'Ola Bola The Musical': Remembering Malaysian football glory at Istana Budaya

An image shared on Facebook by Tiara Jacquelina announcing the upcoming release of ‘OlaBola the Musical.’
An image shared on Facebook by Tiara Jacquelina announcing the upcoming release of ‘OlaBola the Musical.’

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 9 — Staging football match scenes for theatre performances is not an easy endeavour but in “OlaBola The Musical,” the audience can watch it complete with replay video techniques.

It is not unlike watching a football match live on television, in which viewers can see witness the moments when the goal is netted in slow motion. The difference is that it takes place on the same theatre stage.

Its director Puan Sri Tiara Jacquelina said it was one of the attractions that viewers must not miss through the theatre musical adaption to be staged from Feb 8 until March 11.

She said even though OlaBola The Musical was not her first project, the mission to turn the Istana Budaya stage into a “Merdeka Stadium” was a huge challenge for her more than 200 production crew during the performances.

“The size of the Istana Budaya stage is not up to a quarter of the size of a football field at the stadium, the movements of the actors cannot stray even one millimetre. Every little mistake can change everything,” she said at the pre-theatre viewing event here.

Tiara said new digital staging technology used such as LED large screen visual background, 180 degrees view, digital floor mapping, visual animations, state-of-the-art lightings and 360 degrees surround sound also enriched the stage atmosphere.

Stage techniques and creative movements are used as well in enhancing the mood of the audience in featuring the football matches from different angles.

“OlaBola The Musical,” shares the same storyline as the phenomenal film, OlaBola which was first screened in 2016, narrating the glories of the national football team, Harimau Malaya, and the journey to qualify for the 1980 Olympics.

Despite being performed by new names on the theatre stage such as Luqman Hafidz, Brian Chan, Melissa Ong and Jian Wen, they have been able to portray their characters splendidly.

Credit goes to actor Ledil Putra, who portrayed the character of Rahman, an enthusiastic sports commentator for always touching the hearts of the audience whenever he appears on stage.

Experienced comedy actor Douglas Lim also managed to steal the show with his role as Uncle Wong.

Like the film, “OlaBola The Musical” retains the similar message of unity, friendship and teamwork through football. — Bernama

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