

Alang Rentak Seribu features Adlin Arman Ramlee, the son of legendary actor A.R. Tompel, as Alang, and Ruminah Sidek in the lead roles. 

Others include Khatijah Tan, fondly known as Mak Ngah in Pi Mai Pi Mai Tang Tu, as Badariah and newcomer Kartika Mohammad as Mazni. 

Tickets priced at RM21, RM31 and RM51 can be booked by calling Boxoffice at 03-4025 5932.  

Senior citizens, the disabled and schoolchildren are entitled to a 20% discount while those who buy five tickets will get one ticket free. 

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