Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Once there was a children's theater

SMK Bintulu students performing the children's play 'Dewi Bunga'.

 With the vigour and freshness of a trained teacher in 1975, I set upon a dream to produce a children's theater for the students of Sekolah Menengah Kerajaan Bintulu or SMK Bintulu in short.  The children's drama was based on a script by one of my course mates in USM or Universiti Sains Malaysia by the name of Shamsiah Mohamad.  We were the very few undergraduates who opted for the elective subject 'Children's Theater' in 1973.  The play was written in Bahasa Malaysia.  What was novel in this children's theater was its concept.  In this drama the students were playing the roles of children and interacting with characters from the animal and plant kingdom. I was excited to introduce to Bintulu a real children's theater i.e. the experiences of life from the viewpoint of young eager, curious and happy minds. The child 's world of fantasy and unlimited possibilities and imagination were given a free rein. The animal and plant characters began to be alive with human values and freely interact with the children. The children could quickly and easily symphatise with the characters because these characters are close to the world of children every where in the world.
'Dewi Bunga' -  children's theater performed by students taking Bahasa Malaysia subject staged at the SMK Bintulu school stage in 1975
Today, I find a real dearth in the production or staging of real children's theater in Sarawak schools   despite our early attempts to introduce it way back in 1975.  Whether the plays are in English or Bahasa Malaysia is of irrelevance. In producing dramas, we should write the script from the children's point of view or from the "eyes "of the children.  I am waiting to hear news of schools in Bintulu or Sarawak for that matter to  produce or stage real children's theatre based on stories that can help with the development of  their creativity, communication skills,  moral upbringing, social and  emotional intelligence.  I am happy for once that my dream came true in 1975.

Happy Malaysia Day, Sarawak!

 (Note:  On the 16th of September, Sarawak will celebrate its independence being a party to the formation of Malaysia.  As part of remembering history I'll create some posts on what  it means to be a Malaysian as I have experienced it.  Check out the rest of the postings by following this link here.)

No comments:

Post a Comment