PETALING JAYA, Feb 13 — In the throes of rehearsing for the second run of “OlaBola the Musical,” director and producer Puan Sri Tiara Jacquelina is in her element.
Take for example the scene where British coach Harry Mountain (played by Tony Eusoff) meets the members of Harimau Malaya, the Malaysian national football squad, which qualified for the 1980 summer Olympics in Moscow, for the very first time.
Tony gets a glimpse of their disagreements and proceeds to belt out Heart of a Tiger, an inspiring anthem aimed at spurring the team on.
But under Tiara’s encouraging smile yet watchful gaze, no detail escapes her, even with a cast of approximately 40.
“Nobody is invisible,” she told Malay Mail in-between breaks.
She’s also de facto counsellor, constantly darting from one actor to another giving them nuggets of advice to improve their performance.
In the first run of “OlaBola,” the sold-out musical’s biggest challenge was to successful stage the football scenes which were heavily choreographed.
“The skeptics would have been most critical about this, playing football in a limited space that’s one-tenth of a proper football field,” she said.
“The score cannot change, if it’s a goal the actor has to score the goal. Fortunately, all the boys play football."
The musical’s technical aspects too were main concerns during the first season.
“I wanted the show to look technically credible because it’s heavily technical. We have LED screens, projection screen and projection mapping and making all this work requires precision,” she added.
Now that the theatre maven has pulled that off, she wants to delve deeper into the characters which many Malaysians grew to love in Chiu Keng Guan’s 2016 box office hit with its second staging.
“For example, let’s understand the ‘Towkay’ character more or where the coach character is coming from. What else can we explore within the character and their relationship with every other character?
“One little shift and the whole scene can change. We explored with ‘What if you were like this?’ and it’s really just about having more time to step back and think about each character.”
Ultimately, Tiara said she would love “OlaBola” to inspire Malaysians with its heart-tugging story.
“That unity story is always very close to heart for me because I come from a mixed background,” she added.
“So, if I have an opportunity to have a voice, I would love to inspire unity.”
“OlaBola the Musical Season 2” is produced by Enfiniti Productions and will be staged at Istana Budaya from February 18 to March 3.
Tickets priced from RM80 onwards are available here.