Saturday, 24 May 2008
P.Ramlee The Musical - laugh, cry and enjoy...
I've just spent the last 24 hours trying to compose my executive producer's foreword for the P.Ramlee programme book, thought i'd share this in my blog.
When producing a subject as highly loved and respected as P.Ramlee, we can only hope to make the story work for his many, many fans and aim to produce a good representation of his life and at the same time add a touch of creativity so it’s attractive, entertaining and “today” enough for a young audience.
It’s unbelievable that Malaysia has undergone so many changes and yet today, 35 years after the passing of P.Ramlee, his films still make you laugh and cry, and everyone can sing along to all his songs and quote lines from his films, as if his words have been etched in our minds indelibly.
On the night of our final performance at the Esplanade in Singapore, we’re having a team huddle backstage 15 minutes before curtains go up. It’s been a very challenging week, with technical rehearsals running for 14 hours a day. The cast and ensemble are still on a high from receiving nightly standing ovations, yet I can tell they are running on reserve battery by now. Guys, I said, we’re almost at the finishing line, we can see the goal right in front of us, let’s end with a huge bang! Remember why we’re doing this. This is our tribute, as the Anak Seni who have inherited the legacy of the great Master we never met. We’re doing this so people will know his story, why he is such a legend, so that no matter how we evolve as a nation, P.Ramlee’s name will never be forgotten.
P.Ramlee reminds us about the challenges of being an artist and achieving greatness – you are loved and revered in your moment of glory, and you are all alone in your moment of despair. His story is also a lesson for us about how art can only survive and thrive in an enabling and supportive environment. Recognition and accolades mean very little when it’s too late.
Our hope is that when the curtains come down, every one of you will leave Istana Budaya feeling lifted, and for those who miss and love P.Ramlee as much as we do, a joyful sense of reminiscence.
Laugh, cry and enjoy…