Contributor: Bayu Wardana (@bayuwardana)
On September 18, 2019, I represented Jaksical to watch Beneath It All, a school production by British School Jakarta. This high school production held for three days from September 18-20, 2019 tells about the life of high school kids with big problem faced at their age: the search for identity.
This production brought several repertoires of familiar musicals such as Dear Evan Hansen, Mean Girls, Heathers, Waitress, Be More Chill, etc. Although not with live music, casts are able to sing a song after song without technical problems. This is supported by Wallace Stage, a theater owned by the British School Jakarta which has good acoustics and facilities, although it is not as big as theater in Jakarta in general. That is also why this show was held for three days because one show was only able to accommodate not more than 100 audiences.
Regarding Wallace Stage Theater which is not too large, the set used is also not too complicated. Each scene is divided into three sets: bedroom, school, living room. The school set is the most widely used by using several properties to distinguish one scene from another. What is memorable from this set is when the character Michael Cooper, played by Dylann Tjahaja sang Michael in The Bathroom. The man in black actually brought the toilet as a property!
After act one, the character of Nellie Andersen previously played by Erika Prihadi was replaced by Rachael Gray. I personally questioned this decision because I liked Nellie’s character and waited for Erika Prihadi’s acting skills on the second act even though Rachael Gray’s were not bad either. Overall, the cast ability in exploring the role is like there is no obstacle because maybe the characters they played can be observed and experienced every day considering they are still high school kids.
This production from British School Jakarta does indeed seem mild. Seen from the theme is the life of teenagers whose problems are not far from first love, popularity, friendship, and relationships with parents. The set used is also not something that can make the audience stunned. One thing that I enjoyed during approximately 2 hours of performance was the acting ability of the casts as they were not separated from the script that was made very smart and entertaining for a school production. The comedy element that doesn’t seem artificial is really helping the audience to enjoy the show minute by minute. That’s the advantage of this show, which is able to present a musical theater production that is simple but memorable. I personally prefer this kind of production over extravagant ones which during the show are always made uncomfortable by some technical errors.
Kudos for the team! This production with promising talent brings some fresh air for the future of musical theater in Indonesia. Hopefully next year I can go back to watching musical theater production of British School Jakarta on a larger scale.