Guid­ing light

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - MUSIC - By SETO KIT YAN sky­seto@thes­tar.com.my Magic Mir­rorthe­mu­si­cal 2011.

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 ygy.tick­et­ing@gmail.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.

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