Wayang kulit makes impressive comeback at one-day workshop in Taiping

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  • Tuesday, 09 Aug 2011

WATCHING wayang kulit or shadow play may be an entertainment of yesteryears but it made an impressive comeback during a one-day workshop in Taiping.

Organised by Muzium Perak recently, the workshop drew about 50 people, including 30 students who were tasked with the job of making traditional wayang kulit characters.

On hand to brief and assist them was Abdul Majid Mohd Noh, popularly known as “Pak Majid Etong”, who also owns a wayang kulit troupe called Kumpulan Wayang Kulit Seri Asun from Kubang Pasu, Jitra, Kedah.

The participants were given photocopies of traditional wayang kulit characters to be reproduced onto a manila card.

They were then required to use a small hammer and a chisel to make miniature holes, enabling light to pass through during the presentation and later to give them a coat of paint.

The delicate task took the participants about eight hours to complete.

A participant Chan Say Lynn, a Sixth Former from SM King Edward, Taiping said she wanted to gain more knowledge about the old art form.

Her classmate Mohd Basrudin Burhanuddin said he loved indulging in artistic activities and planned to participate in future workshops.

Both Chan and Mohd Basrudin emerged second runner-up and first runner-up respectively while Aznil Haniady from SM Taman Tasik was declared the winner.

All three received their prizes from museum curator Nor Hanisah Ahmad.

Earlier, museum staff had to scout for mats to enable the audience to watch the shadow play as the turnout was more than expected.

Backed by six musicians playing traditional instruments such as gedombak (hand-held drums), geduk (drums), canang (percussion) and flute, Pak Majid enthralled the crowd with his wits and humour.

In one of the slots, a local woman greeted a “Mat Salleh” (Western) tourist with broken English and he responded in broken Malay, which left the audience especially the children in stitches.

Two other characters also belted out evergreen Hindi songs, drawing applause from the crowd.

As the shadow play drew to an end, Pak Majid apologised over his impromptu dialogues which might have offended some in the crowd.

Later, Pak Majid told MetroPerak that wayang kulit characters were mainly made from dried cow hide as it was more durable.

Shadow play, he said, had evolved over the years to make it more relevant to today’s audience.

“In the earlier days, it was mostly mystical stuff sourced from Siam but since 1989, I dwell in current issues,” said Pak Majid, father of eight children.

Pak Majid said he took up the art of wayang kulit from his late father Mohd Noh Mahmud.

His shadow play troupe was set up in 1970 and performed mostly in Kedah, Perlis and Perak on invitation.

Currently, three of his children Mohd Firhan 15, Sahwan, 18, and Azman, 28, had joined his wayang kulit troupe as musicians.

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