Sabahan singer Nikki Palikat on her love for musicals and playing a nun in her latest role

Nikki Palikat plays French nun St Mary Euphrasia in ‘Euphrasia the Musical’ which will tour Ipoh and Kota Kinabalu next. — Picture by Choo Choy May
Nikki Palikat plays French nun St Mary Euphrasia in ‘Euphrasia the Musical’ which will tour Ipoh and Kota Kinabalu next. — Picture by Choo Choy May

PETALING JAYA, April 29 — Nothing gets singer Nikki Palikat gushing quite like the mention of musicals.

“Being a performer in musicals is amazing, I love this job.

“I’m a very purposeful kind of performer so when I got into musicals, I love the meaning to each scene and the whole emotion of it,” she told Malay Mail.

Since her days of blowing away viewers with the whistle register on Malaysian Idol back in 2004, Palikat has established her name in the Malay-medium music industry after becoming a finalist on the reality series.

But the talented songstress said she “felt an emptiness, just going on stage and singing songs.”

These days, Palikat, whose full name is Nicolette Louisa Palikat, is pouring all her energy into the musical theatre scene, probably much to the chagrin of those who often ask if a new record is in the works.

The 33-year-old said she felt an emptiness just going on stage and singing during her recording artiste days. — Picture by Choo Choy May
The 33-year-old said she felt an emptiness just going on stage and singing during her recording artiste days. — Picture by Choo Choy May

Palikat made her musical debut in Shout the Mod Musical in 2010 and has never looked back.

“I feel a great sense of belonging to musicals. I love the style and storytelling,” she said.

“I had no formal training so everything was self-taught but it helps when you’re so passionate about it, which I am.”

Just over the weekend, the 33-year-old took on the lead role in Euphrasia the Musical which tells the life story of St Mary Euphrasia, the French nun who founded the Good Shepherd Sisters welfare organisation in the 1800s.

Fresh from its Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (klpac) run, the Good Shepherd Sisters and The Actor Studio Seni Teater Rakyat joint production will make its way to Ipoh this week and Kota Kinabalu next week.

One to normally play villains, Palikat said the role of Mary Euphrasia presented a different form of challenge.

“I start off in the musical as a teenager, portraying her life from 17 to 71 so there’s a physical challenge of having to age on stage,” said Palikat who would wear a black robe at rehearsals to get into character.

She said it was hard playing a character who lived in the 1800s as information was scarce and of course, the sheer weight of responsibility in honouring a remarkable woman’s life.

“What she did was pretty amazing. As with a lot of people who chose to not be in the limelight, what is evident after they leave is their legacy.”

While researching about nun-turned-saint, Palikat discovered something about herself in the process.

“She (Mary Euphrasia) was a very sensitive person, even as a child. I was a sensitive child too and cried at the slightest thing. My parents would always ask me why are you so easily triggered?

“Many years later, I found out it was because I was meant to be a performer, because I was meant to empathise, feel deeply and portray it,” said Palikat, who has a son with composer-producer husband Audi Mok.

Asked how playing Mary Euphrasia realigned her perspective in life, the Kadazan-Dusun singer said: “There was a lot that had to happen in my life in order for me to have this reservoir of experience and emotions that will help me step into her shoes.”

Her role in Euphrasia has also made her think about what she wants to do in her life.

“There’s a song called Go Out and Do Something Good which tells people to not overthink when it comes to extending help.

“Just do something good in the space that you are in, you can make a difference no matter how small,” she said.

After Euphrasia, Palikat will have a short break of a few weeks before she embarks on her next musical, Next to Normal, in July.

Catch Euphrasia the Musical in Ipoh on May 3 and May 4 at Auditorium RTM Perak and Kota Kinabalu at Auditorium JKKN Sabah on May 10 and May 11. For tickets, call 012-2822214.

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