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Moonlit Hope: From Felda Sungai Koyan to UM

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Performance at Auditorium JKKN Kuantan

‘Moonlit Hope’ is a 15-min drama performance written and performed by the pupils of SMK (FELDA) Sungai Koyan, Kuala Lipis, Pahang. It is directed by their English language teacher, Mr Zainul Hakim Shazni Bin Zainul Fuad. A total of 13 pupils between Forms 2 and 5 were involved in the production.

It tells the story of Iris, a university student who suffered from a brain complication that was resulted from a strong impact on her head in a car accident when she was very young. To remedy this, she was put on the Brain Intervention Dimension Machine (BIDM). The machine transported her into a different dimension where she met a young lad named Arjuna. However, their time in the cosmos wasn’t long and when she woke up, she discovered that their fates were intertwined in more ways than one.

This story was the brainchild of the pupils themselves; it was inspired by the Malaysian film, ‘Imaginur’. It was first created to compete at the Pahang State Level English Language Drama Competition in August 2023.

In the first stage of the competition, the team uploaded their recorded performance on YouTube. They then got shortlisted into the Top 5 spot to compete face-to-face at Auditorium JKKN Pahang in Kuantan on 24 August 2023. They finished at number 5, but their journey didn’t stop there.

The team had the opportunity to perform at the Faculty of Education, Universiti Malaya on 23 December 2023. The performance was attended by lecturers and students of UM, as well as the pupils’ parents and the general public.

The Creative Process

The process of making the drama was a long and fruitful one. It was a collaborative effort where the pupils came together and brainstormed the storyline, the characters, and their backstory.

After the first draft of the script was done, it was reviewed multiple times for a week with their director, Mr Zainul Hakim. This was when the storyline got more streamlined and refined.

They then began rehearsing the script every evening—scene by scene, line by line, word by word. They went through a meticulous process to learn to deliver their lines: from enunciation, to facial expression, to body language, and to little nuances that make their characters alive and believable.

Additionally, they began preparing the props to be used in their performance. The most important one of all is the BIDM. This was made by using a cardboard and it was painted over with grey paint.

Top 5 Spot

When it was announced that they made it into the Top 5 spot to compete in the state level final round in Kuantan, the team was overjoyed.

Being the only FELDA school, making it to the Top 5 spot was no easy feat indeed. But the challenge didn’t stop there. The team also faced financial difficulty to go to Kuantan. The long journey (3+ hours one way) and a 2-night stay meant some considerable amount of money was needed. Fortunately, the school and some kind souls contributed to make it happen.

Competing against other schools provided an eye-opening experience for the team. Nur Zulaikha binti Mohd Azhar (16), the script writer and narrator said, “we got to learn how other schools managed their production and this allowed us to better our future production.

Nur Yumni Musfirah binti Mohamad Ramizam, 16, who played the main character Iris said, “Through this drama, I’ve regained my confidence. I had stage fright because my last time being on stage was back in primary school”.

For Mr Zainul Hakim, forming and directing a drama production is a “dream come true” moment. He said, “From the beginning, I knew for sure that it wouldn’t be an easy journey. But with my strong passion for drama, and the pupils’ enthusiasm and commitment, we fought all odds to make this happen”.

Live in Universiti Malaya

In December 2023, the team was given the opportunity to perform their original production at the Faculty of Education, Universiti Malaya. This collaboration with the faculty’s Department of Language and Literacy Education also featured an ‘Alumni Talk’ slot delivered by Mr Zainul Hakim, who graduated from the institution in 2017.

Many praised the performance, calling it “perfect” and that the “execution was great”. A UM student also lauded the “sense of connectivity” present in the storyline.

Many were also impressed by how for such young school pupils, they managed to put up such a wonderful show.

UM senior lecturer, Assoc. Prof. Dr Adelina Asmawi was impressed by the performance of the pupils. She also felt proud of her former student, Mr Zainul Hakim, whose “eclectic ways of teaching” produced the pupils and their performance.

Former UM lecturer and theatre practitioner, Dr Roselina Khir Johari pointed how “although the story is set in the future, it uses Arjuna, a mythical hero to inspire some hope”. She also expressed her love for the title ‘Moonlit Hope’.

SMK (FELDA) Sungai Koyan Principal, Mr Mazlienor bin Daud stated, “it’s an amazing feat that our pupils managed to go this far to perform their drama. On top of that, they performed in English”.

Theatre Visits

During their trip to KL on 23-24 December 2023, other than performing in UM, they also watched a theatre show at DBKL City Theatre. The show, called “Nuansa Pasar Seni: Di Bawah Tiang Lampu 2” showcased performances from respected poets such as Sani Sudin, Pyanhabib, and Fairul Pujangga.

Besides that, the team also visited the esteemed Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (KLPAC). Here, they learnt of the different types of theatre halls.

These theatre visits instilled the love of theatre and art in the pupils, and made them felt more inspired to perform better in future productions.

………

Please contact Zainul Hakim Shazni Zainul Fuad at g-79452292@moe-dl.edu.my for further details about the program

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