After three years of postponement, ‘Forkbeard: A Viking Musical Odyssey’ is finally making its debut in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, this weekend, from October 27 to 29, 2023, at KLPac.
The storyline and characters draw inspiration from the legendary “Battle of Svolder” in the year 1000 AD and have been crafted by the accomplished Dr. Nancy P. Jenster, who serves as both the writer and producer.
While Viking tales may be unfamiliar in Malaysia, the historic heroes featured in this production are well-recognized figures in the Northern regions. Notable among them is the Danish Viking leader of the musical, Forkbeard (Svend Tveskæg), and his Norwegian adversary, Olav Tryggvasson.
Jenster and Karam Tabba, the Director and Production Manager, were all set to stage the show in Penang in March 2020. However, just two days before the opening night, Malaysia entered a lockdown due to the pandemic, forcing a delay.
A cherry on top
Now, the production is back on track, and although the Viking theme may be somewhat unconventional for Malaysian audiences, the true appeal, according to Tabba, lies in the narrative.
“It was the story. A tale of struggles that caused a decade-old friendship to go up in flames. It’s about greed driving players to do horrendous things, and love pushing people to sacrifice everything. This story is relevant now more than ever. The viking setting is just the cherry on top,” says Tabba, and hopes that the characters’ relatable experiences will resonate with the audience.
Jenster’s personal connection to Nordic legends may be attributed to her Danish husband. In an interview with The Star, she expressed how she found inspiration in the sound of crashing waves on Danish beaches, realizing that this was what the Vikings had heard just a century ago.
Read the full interview with Jenster and Kabba here.