Title: Ready For Stage
By Bissme S
PRODUCER-DIRECTOR Tiara Jacquelina has adapted Chiu Keng Guan’s 2016 hit film OlaBola, about the exploits of the Malaysian national football team which successfully qualified for the 1980 Olympics, into a 165- minute extravaganza .
With OlaBola the Musical ready to entertain audiences at Istana Budaya from this Thursday to March 11, theSun sat down with four of its key actors to talk about their roles, and their experiences in bringing the film to life onstage.
* Muhd Luqman Hafidz Luqman was featured in the original film as Ahmad Ali, a top player on the team, and is reprising the role in the musical.
“When I first heard about the musical, I wanted to try my luck,” says Luqman.
“This role holds a special place [in my heart]. This is my first role in a feature film. You will always remember your first feature film role ... I did not want another actor playing this role.”
Still, he was surprised that he passed the audition, as this would be his first time performing on stage.
“I have never sang and danced before,” he adds.
“You will be seeing me doing a lot of rap.”
He is also very much in awe of his director, Tiara.
“She is an actress, and knows how to influence actors to give their best performance.”
*Lim Jian Wen Like Luqman, Lim appeared in the film, playing eccentric footballer Ong Tiam Chai, and he is also reprising the role in the musical.
In fact, it was Luqman who pushed him to attend the audition for the musical, says Lim.
“I must really thank Luqman for getting me the role. If not for him, I would not have attended the audition.”
This is also his first attempt at acting on stage. What he likes best is that Tiara held several workshops and intense rehearsals for the cast to really get into character for their roles.
“I have learned a lot from the workshops and rehearsals,” Lim says. “I am a better actor because of it.”
* Iedil Putra Iedil takes on the role of bubbly radio host Rahman in the musical. The role was played brilliantly by Bront Palarae in the film version.
Bront has said Tiara did a great job casting ledil for the role, and believes ledil will give a mind-blowing performance. Iedil is aware the audience and critics are going to make comparisons between his performance and Bront’s.
“I have to learn to deal with the comparison, and I am going to upstage Bront,” he says with a laugh.
On a more serious note, Iedil explains that musical theatre is a different medium from film, and so naturally will require a different way to interpret the character.
“Personally, I love the film because it is inspiring, and has unified the nation,” adds ledil, who is picky about his roles.
He believes the musical will create similar emotions, and with Tiara holding court, he is certain she will take the audience on a thrilling ride.
*Douglas Lim The 40-year-old comedian is playing a role specially created for him. Lim plays Uncle Wong who runs a kopitiam, a character that did not exist in the film.
“My character is loud, pessimistic, and has tremendous doubt that the Malaysian team can qualify for the Olympics,” he explains. Lim started his acting career in 1998 in the TV comedy show Kopitiam, playing the flamboyant hairdresser Steven who loves to hang out with his friends at a kopitiam. He adds with a laugh:
“It is ironic that 20 years later, I am playing a kopitiam owner in this musical. It appears I have not progressed at all.”