Longing for Merchant of Venice reunion in Selama

  • Education
  • Sunday, 02 Aug 2020

EVEN after five decades, Shakespeare’s “Merchant of Venice” play staged by young teachers and civil servants in Selama, Perak, still brings back golden memories to many of us who were involved in it.

Selama, a small cowboy town located about 60km north of Taiping, was a quiet town in the 1960s.

The journey from Taiping took about an hour and twenty minutes, crossing jungles, oil palm and rubber estates. Monkeys and wild boar could be seen crossing the road.

Teachers and some government servants met at Selama Rest House and the characters were chosen from all the ethnic groups to form a goodwill group.

We chose SK Selama, on Jalan Menteri, to have rehearsals every night from 8pm until 11pm.

The original version of the play was rewritten in an abridged form so that the rural students and adults understood the language.

Woon Say Moi was appointed as director/producer.

Francis Foo Eng Guan was the make-up man with the assistance of Chuah Lai Beng, who was solely in-charge of the costumes for all the characters.

The important figure who mooted the idea of the play was K.Palanisamy, who sadly passed away in 1987.

Tickets for the play were priced at a mere RM1 for primary school pupils and RM2 for secondary school students.

On the morning of June 10,1968, the first show was staged for the primary school pupils, the second show for secondary school students and the third show was staged for the public.

A total of RM5,000 was collected from the sale of tickets and generous donations from the public.

This amount was donated to all the primary schools and the secondary schools in Selama to help poor students purchase textbooks and stationeries.

It is my fervent hope to get in touch with teachers and government servants who were in service in the years 1964 to 1975, and were part of this project, so that a visit can be arranged to Selama to relive these nostalgic memories.

I am reachable at 013-2803605 or periasamy130@gmail.com.


Setiawan, Perak

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