SeSMS students bring life to Sarawakian legend in ‘Bangsawan Putera Semeran’
The extraordinary thespian talents of the younger generation got a chance to shine onstage during the ‘Bangsawan Putera Semeran’ theatre performance presented recently at the auditorium of Sekolah Seni Malaysia Sarawak (SeSMS).
A total of 65 students brought the play to life, with a cast made up of eight Form 5 students who played the main roles, and Form 1 to Form 4 students playing the supporting characters.
Their meaningful and entertaining performance was the result of expertise provided by SeSMS theatre coaches including Andenn Hasan, Slyvester Kegan, Moh Azam Rezali Amy Nurardini, Nurain Lambertus, Nor Hafiza Pandi and Ricky Raca’ Kimwah.
“The choice of ‘Bangsawan Putera Semeran’ this year was in view of the abilities and talents of the students to carry out their roles,” said Ricky who is also the Head of the Art of Theatre at SeSMS and project coordinator of the play.
“The Putera Semeran character was an adaptation of Sarawak’s legend of Bujang Semeran that is not known to many and the script was grounded in elements of Malay culture by incorporating silat into the play.”
The performance was also intended to meet the requirements of Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) which entails candidates to stage two types of theatrical plays – realistic and traditional theatre.
“The students will be evaluated in terms of production management and acting as stated in the standard of the subjects of art and performance evaluations of school-based assessment (PBS),” said Ricky.
Ricky pointed out that the evaluation marks will be determined through the appeal system and will undergo two phases: the school appraiser and outside appraisers which consists of lecturers, usually from several higher learning institutions (IPTA) including Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI), Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM), Akademi Seni Budaya dan Warisan Kebangsaan (Aswara), and Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM).
“This time, the theatre appraisers are from Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris,” he added.
Prior to staging of the play, students were assigned to do a research paper for individual production for individual act by choosing any of plays, short stories or novels as a script reference.
The students were then required to select elements that they want to adopt from the original script to manuscript that they will have to prepare according to the theme set by the Malaysian Examination Board.
“This year, the theme of the play was battle, harmony and progress in realist theatre,” said Ricky.
After that, the students make individual preparations on the scripts. After completing their scripts, students were required to stage their play with aspects of cinemography and technical aspects of the stage play to be assessed by the national and outside appraisers.
When asked about the students’ performance on the show, Ricky said that he was happy because the students showed their own great talents.
“The play went smoothly as planned. The students understand and apply the learning process in the classroom to actual stage successfully. I am very grateful,” said Ricky who hopes that the play will help promote the calibre of SeSMS students.
“Our hope is that people are able to change the negative view of art as we shape the students to practice human values, character and discipline in line with the slogan ‘Teater Memanusiakan Manusia’,” he added.
Scholar and founder of Sekolah Seni Malaysia Datu Dr Adi Badiozaman Tuah considered the theatrical play – which combines many elements of other forms of arts including music, dance, costumes and makeup – as one of the best by the school.
“Although the script was not really dramatic and there is still room for improvement, the performance was very good as it also brings out several ‘tauke panggung’ (narrators) who helped to enliven the atmosphere in the auditorium while describing events that occur scene after scene.
“In terms of acting and directing, it was brilliant. The actors are committed to playing their characters assigned to them. Overall, it was a good show and I am happy with the performance as it really highlighted the true potential of our younger generation in the field of arts,” he added.
Also present was SeSMS principal Maseli Idi.