Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Philadelphia, Here I Come!

First play of the year: Caught the third run of the local adaptation of Brian Friel's Philadelphia, Here I Come! at KLPac on Tuesday night, the first of the run's 2 flat rate (RM33) nights in KL. 

The foyer was covered in not just fund raising stuff at the entrance, but also press articles from the previous two runs that happened in the 90s. Programmes were going for RM7. The booze was flowing. 

Wasn't expecting to see so many white people in attendance that night, and I'm not being racist or anything. Was even seated next to a pair of white dudes with such serious vocal fry, it was like being around the Kardashian sisters. 

Anyway, here's the copy from KLPac as to what it's about...
The Actors Studio Seni Teater Rakyat proudly presents Philadelphia, Here I Come! for the third time in 2013. The witty comedy drama directed by Joe Hasham OAM. In this adaptation of Philadelphia, Here I Come, we see a picture of middle class Malaysia in Danny Tan, born in Cheras and raised by his father who runs a kedai runcit (sundry shop). Danny is at a cross road. Feeling unfulfilled and unloved, he is searching but unsure. He finally decides to take up his aunt’s offer to join her in Philadelphia and start anew there, leaving behind a former love and an uncommunicative father. But is the grass really greener on the other side?
The genius of Brian Friel is in creating two sides of Danny Tan – the public persona, to be played Jon Chew (Youth Award, SHORT+ SWEET Malaysia 2012) and his alter ego, to be played by Qahar Aqilah (Best Actor, SHORT+SWEET Malaysia 2008). Also in the cast are theatre giants and iconic Malaysians Patrick Teoh and Dato’ Faridah Merican as well as other well-know names like Sandra Sodhy, Radhi Khalid and Lim Soon Heng.
The play is originally set in a fictitious town in Ireland, but it has been adapted to include local references for the local audience. But the essence of the story is still there.

I guess it's a good thing that both the public and private personas are played by different people, or else it would be way confusing. I thought the guy playing the private Danny persona was saying his lines a little too quickly.

I think by the end of the play, there weren't too many dry eyes in the house cos I heard some snot swallowing in the last act that was not just coming from me. What annoyed me more was the weirdly-timed applause every time the lights went out to transition to the next scene - I was like, "Why are you clapping? It's not over yet!". It's probably just me. What cracked me up was someone in the audience exclaiming "OH MAN...!" a little too loudly.

You have until the weekend to catch it, and then the show goes on to Penang. You should check out the ticketing promotions too as there's too many for me to spout here. 

Stray thought:  Saw Gavin Yap, Harith Iskander and their respective spouses. Didn't know the latter was in one of the earlier productions and was not so folicularly-challenged back then.