Silat show to kick off festival

WITH its graceful and intricate movements, one may forget that silat is a very lethal form of martial arts.

Practised by Malay fighters since the dawn of its civilisation some 2,000 years ago, the majestic martial art was used by warriors in warfare to defend their homeland.

Now, the power and grace of this martial art will be performed as a musical theatre performance titled ‘Silat — Our Heritage For The World’ commissioned especially for the gala opening of George Town Festival 2012 (GTF).

Directed by the award-winning director/producer Saw Teong Hin from the Puteri Gunung Ledang fame, the show will make its premier during the opening of GTF on Friday.

On how the story came to fruition, Saw said he had always been fascinated by the story of Hang Tuah and Hang Jebat.

“The performance actually centres around the beginning of the friendship between the two warriors until the eventual confrontation,” said Saw.

“From this performance, audiences will get to understand the important points of view, like Hang Tuah being the beholder of duty and Hang Jebat the beholder of justice.”

Dubbed as a hybrid theatrical presentation, the Penang-born Saw said the show is a modern presentation of a traditional art.

“The performance does retain some of silat’s elements but it is mostly a dance interpretation of the martial art,” he said, adding that there would also be wayang kulit elements in the show.

However, the production had its fair amount of obstacles and challenges.

“The fact that this has never been done before, it took some time persuading the pesilat (silat practitioners) to participate in the show.

“Plus, with this being a big production, not many of them can be fully committed performers, so we ended up with not as many perfor-mers as we would have liked,” said Saw.

Those who wish to catch the show can redeem the free tickets by calling the George Town Festival office at 04-2616308.

The public viewing of the show will be held on June 16 at 8.45pm at Fort Cornwallis.

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