So, my wife was feeling bored last friday and was up to her mischief again. This time around, instead of dragging me to the cinema to catch up on the latest movie to or force me to accompany her for some foodie marathon, she dragged me to watch the theatre instead to relieve her boredom.
Her poison: Bangsawan Dendam Laksamana.
Having read the summary online, the play is actually a Malay palace opera. About a cruel Sultan and his loyal Admiral.
Oh God, isn’t her addiction to the Chinese harem dramas Ruyi Love in Palace and Yanxi Palace is not enough? I’ve seen her going all stressed up all over here while watching these two soaps during her drama-marathons and now she’s into olden Malay operas too? I thought I was doomed for another round of catfight in the harem alongside with scheming concubines and princes who will kill each other for the sake of the throne, but I was wrong. Bangsawan Dendam Laksamana wasn’t exactly about all these despite being a historical play.
Bangsawan Dendam Laksamana is a musical theatre that was chosen based on the story behind the history of Sultan Mahmud Mangkat Dijulang, which was based on a book Masyhor Malaya by Shahrom Husain in 1978. As the curtain falls, we were all transported back to the court of the cruel and arrogant Sultan Mahmud II where we were shown how he ruled over his court with an iron fist. We were also shown two sides of his court; the good officials who always advice the Sultan to be fair and the bad officials who coax the Sultan to do bad deeds.
Viewers were then introduced to the protagonists of the play, the loyal admiral who would sacrifice himself for his country and the Sultan.
We were also shown his affection for his beloved wife, Wan Anum, who was pregnant with their firstborn.
The Sultan Mahmud is one villain you’d love to hate in the story. At some point of the play, he ordered for her execution for eating a piece of jackfruit from his garden while the admiral was away to pacify rebels. Her death was nothing but pure cruelty and unjust, triggering the admiral’s vengeance.
I wouldn’t want to spoil the story for you on what happened next after the death of the admiral’s wife, but I can tell you that there’s definitely bloodbath and all sort of silat actions afterwards.
Here’s a picture of me and one of the cast for Bangsawan Dendam Laksamana; Datuk Jalaludin Hassan, taken after the play.
I initially thought I’d be sleeping in the theatre out of boredom, but I’m glad that I didn’t. The play kept me on the edge with beautifully choreographed dance, costumes that were done with details and not to mention fantastic acting by all of the casts. They really brings out the emotions in you and you actually feel as if you are in the Sultan Mahmud II court with them, experiencing all the horrifying nightmares and hardships alongside with them. I’d give this one 5 stars for flawless acting and intense storytelling.
You may watch the admiral take his revenge at DEWAN TENGKU ABDUL RAHMAN, Malaysia Tourism Centre (MaTiC), KUALA LUMPUR from 2hb Nov 2018 – 11hb Nov 2018 if you are located in Kuala Lumpur. This play will also be performed in Johor, Melaka, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang, Penang, Kedah and Perak and during the tour, there will also be related workshops, forums and exhibitions related to the play.