A strong morality story of ideas over political expedience

English playwright Robert Bolt’s A Man For All Seasons (AMFAS), which opens on Dec 7 at Pentas 2, Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (KLPac), presents a really pertinent query.

Are we keen to face by the ideas and beliefs we maintain on dearly to?

The play’s protagonist Sir Thomas Extra paid dearly and sacrificed excessive workplace, his social standing and, in the end, his life for staying true to his ideas and conscience.

“Folks watching A Man For All Seasons would in all probability ask themselves, ‘Might I be that good?’. We might like to suppose we will however when push involves shove, would we do it?” says Scottish stage actor Charles Donnelly, who performs the titular position right here.

Certainly, it was this theme that fairly instantly caught the eye of Joe Hasham, The Actors Studio (TAS) and Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre’s (KLPac) co-founder and creative director, who directs this newest manufacturing, when he first learn it a long time in the past.

He went on to stage it at Panggung Bandaraya DBKL in 1991 and as soon as extra in 2004 at TAS in Bangsar, KL.

“The play has a robust sense of perception and ideas is a really robust theme. You’ve obtained the primary character who many would suppose is one thing of a idiot due to the way in which he believed that his God was higher than his king and nation.

“God above all the things else. That is the journey this man takes and it’s such a robust story. I used to be merely riveted by it, ” says the 70-year-old director in a current interview.

The cast and production team at a recent rehearsal for the show 'A Man For All Seasons'. Photo: The Star/Sam ThamThe solid and manufacturing workforce at a current rehearsal for the present ‘A Man For All Seasons’. Picture: The Star/Sam Tham

Hasham has gone again to this highly effective work to conclude TAS’ 30th anniversary celebration this yr. This present is supported by Yayasan Hasanah and British Council Malaysia.

The 180-minute A Man For All Seasons (with a 15-minute intermission) options Donnelly, 69, Patrick Teoh, 72, Qahar Aqilah, 37, Debra Teng, 50, Mia Sara Shauki, 20, Colin Kirton, 59, Reza Zainal Abidin, 51, Vale Wong, 36, Na’a Murad, 54, Omar Ali, 36, Tung Jit Yang, 29, Murtada Ibrahim, 38, Axyr William, 20 and Hannan Barakbah, 26.

The play, which was tailored right into a a number of award-winning film in 1969, is loosely primarily based on the historic occasions main as much as the unlucky execution of Sir Thomas Extra (Donnelly), the 16th century Chancellor of England.

Extra resolutely refuses to endorse King Henry VIII’s (Na’a) want to divorce his spouse Catherine of Aragon, who didn’t bear him a son, in order that he might marry Anne Boleyn.

As a religious Catholic, Extra stands by his ideas, even on the danger of his life, regardless of many makes an attempt by the king to egg him on. This doesn’t sit properly together with his rival Thomas Cromwell (Teoh), a lawyer and statesman, who’s infuriated with Extra’s defiance.

“I’m the unhealthy man within the story. Cromwell is bold and ruthless and needs to assist engineer Henry’s divorce from Queen Catharine. He isn’t past deceit and utilizing perjury to get his means. He sees Extra as a most unreasonable particular person and doesn’t perceive his want to stay to his ideas to the purpose of dying, ” says Teoh, who initially performed Cardinal Wolsey in TAS’s 1991 manufacturing.

Na'a Murad plays King Henry VIII. Interestingly, his brother Jit Murad, played the same role in the 2004 production of the play. Photo: The Star/Sam ThamNa’a Murad performs King Henry VIII. Curiously, his brother Jit Murad, performed the identical position within the 2004 manufacturing of the play. Picture: The Star/Sam Tham

Teoh remembers his first steps into the world of theatre with this manufacturing.

“On the time, Joe and Faridah (Merican) had been associates and shoppers of my recording studio for his or her promoting work. Joe had carried out an performing course previous to that manufacturing by which I used to be a scholar.

“After the course, he casually requested me if I want to be solid in a play that he and Faridah can be producing. And I, simply as casually stated sure. Joe solid me within the position of Cardinal Wolsey, the Lord Chancellor. My scene with Thomas Extra, performed by the late Leslie Dawson lasted all of six or seven minutes I believe.

“And the remaining, they are saying, is historical past. I used to be lucky that the critics had been variety and from that first step on the boards I started to get affords from different theatre corporations in addition to from Joe and Faridah for his or her later productions.”

Twenty eight years later, Teoh lastly will get his want to play his most popular position on this play.

“Even again then, I had advised Joe that the position I want to play is that of Cromwell, ” he mentions.

Is that this upcoming present additionally a well timed dialog piece in relation to Malaysia – previous, current and future?

“My world view? The Malaysia of 1991 was… just a little completely different from the Malaysia Baharu of right this moment. For me, in additional methods than one, it was a greater Malaysia. We felt nearer as residents of 1 nation, we labored onerous, collectively, we revered and understood one another’s religions, cultures and distinctive wants. We had been extra Malaysian than Malays, Chinese language, Indians and others, ” says Teoh.

Reza Zainal Abidin (left), Axyr William and Mia Sara Shauki play Signor Chapuys, Chapuy's attendant and Lady Alice More respectively in 'A Man For All Seasons'. Photo: Sam Tham/The StarReza Zainal Abidin (left), Axyr William and Mia Sara Shauki play Signor Chapuys, Chapuy’s attendant and Girl Alice Extra respectively in ‘A Man For All Seasons’. Picture: Sam Tham/The Star

On stage, the exchanges between Cromwell and Extra are certain to be explosive.

Ultimately, Extra refuses to present in to the king’s demand it doesn’t matter what and was convicted of treason and at last executed.

Extra was additionally a featured character within the hit tv collection The Tudors (2007), which chronicles the life and exploits of King Henry VIII.

“Here’s a man with very robust morals, religious, robust willed and principled. One thing we don’t discover these days sadly, ” says Hasham.

“Having gone by a Catholic upbringing myself, I can relate very strongly to him. It’s one thing you possibly can’t shake off which is why I can’t perceive individuals who don’t have or reside by ideas.”

Donnelly, who’s no stranger to the KL stage, agrees with Hasham. However the Glasgow-born stage actor believes the viewers may “take a look at the character and say he’s an fool. Why doesn’t he simply give in and reside the most effective life he probably can?”

Describing his character as “sophisticated”, Donnelly, whose stage credit in KL embrace Somebody Who’ll Watch Over Me (2011 and 2012), The Full Works Of William Shakespeare (Abridged) (2012) and Shakespeare’s Males (2016), says Extra stands out as a result of he was so intelligent.

“He was centered and knew precisely the best factor to do. Nevertheless it’s not straightforward being him and in the end, he paid dearly together with his life.”

Ultimately, whereas the play could also be a basic and historic in nature, Bolt offers with very actual and related themes.

“All of it boils right down to, ‘Can I reside with myself?’. So long as I can get up each morning and sleep each evening and say ‘Sure, I can reside with myself. I’m fantastic and pleased’, then all’s good.

“However there are occasions to have the ability to try this, it’s a must to do sure issues and never conform. Don’t simply do one thing as a result of individuals need you to, ” cautions Hasham.

“Really, it’s that factor about trying within the mirror and asking whether or not you want trying on the particular person trying again at you, ” concludes Donnelly.

A Man For All Seasons performs at Pentas 2, KLPac, Sentul Park, Jalan Strachan, off Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah in KL from Dec 7-14. Showtimes: Dec 7 (8pm), Dec 10-14 (8pm). Dec eight and 15 reveals at 3pm. Tickets: RM100, RM80 and RM60. Extra data: www.klpac.org.

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