Stunned by Star Wars inspired wayang kulit

Time, distance or expense were no barrier to Star Wars fans bent on catching the Star Wars inspired wayang kulit show, Peperangan Bintang, at the 12th Johor Baru Arts Festival at the Mall at Medini in Nusajaya last weekend.

The shadow play portrayed popular Star Wars characters like
the hulubalang empayar (storm troopers of the Galactic
Empire), Puteri Leia (Princess Leia) and Sangkala Vedeh
(Darth Vader) in amazing detail
The exhibition of wayang kulit puppets opened from 10am for visitors to admire the intricate details that went into creating the puppets for the traditional shadow play or wayang kulit.

Fans of Star Wars could easily identify familiar characters like the hulubalang empayar (storm troopers of the Galactic Empire), Puteri Leia (Princess Leia) and Sangkala Vedeh (Darth Vader) that were designed in amazing detail.

The fusion wayang kulit project is the brainchild of founder, Tintoy Chuo, in collaboration with Tok Dalang or master puppeteer, Muhammad Daim Othman, better known as Pak Daim.

Chuo, a graphic designer specializing in character design, and his senior art director friend, Teh Take Huat, were the brains behind the creation of the Star Wars characters into Kelantan-style wayang kulit puppets.

The signature scrolling-script opening scene: "In a galaxy
far, far away..." of the Star Wars inspired wayang kulit
in Malay
Pak Daim, the 13th accredited Tok Dalang of Kelantan traditional Malay shadow play is also the author of “The Kelantan Malay Traditional Shadow Play”, a well-research record of Malaysian wayang kulit which serves as a valuable reference on this traditional art form.

Participants at the afternoon workshop sessions in the arts festival, learnt the finer points of Kelantan traditional shadow play from a briefing by Pak Daim that was followed by a hands-on session in tooling the puppets and colouring the figures.

After Pak Daim and his team demonstrated a traditional performance of the Kelantan-style shadow play, Chuo introduced the key characters of the Star Wars inspired wayang kulit for Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.

Using photos of the Star Wars characters, Chuo showed the audience how the Star Wars inspired puppets were created against traditional hero and villain wayang kulit characters while retaining distinctive Star Wars features like costumes, hair-style and head-dress.

Ahmad Fauzen Adzim, Adam Harris and Hazriel Hazeq,
[Left to Right] came all the way from Batu Pahat to
catch the Star Wars inspired wayang kulit show in
"I’m so impressed with the Star Wars characters as wayang kulit puppets and my favourite is their R2D2, a non-human character renamed, “Ah Tuh” and designed after the shape and motifs of the Sultan Abdul Samad Building in KL,” said Joanne Wong, who came to watch the show with her adult son.

“The choice of Star Wars is relevant and the marriage between a traditional art form and such futuristic characters, is a very good concept,” said Adam Harris, a Star Wars fan who brought his friends Ahmad Fauzen Adzim and Hazriel Hazeq, students from Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia (UTHM), all the way from Batu Pahat to catch the show in Nusajaya.

“Wayang kulit is a dying art and we have to do more to keep it alive,” said Chuo who was clearly pleased with the overwhelming response in the two full-house shows at their first appearance at the JB arts fest.

A version of this was published in The Malaysian Insider on 15 Sept 2015

1 comment:

  1. Morning Ms. Peggy! Great article! My pals and I are ecstatic that you featured us in your article, though I would like to point out that you misplaced the names of said pals (not that its a big of a deal). Anyways have a great day ahead and keep on writing! Best wishes!