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June 23rd, 2009 03:12

Preserving Folk Tales


Preserving Folk Tales
Tragedy strikes Pak Pandir (Asbali Ahmad)
and his wife due to the former`s foolishness
in Pak Pandir the Musical.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia- Ask any young child about popular TV series like Hannah Montana, iCarly and Zoey 101 and he or she might give you an earful on these shows. Next, try asking about Malay folk tales like Puteri Gunung Ledang, Si Luncai, Pak Pandir or Bawang Putih, Bawang Merah. Don`t be surprised if the child appears puzzled or asks the relation between a garlic, onion and folklore.

In its efforts to nurture interest in popular Malay folk tales, the Petronas Performing Arts Group (PPAG) presents the hilarious showcase Pak Pandir The Musical (PPTM) on June 17 and 18 (8.30pm) at Dewan Filharmonik Petronas in KLCC, Kuala Lumpur.

PPAG director Hartini Abdullah said the folk tale was selected to help preserve Malaysia`s traditional legacy and expose the younger generation to the moral values embedded in the story.

“Many youngsters may have never heard about Pak Pandir or learnt the moral lessons behind the tale. Perhaps it has become less important or even largely forgotten by the younger generation as there is not much emphasis on folklore. It is vital to remember such stories as it is part of Malaysia`s heritage,” said Hartini during a press preview of the musical in Kuala Lumpur recently. “Pak Pandir was made into a movie titled Pak Pandir Moden in the 1970s, but never a musical. Hopefully, audiences will enjoy PPAG`s offering as it is entertaining and humorous.”

Hartini, who was producer for PPAG`s previous works like Gema & Rasa and Raja Bersiong, said the musical showcases new choreography and works from the group`s 45 new talents. The production also comprises 22 musicians.

“The production team has been working very hard to ensure the musical`s success. It took a long time to conceptualise the show as the cast needed to brush up on their vocal skills and dance routines,” she added.

Rehearsals for the musical commenced in January. PPTM narrates the story of a poor couple who lives in a village.

Pak Pandir (Asbali Ahmad) is a one-dimensional simpleton. His naïvete is reflected in how his performance of daily chores results in disasters. This upsets his wife, Mak Andeh (Haslinda Mohd Ali), and it reaches the climax when he unintentionally kills his baby.

The musical is helmed by director/scriptwriter Zahari Hamzah, music director Ahmad Muriz Che Rose, dance director A Sam Palal and choreographer Rozilah Abdul Rahman.

Since the folk tale exists as an oral tradition, Zahari based the story by referring to research material by colonial administrator Sir R.O. Winstedt as well as his memories of the tale, as told to him by his late grandmother.

He added the story has been tweaked from its original script to make it more entertaining.

“A few episodes have been injected with fresh elements to make it relevant to today`s lifestyle. To spice it up, there is a good blend of songs with comedic and moral elements.”

Pak Pandir the Musical will be staged at Dewan Filharmonik Petronas in Petronas Twin Towers, KL from June 17-18 (8.30pm). Tickets are priced at RM15, RM30, RM50 and RM60. For bookings, call 03-2051 7007 or e-mail dfp_boxoffice@petronas.com.my. Alternatively, browse www.malaysiaphilharmonic.com. Sheela Chandran

Source: TheStar.com.my (June 15th, 2009)

 

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