The Transformation of Latar Tirai in Bangsawan Tengku Anum (2002) Istana Budaya
Keywords:bangsawan, bangsawan tengku anum, stage design, traditional malay theatre, transformation
Bangsawan is a theatre form that consists of acting, singing, music, dancing, and has a strong influence from Wayang Parsi from India. It was brought to Penang, Malaysia in the 1870s by the Indian workers who worked in Penang at that time. It experienced a period of fame in the 1890s and began its downfall in the early 1940s. The opening of Istana Budaya in 1999 gave opportunities for bangsawan to be revived in the twenty-first century, especially in dealing with modern stage technologies that were available. Bangsawan Tengku Anum, which is the third bangsawan, was staged in Istana Budaya from 18-22 December 2002, directed by Rosminah Tahir. This article examines the stage design of the bangsawan, mainly focusing on the usage of Latar Tirai. Bangsawan uses seven types of Latar Tirai that are used for each scene in this performance. Latar tirai is a backdrop hand painted on canvas representing the scene location and it is placed on stage as the stage background for each scene in bangsawan. It is painted on a canvas measuring 20’ feet wide and 15’ feet high, according to the suitability of the stage venue, and requires a high cost and is very time demanding. Bangsawan Tengku Anum transforms the use of hand painted Latar Tirai on canvas to paintings projected using a projector. It provides an innovation in traditional theatre performance. This paper discusses the transformation of Latar Tirai in Bangsawan Tengku Anum in adapting to the current modern stage technologies and in competing with the contemporary theatre today.
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