You know how in Highlander Connor MacLeod experiences the Quickening, which is that wonderful explosion of feelings physical and emotional often accompanied by static electricity and thunder and rain, after a beheading sesh with the mates on a night out?
It's also what they call it when pregnant mothers first feel their babies in their bellies move (or is it when they feel Baby Put Her Head in the Birth Canal?) One of those things.
Well, I get my own personal Quickening when I see great performances, whether on stage, tv or film. And most recently during our revisit of Puteri Gunung Ledang last Monday. We brought our girls who amazingly sat entranced (although D2 with her loud voice would not whisper her qeustions - "Mama, is that the prrrintheth?" "Look, the Puteri Gunung Lie Down!")
PGL this time around has undergone a few small but significant shanges - significant for me because they affect parts of the performance I am attached to. Overall, the changes are improvements on what I thought could not be improved.
I found the whole thing a lot more intimate, maybe because certain elements have been pared down - for example the opening number choreography which now seems more clarified. I also feel there's quite a difference in Tuah's performance, simply because I notice the emoting, the expression of the character which I believe is a result of revisiting it without the initial hoohah of "he's not malay enough, how could he play tuah?"
Also the way PGL seems to be a little more intimate is through the performances of the main characters, which seem more nuanced, subtle. Apparently they had had several long rehearsals prior to opening night and everyone was lacking sleep and rest. It did seem subdued on the night we watched it, but that was something I appreciated, because I got to see an aspect of performance from all the main cast I had not seen before - purely because the grandeur of the performance spectacle always overwhelmed before. Now, the acting has come to the fore - and I thoroughly enjoyed it, especially since I got to see the anguish Tuah felt over betraying his love, an aspect of the betrayal I never relly noticed before because during the moment of realisation, it's all Puteri's Moment - her song, her anguish.
I feel acting-wise, it has balanced out in such a way as to enhance the terrible tragedy of the story.
I do have one gripe. There is a scene at the beginning when all the Majapahit-ans are dancing in the streets when they hear the Sultan is coming. At one point in the song, the girls segue into a beautiful vocalised "oh" while they dance - a moment I always enjoy because it seems so gloriously free and happy - AND THEY CUT IT OUT!! I was about to sing along with them when I realised I was a lone voice in the audience. Luckily the moemnt is preserved for posterity in the Cast Recording I bought at the concession booth - a brilliant idea for which I am very grateful.
The last time I got silly about a musical was during my time in Perth when I got a huge crush on bad-guy Javert in Les Miserables. I have no idea who the performer was, Javert was my man. I especially loved the moment when, in total anguish and guilt, he throws himself off the bridge after spending a lifetime destroying Jean Valjean's life. His cry as he fell during his song "stars" was paricularly Quickening-inducing. I bought the cast tape recording of the original cast performance and that part of the cassette was worn out from constant rewinding.
Likewise, one of my favourite songs is Tuah's song - I finally listened to and understood the lyrics, and it really gives a poetic insight into the heart of the great Malay warrior - a true archetype of the kind of dichotomous push-pull all great heroes encounter within themselves.
My other favourite song is "Melaka Terbilang", especially when it acquires a rocking backbeat in it's repeat later in the show. Me and hubby boo cannot resist bopping heads and shoulders in our seats. They should have space in the aisles and at the sides for nerds like us who would love to dance along to the music during the show. So if you're watching from the circles, and you see some bobbing heads or glinting hairpieces, it could be us.
Been doing some writing and really getting into it again - although it was a long, slow restarting process. I keep forgetting how much I enjoy writing and wish I could just write and not have to bother with all the yukky stressful stuff like company overheads and trying to create solid business relationships with silly people.
Sumolah is in its final run of shoot. We are now shooting at the tournament bout hall, lovingly constructed on the Cyberjaya Lim Kok Wing campus. It's been a long and tiring road for some (not for me) and I am praying for a quick and painless release for them!