Thursday, July 5, 2012

An all-Malay Theatre Production Titled "Beng Hock"


The Sun Daily 29 June 2012 - On July 6, the Rumah Anak Teater (RAT) is likely to raise some eyebrows with their latest theatre production titled "Beng Hock".

The 45-minute theatre production is based on a the tragedy of three years ago when political aide Teoh Beng Hock was found dead on the fifth floor of Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC ) Selangor headquarters in Shah Alam.

Prior to that, he was taken into custody as a witness, to allegations of corruption that involved his employe and held for eight hours.

The play that will be presented at KLPac, In Kuala Lumpur for three days starting July 6, for free and at PenangPac in Penang for two days, starting July 13 at RM 15.

"We are not trying to be controversial by staging this production," said Faisal Mustaffa, the executive producer of the Teoh and the managing director for RAT.

"If you look at our track record, you will know RAT has been staging plays that talks on issues that affect our society. Beng Hock died during interrogation. He was not even a criminal. He was called as a witness. What happened to Teoh is a terrible tragedy."

Faisal pointed out that Teoh is not the only victim here and his death brought pain to everyone who had loved him.

"His parents lost a son. His fiancé lost someone she loves. His unborn child then never got to know his father," said Faisal.

He stressed that the main aim of this production is not to point to fingers at anyone but to emphasis what happened to Teoh should not have happened to anyone.

"We just want things to change for better.

"Such appalling acts should not be tolerated and should not be repeated."

Directing the play is Hariry Jalil, his second time on the director chair. The first play he directed was called Kasim Selamat Tidak Buta Dan Sabariah Benar-Benar Mati, that was inspired from P Ramlee's famous film, Ibu Mertuaku.

Hariry had taken a stand not to meet Teoh's family and fiancée.

"We wanted our script based solely on the reports we read from royal commission of inquiry," said Hariry, who has also acted in 10 other plays.

"We wanted our script to be objective and remain true to the facts. If we have met with his family and his fiancée, this goal will be difficult to achieve. We would have formed some kind of attachment with his family and his fiancée. We would get carried away with our emotions and I do not want the audience to say we were biased in presenting our facts."

By just reading the reports from royal commission of inquiry, Hariry admits it is a sad story.

"Teoh was about to get married to the woman he loved.

"He must have been excited to start this new chapter in his life. But his love story didn't have a happy ending just like some of the great romances of Romeo and Juliet, and Laila and Majnun. I try to explore what stopped his love story from a happy ending, " said Hariry.

Another unique decision RAT is taking is having an all-Malay cast comprising Aloy Paradoks, Azrul Azizi, Amerul Affendi and Shufitri Sukardi. The lead character Beng Hock, will be seen but not heard and played by a Malay actor. The play will be presented in Bahasa Malaysia.

"We could have easily cast Chinese actors in this production. We decided not to do that.

"When Beng Hock's case was going on, we often heard comments from certain quarters who said the Malays should not get involved in Beng Hock's issue because this is not a Malay issue.

" But what happenned to Beng Hock is not a Chinese issue - it could happen to any of us. The casting of the production and the fact we are presenting this play in Bahasa Malaysia simply proves this fact," said Faisal.

The play will have five actors recalling the incident through a series of monologues, with a minimum set, comprising of chairs and lighting to create the intense environment. The audience will be seated on the floor.

(For more information on the play and reserve a seat, please email to

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