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5 Students Weigh In On ASWARA’s ‘Hamlet’: Malay Adaptation Seems “Closer To Home”, An Overall Success
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5 Students Weigh In On ASWARA’s ‘Hamlet’: Malay Adaptation Seems “Closer To Home”, An Overall Success

by The Daily SeniJanuary 19, 2016

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 Leong Kai Yuen.

Shakespeare’s Hamlet is undoubtedly one of the playwright’s most well-known theater works. Set in the late middle ages at a royal palace in Denmark, Hamlet revolves around the themes of revenge, mortality, and family.

In commemoration of Shakespeare’s 400th Anniversary, this final-year production of Hamlet, cleverly adapted by the National Academy of Arts, Culture and Heritage (ASWARA), took a linguistic turn performed in the Malay language.

Running at an estimated one hour and forty-five minutes with no intermission, this adaptation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet was revised to exclude various scenes and characters. Narrative monologues performed by Muhammad Faiz Bin Abdul Malek (who also plays Horatio) were patched in before respective scenes for continuity.

A recipient of the Dean’s Award at ASWARA, Muhammad Faiz successfully engaged audiences with his captivating onstage performance. Apart from his delivery of the role of Horatio, his acrobatic stunts and maneuvers while narrating certainly gave viewers a unique theater experience.

Hamlet entertained with its variety of dialogues and monologues. Prince Hamlet, played by Afiq Azhar Bin Ali, enthused with his humorous conversational exchanges with the other characters. In contrast, Wan Alia Yuhanis as Ophelia sent chills down the spine with her emotionally-charged monologues.

Originally translated by Ahmad Yatim, this rendition of Hamlet at times lacked clarity. To individuals who have no clear idea of the story at hand, Hamlet‘s introductory scenes can be quite confusing. This however was an issue which slowly resolved as the play progressed.

Nonetheless, it would be fair to conclude that the production was an overall success.

Director Fasyali Fadzly, who had been working on this adaption for the last few months, was able to express a different approach to the play. With its linguistic and instrumental twists, one might suggest that this rendition seemed closer to home as compared to any other adaptations of Shakespeare’s popular text.

Hamlet ran from 15 – 16 January at BLACKBOX, ASWARA. Tickets were priced at RM5 (students) and RM10 (others), with a complimentary program booklet provided to audiences.

The Daily Seni would like to thank Christopher Ling and his students for this piece! Review edited by Deric Ect.

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The Daily Seni delivers news on local arts and culture, aiming to provide insight into Malaysia's ever-growing creative community as well as provoke thought and discussion.

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