Traditional Theatre in Malaysia _Wayang Kulit Shadow Puppet

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					 Traditional Theatre in Malaysia
(Wayang Kulit Shadow Puppet &
   Mak Yong Dance Theatre):
     Finding New Audience
         Zulkifli Mohamad, phd
      Cultural Centre, University of
         Malaya, Kuala Lumpur
Wayang Kulit Shadow Puppet
  Wayang Kulit – Wayang Jawa(Johor),
 Wayang Siam(Kedah), Wayang

    2 Traditions of Ramayana – thru Kelantan,
 from Khmer before 15th century, thru Melaka,
 Javanese sanskrit version from Java.
Wayang Kulit Kelantan
       Wayang & Dalang

  300 Wayang Kulit Dalang
(Puppeteer) in Kelantan in 1969

 In 2007, less than 10 Dalang in
Kelantan, probably 2 Dalang in
Kuala Lumpur.
  Mak Yong Dance Theatre
   Some scholars says Mak Yong derived
from Manora & some says it derived from
Main Peteri.
   The Queen of Pattani presented Mak
Yong to foreign dignataries in 1600s.
   Developed to have 12 main stories –
Kings, Queens, Princes & Princesses
   In 2007, less than 10 Mak Yong
primadonnas in Kelantan, 2 in Kuala
Mak Yong Primadonnas
 Banning of Wayang Kulit &
  Mak Yong Performances
  In 1991, Kelantan State Government
under PAS(Pan Islamic Party) banned
Wayang Kulit, Mak Yong, Manora
Dance Theatre & Main Peteri Ritual
Theatre – due to un-Islamic practices,
including banning the women in
various performances (Halal-Haram &
Aurat regulation in Islam)
  New Life in Federal Territory
   In 1994, Ministry of Culture, Arts & Tourism
set up National Arts Academy (ASK)
   In 1994, Awarded Hamzah Awang Hamat,
the Dalang Wayang Kulit as National Artist
  In 1994, ASK appointed Hamzah and Mak
Yong primadonna, Khadijah as traditional
arts teachers – artist in residence
 Happening at Aswara & Istana
  Since the establishment of Istana
Budaya (National Theatre) in KL in
1999, 3 Mak Yong performances were
staged, set up small bangsal Wayang
Kulit in the compound for KL Music Fest
 ASK(Now ASWARA) staged Mak
Yong every year (the dance theatre part,
not the music)
        Back in Kelantan
   Wayang Kulit performance every
Saturday nite at Gelanggang Seni in
Kota Bharu, for tourism
   One of the Mak Yong stories, Dewa
Muda, being performed in main peteri
ritual healing in remote villages
   Wayang Kulit and Mak Yong are
allowed only for research and
education purposes, permission from
Municipal Council in Kota Bharu
Traditional Theatre in Education

  USM in Penang strarted teaching
Mak Yong & Wayang in the early 1980s
  UITM adopted the teaching of Mak
Yong, Wayang Kulit & Manora
  UM – traditional theatre, alternating
between Mak Yong, Wayang Kulit,
   Problems in Higher Learning
   Recognition of traditional artists,
education qualification >>>low salary
   Ability to adapt in new environment –
living in the city and its way of life
   Ability to teach, articulate >>> more
like apprenticeship – require time
   Inability of students to learn and
perform >>> exposure to traditional
  Situation withTheatre Studies
  Traditional theatre is just one subject
as a basis, basic knowledge for
  Many theatre subjects to be taught –
western theatre, Asian theatre,
contemporary theatre as well as
Malaysia’s new favourite form – musical
theatre (Ministry of Culture’s definition
of theatre)
What’s Next?
     Story of Monkeys
New Traditional Dance Theatre
Hanuman Kera
(the white monkey)
    Continuation of Tradition or
    Invention of New Tradition
   New theatre work adapted from
traditional text – Ramayana
  Wayang Orang is not found in
Malaysia, new thing
   Movement vocabularies from –
shadow puppet, silat martial arts, Asyik
dance and Mak Yong dances.

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