Exiting from Encore Melaka after watching a spectacular 70-minute of performance, I could only exclaim, “Wow!” For someone who hardly gets impressed by anything, I was truly blown away by Encore Melaka. You can say that I have yet to see a big snake defecate (大蛇屙屎). Say what you want, if you ever find yourself in the historic city, Encore Melaka is a definite stop. It will be worth every Ringgit of your ticket.
Opened its doors to the public on 1st July this year, the world-class Encore Melaka is a state-of-the-art production by celebrated director Ms. Wang Chaoge, the creative force behind the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games Opening and Closing Ceremonies. Encore Melaka is a result of Ms. Wang’s 2-year research on Melaka’s history, culture, tradition and her people.
Therefore, through the eyes of Ms. Wang, immerse yourself in the depiction of Melaka’s beginnings and growth through time and space over generations of people, via a myriad of compelling music and dances in a compilation of cultural stories that reflect a society that embraces diversity and inclusiveness.
Kicking off the mega show is a recount of the long forgotten tales of the early voyagers of Parameswara and the legacy of Admiral Cheng Ho’s diplomatic mission, sailing from China with his fleet of ships. From that point, the audience is transported through the eras of indigenous settlement, cross-cultural encounters of Peranakan community, and more.
Performed by 200 local artistes in the three main languages of Malaysia; Bahasa Malaysia, English and Tamil, alongside local dialects as well as Portuguese, Encore Melaka reflects the harmonious cultural mix that exists within the state.
There are a total of seven interwoven stories: Parameswara, Cheng Ho, Nyonya & Wedding, Six Mothers, Pregnant Mothers, Wau, and a Finale to wrap up the entire performance.
Encore Melaka is the newest presentation from China’s iconic Impression Series, established in 2003 by renowned directors Zhang Yimou, Fan Yue, as well as Ms. Wang herself. Ten highly-acclaimed productions have been staged since its inception. Melaka was handpicked, out of 150 contesting countries, by Ms. Wang for the coveted first Impression Series performance staged outside China.
You may still wonder what’s so captivating about Encore Melaka. Well, the answer lies in this Southeast Asia’s first performing arts theatre that features a 360-degree rotating audience platform that faces a 240-metre-long stage with multiple hydraulic stages. During the performance, the 3D projection mapping with intricate theatre props create a virtual reality that takes the audience in a travel through time.
Among the scenes, I was most impressed with the water display. As I watched, I marvelled at how it was possible to have “rain” on stage, and the next minute, it was dry. Oh yeah, the rotating stage slipped my mind. Ah, the wonder of technology!
The design of Encore Melaka theatre was led by chief architect Mr. Wang Ge, specifically for Encore Melaka to deliver an awe-inspiring experience. The geometric ceiling of the building features thousands of fish scale-like LED panels to reflect light from Melaka’s vibrant skyscape. It embodies the cloud and the sea, movement and serenity, where East meets West.
The Encore Melaka theatre with a 2000 seating capacity is located at a prominent site named Impression City, along the city’s waterfront, occupying 15 acres of land in a new tourism-cultural integrated development by Yong Tai Berhad.
For more information about Encore Melaka and ticket details, check out this official website: Encore Melaka.
All images courtesy of Encore Melaka, to respect its policy of no photography/videography during the performance.
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