Kudos to the 60 final-year architectural students of Ungku Omar Polytechnic for making the best out of a minimalistic stage with their first-ever dual musical play entitled, Rumah Kayu x Taj Mahal.

Both provided the audience with moral guidance, the Rumah Kayu narrated the journey of a family entangled in love and revenge, as they complete the traditional Malay house while showcasing the beauty of the local vernacular architecture, a rarity in present time. Who could forget the resounding slap from the father to his misled son towards the end of the show? Equally memorable was the presence of the unibrow village idiot who drew laughter with her antics.

Taj Mahal told the heartwarming story of how a couple’s love, just like the beauty of Taj Mahal, is timeless and bridges generations. Presented in a reverse chronology, I like how the ensemble broke out into dance in the best of sparkling Bollywood costumes, one of the highlights that night.

Both performances were sprinkled with the right amount of comedy to keep it lighthearted and frisky.

Ipoh Echo caught up with the crew behind-the-scenes on Tuesday, March 29 at the auditorium of the Perak Department for Culture and Arts:

“I am satisfied with the show tonight because within a very limited time we managed to pull off a grand project together. At the beginning of the semester, we had voice and theatre training. When we got our script, we just had two months left,” said Kheng Chen Fatt, 21, the project director.

“Set in the 60s in a Malay traditional village, the main message that I’d like to convey to the audience is how a wooden house is built. In the olden days, it was built with wood by carpenters with the blessings of the shaman to ensure that it would not fall apart.  Nowadays, concrete is incorporated, as it is stronger and less expensive than wood,” Nurfaiha Zahari, the 21-year-old director of Rumah Kayu remarked.

Present were Wan Sharizatul Suraya, the head of architectural programme, Mohd Azmi Zulkifli, the head of civil engineering programme and Zuraini, senior assistant of Sekolah Seni (Arts School) in Sungai Siput.

Mei Kuan