Theatrethreesixty artistic director and founder Christopher Ling brought five students from Methodist College Kuala Lumpur‘s American Degree Transfer Program to the National Academy of Arts, Culture and Heritage (ASWARA) last weekend to catch Ahmad Yatim‘s adaptation of Hamlet.
This is a review by THR1500: Foundations of Acting student Nicholas Chai.
On 15 January 2016, the Methodist College Kuala Lumpur theatre class visited Black Box, ASWARA to watch an adaptation of Hamlet. Originally written by William Shakespeare, the play explores the ugliness of human greed and aggressiveness to its bitter end.
Directed by Fasyali Fadzly, this staging presents viewers with a shorter version of Hamlet, delivered in Malay to make it more accessible by locals. The play was filled with suspense — audiences were kept on the edge of their seats guessing each main character’s next move.
ASWARA’s Hamlet was performed by a small bunch of memorable actors who gave their best even when away from the spotlight.
Commanding attention with exceptional skill was Muhammad Faiz Bin Abd Malek, who plays Horatio while also expressively narrating the play. He took on both his roles en pointe, giving audiences two completely different characters on the stage. Also notable was Afiq Azhar Bin Ali in his role as the play’s titular character, effectively conveying dismal and chaos upon understanding the sinister nature of his father’s death.
There was a minor amount of audience interaction which further brought the play to life and helped bridge the audience-performer gap. There was also subtle humour — just enough to keep things interesting. Action scenes were surprisingly well-executed; actors were quick and clean in their fight scenes.
Hamlet‘s lighting was visually satisfying, making good use of contrasting colours, while set is kept simple with few but effective props — the ancient fireplace on stage brought audiences closer to the Middle Ages. The venue however was a little bit small, with an uncomfortable amount of space in between audience seats.
Although some of its cast members could have benefited from more detailed character work — some characters don’t seem to get through to audiences — ASWARA’s staging of Hamlet was successfully in presenting the truth behind Shakespeare’s original text. From it’s beginning to its impactful tragic end, Hamlet exceeded expectations.
The Daily Seni would like to thank Christopher Ling and his students for this piece! Review edited by Deric Ect.