Fusing Star Wars characters with the traditional Malaysia Wayang Kulit is one of the coolest things we have seen recently. In conjunction with UNESCO Day, Peperangan Bintang Fusion Wayang will be doing performing live at Dataran Merdeka in Malaysia at 8.30pm, 23rd May 2015. Hop on down if you are in that part of the world.
Wayang Kulit, or Shadow puppetry has been present in Malaysia for hundreds of years and is one of our country’s most identifiable cultural elements. It has always been a unique form of entertainment, with music, beautifully crafted puppets, and complex stories.
In recent years, Wayang Kulit has been fading away from mainstream entertainment, The younger generation don’t always get to experience this art form, or are not aware of its beauty and craftsmanship. Stories are slipping by the wayside, as the Tok Dalangs (master puppeteers) find it difficult to find apprentices to carry this wonderful tradition.
As a Malaysian, I found this a sad situation and after much thought, began to explore the possibilities of not only revitalising the stories told within the Wayang Kulit world, without losing its core elements, but bringing it to a whole new generation of audience. Working together with my good friend, Take Huat, we came up with Peperangan Bintang, bringing together the traditional with the epic space opera that is Star Wars. Combining such a modern cultural icon with a traditional art form would definitely bring audiences back into the Wayang Kulit world.
After our meet up with the committee of the Official Star Wars Malaysian Fan Club (SWmFC), their enthusiasm and support for this project has been most appreciated, with emails by the President to LucasFilm Ltd and with their kind help, we finally obtained approval from the USA to begin in earnest on Peperangan Bintang! Our initial project is based on the Star Wars: A New Hope film with its characters, scenes firmly rooted in the wonders of Wayang Kulit.
We have been grateful for the media interest and coverage, from : TheStar press, NTV 7, the Strait Times Singapore, Utusan Malaysia, BFM 89.9, InspireFM, Focus Malaysia, ConcreteJungle, I.M.magzine, to name a few, but the social media interest has also been most inspiring! So many have expressed their support and growing interest for Peperangan Bintang and making a fully fledged Wayang kulit performance a reality.
Through social media channels, I was introduced to a very famous Tok Dalang (master puppeteer) from Kelantan, Pak Daim, After initial conversations, we were both excited about the possibilities of such a project and we are now working together on this project! We have much respect and admiration for the Tok Dalang and we hope to continue on this journey together to bring Wayang Kulit back into the mainstream. After all, such a wonderful traditional art form should be preserved for generations to come.
Our ultimate goal is to make a full Wayang Kulit production of this much beloved sci-fi story, for which we will need funding and/or sponsors to make this dream a reality.