August is here and we all know what that means! My birthday month has officially commenced! 😀 😀 😀
Yes, every year I make it a point to celebrate my birthday all month long because what’s the fun of having only 1 special day to yourself out of a whole year, right?
This year’s started off great, with a colourful, tear-jerking, patriotism-instilling, laugh-inducing musical at Panggung Bandaraya. If you’ve not heard of MUD KL, it’s a musical chronicling the history of our beautiful city of Kuala Lumpur and how it blossomed from a small mining town to this large metropolis of a country capital it is today.
It was so befitting too that it was screened at the Panggung Bandaraya, the 101-year-old theatre in the heart of KL along Jalan Raja. I’ve driven by the place many times of course, but have never realised how beautiful the building really is (not to mention how historically rich!). The red brick walls and colonial door frames really transport you back in time.
Tickets are incredibly affordable by musical standards — MyKad holders pay only RM45 whilst non-MyKad holders will have to pay RM60. That’s nothing compared to the hundreds we would have to fork out in the current performing arts-central Singapore.
And of course we’d prefer to support our local arts scene any day! These local productions are often as entertaining as — if not more than — international productions because they’re written for the local audience. There are some inside jokes only we will get, and local lingo that only we will appreciate.
MUD, derived from the very name of our city ‘Lumpur’, tells the story of 3 friends, Mat, Meng and Muthiah. The glint of tin drew the 3 friends to this small sleepy town in the hopes of landing jobs that would lead to riches.
But of course, things are never as easy as you think — they arrive to conflict and unrest as different parties fight for the rights to the tin mines and land.
Then there was the great fire of Kuala Lumpur in 1881, burning to the ground everything the locals built, followed by the great flood after months of relentless rain. Everything is based on real events as written in the history books.
But through it all, our 3 friends, along with others they meet along the way, survive alongside their city, their home, Kuala Lumpur. Through it all, they rise from the ashes and mud and emerge stronger than ever.
As Malaysians, we’ve all been taught the history of our country, but from the textbooks, they are all merely in theory. Seeing the events acted out live on stage — from the arrival of the British, through the fires, the flood, the Japanese occupation and all the way through to Merdeka — accompanied by original scores written for the show, performed to top-notch international standards by these talented local actors, really translates a different note of patriotism to you altogether.
The best part was that it was an interactive show as well, which meant intermittently, they would invite guests from the audience to go on stage to facilitate with certain scenes. Can you spot the Ninja up there, helping to convince some villagers to stay and rebuild their home after the floods?
It’s a great musical that I honestly feel every Malaysian should go see. It’s only about 60 minutes long but I wish it could have gone on forever. I left the theatre feeling incredibly proud to be Malaysian — we literally rose from nothing, from a small muddy confluence ‘kuala lumpur’, and clawed, crawled and built our way to become one of the greatest cities in the world.
I wanted to shout out loud ‘Saya Anak Malaysia!” after the show whilst waving the Jalur Gemilang as high as I could hahahaha.
Go watch it if you can!
‘MUD: Our story of Kuala Lumpur’ shows daily, at 3pm and 8.30pm, from now until 31 December 2015.