Musical Drama Staged on a Paddy Field in the Concrete Jungle
When talking about theatre plays, it is normally associated with musicals and stage dramas that are performed indoors on a beautifully decorated stage. A place that is made to be used for performing complete with the space and equipment needed to allow for a successful performance.
This year however, director Shamsudin Othman, or better known as Dinsman, has an ambitious plan to bring a staging of Dato’ Dr Usman Awang’s story of ‘Uda dan Dara’. More ambitious than that, he also plans to bring a life sized paddy field right into the heart of the concrete jungle that is Kuala Lumpur. The paddy field will be the stage for the adaptation of ‘Uda dan Dara’. The play will be a musical drama adaptation of the story set in a paddy field.
Dinsman has mentioned that he and his team has done a similar production of the story 2 years ago. It was done in a real paddy field in Sungai Besar, Sabak Bernam, in Selangor. This time, he plans to bring the paddy field into the city streets of Kuala Lumpur in order to keep the concept of ‘theatre within the paddy field’. “The concept of this is ‘theatre within the paddy field’. I intend to bring the concept. Therefore, it has to be staged within a paddy field”.
His motivation in bringing this drama in the form of a musical theatre is because of the script itself. There have been many adaptations of the story and he would like to inject his own creativity and put out his own take on the script that he likes. “There have been many people who have approached this script with many different directors at the helm with many different approaches. I have chosen to take the approach of ‘theatre within the paddy field’ and it represents my creativity as a director to choose this approach.”
Through bringing a paddy field into the city, Dinsman hopes that he will be able to showcase something different to city folks. People in the city may not have had the chance to see and appreciate the paddy. “We should get to know the origins of the rice that we eat daily.” Citizens will be able to see first-hand what paddy looks like before it is turned into the food that is a staple in many Malaysian’s diet.
Aside from being able to enjoy the art and concept of ‘theatre within the paddy field’, Dinsman also mentions that he will be incorporating installation art within the set of the musical. Audiences can expect decorations that are traditionally available in a real paddy field such as scarecrows and ‘obor-obor’.
Audiences can expect a wonderful story of love between Uda and Dara and also the struggles of the farmers all while enjoying a setting that promises to stay true to an authentic paddy field.