Star Wars themed wayang kulit performance has introduced art form to new generation

Peperangan Bintang founder Tintoy Chuo holding two DC Comic characters Batman and The Flash puppets which is set to make their wayang kulit debut soon. Pic by ABDUL RAHMAN EMBONG/The Star

NUSAJAYA: In a galaxy not that far away, the traditional wayang kulit has been infused with characters from the Star Wars movies.

Peperangan Bintang founder Tintoy Chuo, 42, said he came up with the idea in May, 2012 when he and his friend Teh Take Huat were involved in an art project together.

He said they wanted to come up with something different that the arts scene had not experienced before.

“This is when we came across wayang kulit which had become a forgotten art form here.

“Many people perceive wayang kulit as old-fashioned and even we knew little about it.

“This led us to go to Kelantan to find a wayang kulit performer but none of them were keen as they did not like our idea of making puppets using Star Wars characters,” he said at the start of the show held in conjunction with the JB Arts Festival at Mall of Medini.

Kelantanese puppeteer Muhammad Dain Othman (popularly known as Pak Dain) then contacted him through Facebook and expressed a desire to be part of the project.

“Pak Daim is a 13th generation wayang kulit puppeteer and his contribution really helped us.

“However, it was quite tough initially as he had never watched any Star Wars movie.

“To familiarise him with the theme, we asked him to watch Star Wars IV: A New Hope.

“We really identified with the movie’s theme and title as we are trying to give wayang kulit a new lease of life,” he said, adding that Peperangan Bintang also received approval from Lucas Arts to use characters from the movie franchise.

Chuo pointed out that Peperangan Bintang still uses traditional musical instruments just like any wayang kulit performance.

“However, we have incorporated elements like speakers and visual effects into the performances.”

Despite their efforts to bring wayang kulit to a wider audience, Chuo admitted some quarters have expressed disquiet about their version.

“However, I am happy to report their perception is slowly changing,” he said.

He added that his team had travelled throughout Malaysia as well as Singapore and their performance had been well-received by the younger generation.

Chuo said that the team has other projects in the pipeline including incorporating characters like Batman and Superman in a wayang kulit performance.

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