BENL students enjoy ‘Shakespeare Demystified: MACBETH’ Live

By Irdina Zainudin

KUALA LUMPUR, 25 March 2023: The Secretariat of English Language and Literature (ELITS), in collaboration with the Department of English Language and Literature (DELL), AHAS KIRKHS, IIUM, represented by the Head of Department, Dr Tanja Jonid, organised a trip to the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (KLPAC) last Sunday (19 March) to watch a play entitled Shakespeare Demystified: MACBETH.

“The reason behind the trip is to showcase to the students, especially the Bachelor of Human Sciences in English Language and Literature (BENL) students, the live performance of a professional theatre play, so they can benefit and learn from it,” said programme manager, Sharifah Widad.

She also noted that this was the first time ELITS made a trip to a theatre play, and there would be the possibility of another trip in future. Widad has plans to invite KLPAC for a theatre talk one day, to talk about how theatre is organized, as well as how to conduct one.

The theatre started at 3:00 pm, with a total of five cast members and minimal usage of props and set. Due to the minimalistic nature of the play and considering the theatre group, the KL Shakespeare Players, was a travelling theatre company, hence, all of the cast members played multiple characters.

One of the participants of the trip, Nik Liyana binti Nik Ahmad Zahid, “Shakespeare Demystified lived up to its name in demystifying Shakespeare by simplifying the short story into a 100-minute theatre.” She noted how the play was made easier to understand by providing a more comprehensible dialogue for modern audiences.

Another participant, Siti Sarah Sofea binti Norazman, commented how “fun the new experience of seeing a Shakespearean play was performed by the professionals.” She also mentioned it was interesting since it required more imagination from the audience, who may not be familiar with the setting.

The Advisor of ELITS, Dr Homam Altabaa, said, “The theatre performance has been a good opportunity for the students to get a better understanding of Shakespeare’s play, because the production, as the name implies; simplifies, or demystifies it with explanations added into the play.”

He also acknowledged how the play itself could help the students by giving them ideas on how to conduct a play or produce a play like the Shakespearean play with a small budget.

Dr Homam also stated that there would be the possibility of a repeat of the programme, perhaps of another play and students were also encouraged to suggest any play or cultural event they were interested in, so their participation could be facilitated.

William Shakespeare’s play Macbeth, was about Scottish general Macbeth who assassinated the king after three unknown witches told him he would become King of Scotland. But, owing to his paranoia from the assassination, he had slayed more people, resulting in a civil war to topple him, resulting in more deaths.

The trip was joined by 43 participants, 26 of them were part of ELITS’ members and committees of the programme, and 17 of them were the students of Dr Tanja’s Shakespeare taking the course His Age and Modern Context.

The theatre ended around 5:00 pm, followed by a question-and-answer (QnA) session with the cast members and their stage manager or musician. ***

The QnA session of Shakespeare Demystified: MACBETH

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