Wayang kulit goes to NY

  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 18 Apr 2006

NEW YORK: Malaysia is bringing its wayang kulit to the United States, with performances here from April 26 to May 3. 

A 10-member group from the National Arts Academy will perform at the United Nations’ Dag Hammarkjold auditorium and the Malaysian Mission Hall, among other venues. 

Led by internationally-acclaimed master puppeteer Mohd Nasir Yusoff, or better known as Pak Nasir, the group will also perform in New Jersey. 

This will be the first visit by a Malaysian traditional theatre group to the Big Apple, which is the home of Broadway and a world centre for music and culture. 

Besides the academy and the Arts, Culture and Heritage Ministry, the joint organisers of the programme include Tourism Malaysia as well as Malaysia’s permanent mission to the UN and its ladies association. 

Association president and organising committee chairman Datin Amy Hamidon said that by bringing the group here Malaysia would be able to showcase its traditional theatre and music in the Big Apple.  

“The wayang kulit, as an art form, is fascinating and embodies the virtues of life and traditional knowledge – spiritualism, legends and folk tales. 

“It is a mélange of culture, talent and creativity where the tok dalang (or master puppeteer), shows incredible skills as a performer and is highly adept at making the shadow puppets,” she said. 

Amy, the wife of Malaysia’s permanent representative to the UN, Datuk Hamidon Ali, said that bringing the wayang kulit here was to tell New Yorkers and the international community how proud they were of Malaysian traditional art forms and music. 

“My fellow Malaysians as co-organisers here share my desire to showcase the art and traditions of wayang kulit to the wider world and to show them that Malaysia is steeped in culture yet very progressive,” she said. 

The shows will be at the UN International School (April 26); the Dag Hammarksjold Auditorium (April 27); the Malaysian Permanent Mission (April 28 and 29), Lighthouse Theatre (May 1); Yonkers Middle High School (May 2); Eleanor Roosevelt High School, Manhattan (May 2); and Yu Cai Chinese School, Edison, New Jersey (May 3). 

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