The charity drama titled ‘Tengu and the Uchiwa Boy’ by the Anderson School Japanese Language Club kicked off on Saturday, July 22 in the school hall amid plenty of cheers.
It told the story of Hanemaru, an ordinary boy living in a small village, who accidentally discovers the magical power of an uchiwa (traditional Japanese fan) that his family has passed down the generations. Hanemaru soon finds himself in trouble with creatures that everyone is afraid of – Tengu – bird-like humanoids.
The prop running crew, who among others assembled the house of the protagonist and its subsequent retrieval after the scene, showcased remarkable organisation. It was by far the biggest prop the crew had ever produced, made of heavy wooden frames complete with functional sliding doors.
One crew, dressed in black from head to toe in order to imply that he was invisible, drew laughter with his antics of floating the uchiwa around the stage.
Involving students from 14 to 18 years of age, it was performed in English with a live musical ensemble and choir. Each costume design was inspired by real traditional Japanese garments.
“Our main objective is to expose a non-Japanese-speaking audience to the culture. We prioritise the appreciation of arts, music and culture,” Loh Kok Hoong, drama director and teacher advisor for Japanese Language Club stated. Kuala Lumpur Kepong Berhad was the main sponsor of the charity drama this year.
“My command of English language has improved a lot. I managed to build up the courage to talk in English more often than I used to. And this project sparked my interest in Japanese culture too,” said Helmy, who acted as Hanemaru’s best friend. He played the protagonist last year.
The Anderson School Japanese Language Club has organised numerous activities such as National Level Japanese Language Drama Competition (2014), Japanese Cultural Day (2015) and Momotaro, the first drama staged last year.
Meanwhile, the Japanese language was first introduced to the school in 2013. The class started out humbly with only 25 students. Over the years, the figure has increased to over 100 students.