Thursday, January 11, 2018
Tiara Jacquelina & OlaBola
Tiara Jacquelina allows theSun to sit on the rehearsal of OlaBola The Musical in December and today theSun published the story...
Headline: Shooting For Success
By Bissme S.
After watching a rehearsal of the first act of Olabola the Musical I must say I was impressed. My gut feeling tells me that this musical theatre production is going to be mind-blowing when it plays at Istana Budaya, Kuala Lumpur, from Feb 8 to March 11.
This production, by producer and director Tiara Jacquelina (below, right), is an adaptation of Chiu Keng Guan’s 2016 hit film Olabola, which is loosely based on the story of the Malaysian national football team which successfully qualified for the 1980 Olympics. The film collected more than RM16 million at the box office.
Tiara admits that her biggest challenge is transferring the intensity of a football match from film to stage.
“We are working with a totally different medium,” she says. “In films, there can be retakes. Unfortunately, we cannot afford that luxury on stage. “So everything has to be perfect, smooth and precise. The players have to pass the ball to the right person. [During the auditions], the first thing I looked for [in the actors] was their football skills.”
Among the cast are familiar faces in the local entertainment scene such as Iedil Putra, Stephen Rahman Hughes, and Douglas Lim, as well as two of the stars from the original film, Luqman Hafidz and Lim Jian Wen, who will be reprising their roles.
The rehearsal gives the impression that the musical will have a lot of rap and hip-hop numbers.
“When I first decided to make Olabola into a musical, the first question I asked myself is ‘what will be the sound of this musical’,” says Tiara, adding that she finds herself drawn to rap and hip hop because they represent “the gritty sound of youth and football”. Olabola the Musical also takes liberties with the real-life story. The musical starts in 1980 with an intense football match where the captain of the Malaysian football team gets a red card and loses his temper with the referee.
As a result, the team fails to qualify for the Olympics. Tiara is honest enough to admit she does not know much about football. However, she says she hired “the best people” to advise her on the subject.
“The story is not just about football,” she adds, pointing out that the heart of OlaBola is a story about a multicultural team who came together and put their differences aside to achieve a bigger dream. “It is the kind of story I love to do, and if I don’t do this story, I know I will live to regret it,” she says.
Tiara can be considered the Malaysian version of Andrew Lloyd Webber. Two of her previous cutting-edge musical theatre productions are Puteri Gunung Ledang the Musical and P. Ramlee the Musical.
When asked about the new musical’s budget, she refuses to reveal too much. After much persuasion, she says: “All I can say is, this [has] the highest budget for a musical theatre from my company, and perhaps in Malaysia.
“The story of Olabola requires – and deserves – that kind of budget.” Tiara adds that Olabola director Chiu has been to the rehearsals, and is satisfied with what he has seen.
“When I first announced my desire to turn his work into a musical, he told me that he has a difficult time imagining his characters singing,” says Tiara.
Now, he does not have to wonder any more.
“It is interesting for him to see his story being interpreted by a different director,” she adds.
Tiara is fully aware that the success of the film has set some high expectations for her musical.
“It is very important to have high expectations,” she says.
“If your expectations [are] high, everyone will keep aiming to achieve them. I do push everyone hard, and I tell them it comes from love. I love getting the best out of an individual.”