PLAYING a secondary character in Ola Bola The Musical, earned hip-hopper Altimet a roaring applause and standing ovation from audiences and director Puan Sri Tiara Jacquelina at the musical’s preview night in Istana Budaya last Wednesday, due to his “perfect” portrayal of Drill Sergeant Ahmad.
The 40-year-old, whose real name is Ahmad Abdul Rahman, is a newcomer to musical theatre.
Dressed in a military uniform, strutting around the stage and commanding his new batch of “trainees” — the Harimau Malaya team of 1980 — in rap form, he stole the show as Sergeant Ahmad the moment he was introduced at the end of the musical’s first half.
“Altimet possesses strong work ethics, and his passion to learn knows no bounds. Even though I told him he needn’t attend classes conducted by our acting coach, Joanna Bessey, he took the trouble to do so weekly,” said Tiara after the show.
She said Altimet got along with everyone in the Ola Bola The Musical ensemble, especially young actors who played the national footballers.
“He told them that he was as new as they were and asked them for feedback on his ‘nastiness’ as the no-nonsense army officer he played. The footballers always looked forward to rehearsing with him.”
Altimet, she added, also made sure he was “fully booked” for the musical, which begun its month-long run on Thursday, but had to excuse himself tomorrow to perform at Anugerah Juara Lagu 32 in Axiata Arena, Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur.
His song, Amboi, is one of the finalists in TV3’s annual music awards show.
“He informed us early about this and, thus, we picked a replacement for him — Weiskarnain Yasin — who usually plays one of the footballers,” said Tiara, adding that Weiskarnain was a star in his own right as a member of dance troupe Giler Battle Crew in 8TV’s Showdown.
Tiara said Altimet met a real sergeant to prepare himself for the role.
“He wanted to go all out to make an impact in the musical and, thus, we arranged for him to meet a retired military officer who could guide him, and it worked wonders!”
Altimet, she said, was a good role model for first-time theatre actors.
Ola Bola The Musical, produced by Enfiniti Productions, is staged from Feb 8 to March 11 at 8.30pm daily. By Dennis Chua