about the compassionate Guan yin, showcases fresh talent and new elements all round.
ORIGINALLY staged by Yayasan Guan Yin in 2008 at Genting Highland International Ballroom, Magic Mirror The Musical has gone through several updates for its restaging this year-end.
This time around, its all-new version, dubbed Magic Mirror The Musical 2011, will be staged at the prestigious Istana Budaya, Kuala Lumpur.
It will be the fourth and biggest stage production by Yayasan Guan Yin, which staged Qian Shou Qian Yan at Sunway Pyramid Convention Centre, Petaling Jaya, Selangor, in 1999, and then Thousand Arms Thousand Eyes at Genting’s Arena of Stars in 2001.
Star2 met up with Yayasan Guan Yin secretary general Datin Tan Swee Lai, Beijing dancer and choreographer Prof Yu Xiao Xue, music composer Chow Kam Leong, and singers Regine Tai and Sean Wong for an interview recently.
“We would like to take this opportunity to encourage passionate art and culture lovers to support this fascinating performance that combines talented Chinese and Malaysians,” said Tan (who is also the creative and art director-cum-producer for the musical) during a sneak preview for the media.
With changes made in all aspects, including cast and crew, music and songs, costumes and props, Tan offered: “While the storyline remains the same, the presentation will be different as our venue is now Istana Budaya. We’ve even moved the scenes around to make it easier for the audience to understand. And, we are also using the montage presentation style to show the outcome or result first, leading the audience into the story.”
The musical depicts how Avalokitevara Bodhisattva or Guan Yin (the Boddisattva of great kindness and selfless compassion) helps sentient beings to emerge from darkness, guiding them to the right path and constantly spreading the message of loving-kindness.
Apart from writing new songs and rearranging existing melodies, Chow (music director) has also added a choir to give the show a fresh spin.
“Now that we are taking our show to Istana Budaya, we’re able to do new things that we couldn’t do before. Observing the stage facilities, we discussed and made improvements all round,” shared Chow, who was plucking his guitar as he endeavoured to put the finishing touches to some of the new songs he had written for the show.
Bringing together artistes from China and Malaysia, the musical has a cast of 62, of which 33 of them are local performers while the rest are from China.
The Chinese dancers take on roles of fairies, soldiers and demons. Local performers, on the other hand, play most of the main characters as well as the children and the villagers.
Besides portraying the White General, Prof Yu will be training the local team and the Beijing team separately before they fly here to rehearse together next month. Prof Yu who is also the director of the musical shared: “Observing the multi-level platforms of the new stage, we redesigned our choreography to take into consideration the variety of movements as well as the abilities of the performers. In fact, apart from the five of us here, the rest of the performers are all fresh recruits.”
Local songstress Tai will reprise her role as the ethereal White Guan Yin in the upcoming musical.
She had been planning to have a baby, but that has to be put on hold when the organisers couldn’t find a better candidate to play Guan Yin after conducting several auditions earlier this year.
“We wanted to give other theatre enthusiasts that opportunity, but circumstances are such that I’m destined to play Guan Yin again. I’m glad to be working with a fresh group of children, who are very focused even though they’ve not had any previous vocal or dance training.”
Wong, who plays a villager, shared that his character goes through many changes, from good to bad to good again.
“Initially, I didn’t think it was such an important role, but later I realised that the character personifies the message of the show. He begins as a good husband and father, then loses his direction and develops bad habits. After witnessing his karma retribution in the magic mirror, he repents and mends his ways by returning to the path of goodness.” n MagicMirrorTheMusical 2011 will be staged at Istana Budaya, Kuala Lumpur, from Nov 25 to Dec 4. The show is in Mandarin with English subtitles. Tickets are priced at RM100, RM150, RM220 and RM300. Group purchases (minimum 20 tickets) are entitled to a 10% discount. For details of the show and ticket reservation, contact Yayasan Guan Yin via hotlines (011-1282 8859 / 011-1282 8860 / 011-1288 0399) or email email@example.com or website www.guanyin.org.my/ node/556. Tickets are also available via ticketing partner AirAsiaRedtix (03-8775 4666 or AirAsiaRedtix. com/Events/MagicMirror) and selected Rock Corner and Victoria Music Centre outlets in the Klang Valley.