Review on Putera Sangkar Maut

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The hall darkens, giving an anticipating atmosphere. Audiences held their breath waiting for the show to begin. A light comes on the stage and we see a man on it. So it begins an epic story of a small Malay community and a secret that will shock them all and eventually be the curse of them.
Putera Sangkar Maut tells the tale of a troubled boy named Azad, who feels he doesn’t belong in his family. Later it is known he is the adopted son to a middle class Malay family who happens to be the heir to the kingdom’s throne. His late father was the evil Maharaja Beruk, who ruled the land without compassion and ripped the villagers of their rights. He tortured those who dared crossed his path or fight him for justice. Eventually a volcano eruption near the land caused his immediate death leaving the baby, who was born out of wedlock, to be saved by a deaf boy. Twenty years later this deaf boy is the adopted father of Azad, known as Pak Baim who raised him and 3 other children.
There are so many elements in this tale that one cannot help but to feel overwhelmed by the emotions and shocking revelations portrayed by the characters. For instance, this story circulates around an intense love triangle as well where Azad fights for the pretty village girl, Aminah’s attention. But unfortunately she has already fallen in love with his step-brother, Uda and both of them have pledged their love for one another. Feeling an immense feeling of jealousy and ego, Azad resorted to raping Aminah out of revenge and lust, and finally impregnates her without anyone knowing. At the same time, another village girl, Rosnah has set her eyes on Uda but got rejected because of her engagement to Uda’s brother, Andak. She feels ashamed and cursed Aminah for stealing Uda’s heart and love.
When Azad was approached by the kingdom’s palace officers, he finally found out the truth about his adoption. He decides to accept his royal blood and heir to the throne and become king of the land. This immediately grabs the attention of the materialistic Rosnah who makes it her mission to get married to Azad in order to become rich and powerful. She meets a bomoh in a faraway place and requests for a special drink that will make Azad fall in love with her and make her his queen. Her plan succeeds up to the foolish point where Azad wants to use the nation’s money and build a monument of love made out of pure gold for her. Even with the advise of his officer of the nation’s financial crisis, Azad stands his ground to get what he wants for Rosnah.
In the midst of wealth and power, Rosnah is found admitting to her evil schemes and Datuk Temenggong coincidentally overheard her. He convinced her to bribe him to keep the secret between them two. Just then Aminah runs into the room and confesses to Rosnah that she’s pregnant with Azad’s child after he raped her. She was immediately murdered by Datuk Temenggong to avoid conflicts in the palace. Rosnah in shock was silent as she contemplated her friend’s fate. A palace maid who saw the murder rushed back to the village and told Uda and his family what happened. Uda was furious and swore vengeance to Azad and his clan. At the same time Pak Baim disappears in search of his adopted son to try to save the situation from more havoc.
The scene has changed into a creepy eerie one. We’re in a dark cave with lone cage in the middle. Legend has it that Maharaja Beruk used the cage to keep traitors and tortured them till their death. Azad and Rosnah are seen with Temenggung discussing about its history when Pak Baim comes running in shouting nonsense. He hands Azad a box of bahulu, a Malay delicacy, to which Azad throws it to the floor and laughed in Pak Baim’s face. He drags Pak Baim into the cage and locks him in it. Just then Uda appears and lunges at Azad with a knife to kill him. He enters a deep-throated battle with Temenggung and Azad, and saves Pak Baim. Suddenly Azad pulls out a gun and shoots them both killing Pak Baim and injuring Uda. In a matter of seconds, Uda’s whole family arrives and joins in the battle to save Uda and Pak Baim.
As if history was repeating itself, the cave trembled and flashing lights were seen on stage, as if lightning has entered the cave and desperately wanted to get out. Everyone started screaming and running for their lives, but they had nowhere to escape. As quickly as it started, everything stopped. And everyone lied dead on the floor, an earthquake of some kind killed the innocent and the perpetrators, except for Rosnah. She stood up, obviously injured from her limp and looked around. She screamed as she saw her husband dead, then a sinister smile came across her face. she laughed maniacally and walked around glee at her husband’s death. She had gone mad from the tragedy of it all and had no more sense of what’s real and what’s not anymore. She let out a breath and falls to her feet. Lifeless.
The stage turns dark.

The crowd anticipated something great of this show. Of course no one expected anything less of the sequel to Maharaja Beruk which received immense praise last year. And the cast and crew of Putera Sangkar Maut didn’t fail the audience. The stage was decorated beautifully to complement the gardens and palace mentioned in the play. The actors no doubt succeeded in grasping the audience’s attention. The breaks in between scenes filled with jokes and performances were a breath of fresh air for the audience to enjoy the play even more. Each scene had its own meaning that told the tragic story of Azad and Uda beautifully. You could feel the pain in both souls when they lost something they once cherished, Azad the love of his young mother, and Uda the lost of the beholder of his heart, Aminah. This story circulates around the theme of greed, love and compassion where excess of one could mean the imbalance of nature. We learnt that hunger for power never ends well, and that love for a person always triumphs. The end is of a tragic one yet sacrifices had to be made in order for happiness to prevail.

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