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Sunday September 8, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Sunday September 8, 2013 MYT 7:19:44 AM
by allison lai
Shadow play: Eyo and his ‘penutup tirai’ puppet moments after ending a wayang kulit performance.
MALACCA: It was a mesmerising night for the spellbound schoolchildren, parents and teachers as colourful images danced, pranced and fought as local legends were played out.
For those watching for the first time, the wayang kulit – the traditional shadow puppet show of Kelantan – was a fascinating educational experience.
The Tok Dalang, or master puppeteer, nimbly moved and swayed his leather puppets against a musical background of assorted traditional instruments, like the gendang, gedumbak, gong, canang, kesi and serunai.
The children were especially awed by the fighting scenes in the play, when the music appropriately became more heavy and frantic.
The man behind the puppets effortlessly switched voices and roles to match the characters and the storyline. He is a native Kelantanese but he is not a Malay, although he is acknowledged as one of the foremost authorities of wayang kulit in the country.
Tok Dalang Eyo Hock Seng speaks a little English but not a word of any Chinese dialect. When he performs with the shadow puppets that were all painstakingly handmade, he dishes out expressive speeches, songs and some hilarious gibberish in thick Kelantanese dialect.
He and his six-member troupe staged a two-hour show before the crowd of more than 200 at the Pay Fong Middle School hall here on Friday night.
Earlier the same day, show organisers Malacca Chinese Assembly Hall invited some 700 children, parents and teachers for an afternoon performance.
Eyo said his performance here revolved around a prince and a princess from two royal families with the underlying message of unity.
“I am happy to see the turnout. The mood was happy and lively,” said the Tok Dalang, whose 13-year-old son Seck Thei was part of his troupe.
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Family & Community, wayang
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