Patung Kertas - The Paper Doll Extraordinaire

We arrived at MTC, Jalan Ampang a little after 7pm - it was still early as my office was nearby. We then decided to walk around snapping photos of the beautifully lit MTC - previosuly known as MATIC and later seated in the auditorium a little before 9pm.

It was indeed an entertaining evening filled with laughter as the Mak Nyahs were such lively people. We laughed all the way throughout although we couldn't relate to some of the more Mak Nyah's inclined dialogues but it was within context and could easily be inferred. I've personally known some of them in my life of 33 years. One being an employee of my father at the florist he used to have a very long time ago. This play, about the poor but blessed souls who are always looked down upon and misunderstood, reminded me of the 'kakak' at my dad's shop who was really nice, pleasant and indeed very pretty. She was very hard working and trustworthy with the store's money. I wonder where she is now.

With that being said, I think that that was the essence of the play 'Patung Kertas' - Mak Nyahs are actually like every one of us, they have feelings and are as responsible, despite them being loud and sometimes 'naughty'. I would just say they're playful. Of course, again like any one of us, there would really be some really mischievous ones and these are the ones who tarnish the rest of the Mak Nyah community.

Dato' Jalaludin Hassan deserves a pat on the back for his daring move to act in this play - although from my readings I understand that his father the famous ustaz was against the idea. Well, I personally think as an actor, this would mean a boost to his already popular status. Patric Swayze became one in Priscilla Queen of the Desert and I think that helped gained his popularity. You need not become one by acting like one, if you know what I mean. After the play, I met Dato' for his autograph. His face showed a kind of relief - perhaps as the play ends last night, so does his worries about society's perception towards his involvement in the play with such extraordinary and colourful people.

I love the emcee character. She/he was funny and not just because the script requires him to interact with the audience but it is his personality that brought the play alive. I also love the 'Pondan Gila' character (can't really recall the character's name - mcm ada bunga-bunda kenanga kot nama dia) - a former half-woman Mak Yong dancer, he was lively and what i really love about this character is that he sang his song live while other characters only mimed to their recorded music. To me, for a play to be called musical, the actors will definitely have to sing live.

The play ended at slightly after 11pm with a cheque presentation ceremony by Noryn Aziz to the Malaysian diva Azean Irdawaty to help her with her cancer treatment. Audiences were treated to lucky draws and KN won a Nestle hamper set - how lucky, jealous tau!

Honestly I would love to see Patung Kertas produced on a bigger Vegas-like scale, with extravagant lighting, props, sound mixing and more realistic musicale air in it.

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