The Peach Boy
In order to raise funds to establish a mini library and improve facilities in the Japanese language classroom, the Japanese Language Club of Anderson School presented a musical titled, “Momotaro” (The Peach Boy) at its school hall on Saturday, September 3. The attendance was overwhelming.
“Momotaro is a famous Japanese folktale filled with moral values. It’s about a courageous boy who saves his homeland from the ogre’s attack. He goes to the ogre’s island with his band of friends. During his adventure, Momotaro also displays obedience to his parents. Working behind the scenes, students are instilled with the discipline, punctuality and teamwork needed to make this charity drama a success,” Loh Kok Hoong, the drama director and head of the Japanese language panel told Ipoh Echo. Preparations began in May by his team of over 60 students from Form 1 to Lower Six.
“I want to bring the dramatic traditions back to Anderson, as the school’s last dramatic production was in the 1950s. As a language teacher, I find drama very educational as students can practise language articulation and grammar in a more interesting way besides exhibiting their talent and creativity,” the amiable Loh added.
“The character I am playing is very mischievous, funny and cunning. Momotaro needs him to show the way to the ogre’s island,” said Jude Isaac Stanley, the 16-year-old who played the monkey. Almost all of the actors involved were champions of the national level Japanese language drama competition held in 2014.
The musical play was accompanied by a choir and orchestra playing self-composed lyrics and melodies. The live musical ensemble featured a combination of Western and Chinese instruments.
One charming character was Mrs Nobu, played by Muhammad Firdaus Bukhari, who had a mind of her own and kept the audience in stitches with her perpetual sore throat, unpredictable nature as well as dramatic reactions.
Kudos to all the crew who removed and assembled the handmade props for each scene with lightning speed. I especially loved their attention to detail, from the use of waving blue cloth as the flowing river to the casual fiddle of the kendama (a traditional Japanese toy) in a conversational scene.
The night ended with plenty of cheers and precious memories.