It was by chance I glanced on FB regarding a critically-acclaimed play that would begin its Third run since it first graced the local theater scene in 1994. “Philadelphia, Here I Come” by Brian Friel was originally written about a family in Ireland, dealing with ordinary issues like father-son relationship, public vs personal persona one shows or hides, and whether the pasture really is greener on the other side.
Joe Hasham, an icon in the Malaysian theater scene, is the Director of the “Malaysianized” version of Friel’s play. Set in Cheras, the story revolves around the Tan family, the father-son team who runs a neighbourhood sundry shop. Growing up with a taciturn dad all his life, Danny Tan had decided to move to the Land of amber waves of grain and purple mountain majesties to pursue his happiness. You may get detailed synopsis of “Philadelphia Here I Come” here.
The AQJ family attended the inaugural show at the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (or fondly called KLPAC) on January 12, primarily to support my brother-in-law’s “comeback” to Malaysian theater after his year-long conservatory at Michael Howard Studios in New York. Ever since high school, he invested time in learning the rudiments of acting on his own (we’re talking about the gamut of facial expressions, gestures, vocal control, etc.)
That kernel of interest grew into an all-consuming passion about every aspect of the industry.
Anyway, I shouldn’t wax lyrical about my clan,… too over the top y’know what I mean?
However, you’re more than welcomed to get to know him.😀
I was a tad worried that my teenage kids would be bored to death in an environment that didn’t involve the use of computers and wifi. While standing in line, my son read the signage on theater etiquette and gasped “omg, there’s intermission? And the play is 2 hours?” I could just picture his mental calculation of the number of “kills” he could make on League of Legends during that same amount of time.
However, to my UTTER surprise, they were engaged in the play from the get-go and for the first time ever, witnessing the awesomeness of their Uncle Qahar on stage (tootin’ our trombones much?)🙂
I did not have any expectations as I settled in my seat apart from the usual “this will be fantastic” largely due to the ensemble cast of veteran powerhouses such as Patrick Teoh, Faridah Merican, Andre D. D’cruz and Sandra Sodhy. I was thoroughly entertained by the synergy the actors showed on stage, and boggled at the amount of dialogue Qahar had to deliver.
No spoilers shall be revealed here, and all I can say is, this play by Joe Hasham is phenonemal, and I highly recommend Everyone to flock at KLPAC. The KL shows end by this Sunday. However, if you’re in the mood to vacay in Penang, you can still catch them at PENANGPAC from 25th to 31st January.
My night ended with bloodshot eyes and constrained bawling (both hands clamped on my mouth) with Mano Maniam sitting next to me.