PETALING JAYA, Nov 9 — The young students of Enfiniti Academy of Musical Theatre & Performing Arts (ENACT) will become the new generation of stars for the restaging of the musical Mud: The Story of Kuala Lumpur this December.
When deciding on the musical for the Academy’s annual Youth on Stage production, Enfiniti Academy head Joanna Bessey said Mud seemed a perfect fit.
“There’s educational value, but there’s also the training ground — the structure of this musical itself.”
Mud is Malaysia’s longest running musical, and its original cast took their final bow in April 2017, after three years and 2000 shows at the historic Panggung Bandaraya in Kuala Lumpur.
The touching story follows the journey of three friends as they make Kuala Lumpur their home, despite hardships shattering their hopes of a better life.
It’s a double-edged sword : the kids get an opportunity to learn about their cultural heritage and history, as well as being passed the acting torch by the original cast of Mud.
“Mud was a perfect example of how the original cast can mentor the next generation of actors,” says the academy’s chief dream-maker and game-changer Puan Sri Tiara Jacquelina who added it will be a rich learning experience for the young actors.
“As children, you’re not privy to information like this usually. But now you’re actually learning first hand and listening to stories of people who went through all this.”
Tiara says the importance of the children gaining a greater sense of identity and belonging with their city is another reason the musical is being re-staged.
“The more digitally connected we are with the outside world, the more important it is for us to stay anchored with who we are. Our roots.”
Although the children will be playing adult characters, Tiara says they have found the truth in the story they’re sharing. She’s hopeful this means the story of Kuala Lumpur will continue to be told to the coming generations.
Bessey says audience members find themselves being touched by the story because “there’s a lot of connection”.
“It’s our story. It’s a Malaysian story.
“The theatre is a really special place where we can share these kinds of stories and have this kind of communal experience together.”
The musical will be immersive, breaking the fourth wall and getting the audience involved, added Bessey.
“Basically, it’s going to be a lot of fun where the audience gets to be invited on stage, and there’s going to be a lot of audience interaction.
“There are some other elements of surprise that will be a little more interactive in a different way (from the original). There will be a little bit more of a sense of humour element to it.”
Tiara is also hopeful that having a younger cast will make theatre more accessible to people with younger children.
“What we’re hoping is people will bring babies, toddlers, children to the theatre. Let children experience their first show, and they will grow up then, in turn, creating that ecosystem; being audiences and patrons and supporters of theatre for the rest of their lives.”
* Enfiniti’s Youth on Stage production of Mud: The Story of Kuala Lumpur will be performed at The Platform at Menara Ken TTDI, KL, from December 14 to 22 .To purchase tickets, and for more information, visit here.