Ghafir Akbar: I watched Ola Bola when it was released in cinemas in Kuala Lumpur. People who saw it raved about the spirit of the movie and how it highlighted a time in 1976 to 1980 when Malaysia was united behind our football team. I never would’ve imagined that it would be turned into a musical. I have worked with Tiara and Enfiniti before so when they contacted me to come on board, I expressed my interest. But I couldn’t come on board sooner because I was already tied up with productions in Singapore. So, after I closed Medea with Cake late last year, I joined the production as Assistant Director just before they went into rehearsal.
Ghafir: It’s always great when I get the opportunity to develop a new musical. The development of characters and the visuals of the show allows us to dream, and often times with this show dream big. So, I remember having many conversations with the actors individually about their character and contribute that to the writing team to craft into any rewrites. Then see the ideas we’ve collaborated on materialize in the actors and on stage. There was a moment when the entire ensemble did a tour of the stage in Istana Budaya. Then with the stage bare, they sang a couple of their ensemble songs into the empty theatre. It was a beautiful moment to see these young bright performers experience what it might be like to perform on the nation’s biggest stage, then thinking about what the Harimau Malaya would feel like as they walk into the pitch for their Olympic qualifying game.
Ola Bola The Musical plays from 8th February – 11th March 2018 at Panggung Sari Istana Budaya, Jalan Tun Razak, Kuala Lumpur. Tickets available from Galactix.