Langkawi legend Mahsuri gets contemporary narrative in all-female musical theater performance by the sea | Show biz

‘Pulau Sri’ pays homage to both famous Langkawi legend and Kedahan Mek Mulung. – Image courtesy of Suatukala

KUALA LUMPUR, October 28 – A contemporary tale of the Mahsuri legend is expected to delight locals and vacationers in Langkawi during a one-night musical theater performance next month.

However, instead of a traditional theater space, the show will take place outdoors by the sea at the Holiday Villa Beach Resort & Spa in Pantai Tengah.

Title Pulau Sri ?? Never destroy an island with a lie, the original Suatukala community initiative musical theater project was inspired by Kedahan Mek Mulung, a dance form from northern Malaysia that gained popularity in the late 1700s.

The performance will feature an all-female cast of 13, including local talent from Langkawi, led by independent Malaysian artists, poet Sheena Baharudin and musician Takahara Suiko.

Suatukala co-founder Karina Bahrin hopes the show will shed new light on Mahsuri’s history to encourage the revitalization of the island’s many legends.

The legend of Mahsuri tells the story of a woman accused of adultery while her husband was gone to war, which led her to curse the island for seven generations during her execution.

Today, Mahsuri’s Tomb and a dedicated museum are popular tourist attractions in Langkawi.

Karina said Mahsuri has always been portrayed as the victim of crime for centuries and there is little room left for her to retrieve the narrative.

Pulau Sri aims to restore some authority to the legendary figure through a performance focused on women who wants to amplify the voices of women.

“We wanted to make sure the story was told from Mahsuri’s perspective, because if you look at the tales of his story, his voice just doesn’t appear every time,” Karina said. Malaysian courier.

The One Night Only Musical Theater performance is told from Mahsuri's perspective.  - Image courtesy of Suatukala
The One Night Only Musical Theater performance is told from Mahsuri’s perspective. – Image courtesy of Suatukala

“You don’t know her side of the story, you just know this woman’s official line was accused of adultery.”

Karina added that the story explores beyond the traditional narrative and Pulau SriThe way to revitalize it is to expand the dialogue around Mahsuri.

Sheena, who has been doing performance poetry for at least 10 years, said the project pays homage to Mahsuri and Mek Mulung and brings back poetry which is an important storytelling tradition in Malaysia.

More importantly, the performance is a reminder that the aggrieved woman whose voice is silenced is a trope that is not exclusive to the past.

“It’s so contemporary in the sense that we hear news about Ain and everything that makes school a safer place,” Sheena said, referring to the 17-year-old who called her teacher for making rape jokes.

And then there’s actor Fauzi Nawawi who joked about rape on a talk show last week that outraged Malaysians.

“It’s crazy that it makes people laugh – the first thing I said was if it was me, I’m going to curse the country for seven generations.

“There is a lot of anger and fury and I think the anger and the desire to stand up for the truth, I think it’s not difficult to modernize the story or make it modern because the story is universal, ”Sheena said.

Supported by Yayasan Hasanah’s Arts for All Seasons program, the live show serves as a fundraiser for Suatukala’s ongoing initiatives to promote storytelling among the youth of Langkawi.

Takahara, Sheena and Shareen Rahmat at Holiday Villa Langkawi where the show will be staged.  - Image courtesy of Suatukala
Takahara, Sheena and Shareen Rahmat at Holiday Villa Langkawi where the show will be staged. – Image courtesy of Suatukala

The public can also donate a ticket to disadvantaged young people and children on the island.

It is a way to keep the legends of Langkawi alive and make them relevant for present and future generations.

“Giving our youth and children the chance to watch the show will expose them to the wonders of musical theater.

“They are, after all, the keepers of Langkawi’s fables, so it is essential to encourage them to cherish their heritage from an early age and to show them the different ways of telling stories,” said Karina.

For Takahara, who also plays the Penghulu in the project, the opportunity to explore musical theater was too good to pass up and the musician is delighted to inject contemporary elements into Mek Mulung’s musical traditions.

“I’m looking for how I can keep the melodies of the original piece but also combine them with modern sounds like synths, bass and drums.

“I try to make the music contemporary, but also not to interfere with the narrative too much,” she said.

The show will be performed primarily in English with some North Malay.

Musician Takahara will incorporate modern elements into the musical traditions of Mek Mulung.  - Image courtesy of Suatukala
Musician Takahara will incorporate modern elements into the musical traditions of Mek Mulung. – Image courtesy of Suatukala

Pulau Sri is one of the many activities planned as part of Hari Mahsuri, a day dedicated to the woman behind the legend to keep her memory alive.

There will also be a fun run, creative market, music, storytelling and sand art on the route.

To catch Pulau Sri November 27 at 7 p.m. at Holiday Villa Beach Resort & Spa Langkawi.

Tickets can be purchased at RM95 each here.

Those who wish to donate tickets to disadvantaged children and youth can purchase tickets on the site.

If you are not in Langkawi and would like to attend the show, Pulau Sri will stream for free on Suatukala’s Facebook page (@suatukala) at 8 p.m. on December 8.

The streaming event includes a panel session with Sheena and Takahara.

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