Closure: An Appropriated Technique in Malay Absurd Plays

(Pengakhiran Cerita: Suatu Teknik dalam Karya Teater Absurd Melayu)

Mas Rynna Wati Ahmad

masrynna@ukm.edu.my

School of Malay Language, Literature and Culture Studies,

Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities,

Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia,

43600 Bangi, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia.

Tel.: + 603 8921 3636

Abstract

The period of experimental theatre in the 1970s had brought a significant change in the history of modern Malay theatre. The plays that were produced and staged during this era had been categorized as absurd plays as they contained strong tendencies towards the application of the absurd theatre techniques. The most significant features of Western absurd plays would be that the play would end the way it begins; this cycle emphasizes the meaninglessness of life portrayed by the absurd playwrights. However, the scenario in Malaysia is different. Sensitive to the social and religious background of the Malays, these playwrights made adjustments to the typical absurd techniques common practised in the West. As opposed an ambivalent and dark end of the plays, Malay absurd playwrights tend to present a sense of hope through the closures presented at the end of the plays. Hence the theatre scholar, Solehah (1990) termed this as theatre absurd “ala” Malaysia as a way to characterize the unique version of the plays. This paper intends to delve further into the method of closure used by the playwrights such as Dinsman in his play, It Is Not A Suicide and the late Anuar Nor Arai’s play, Vacuum. The closures in the two plays are perceived as bringing a ray of light for the Malay absurd plays from being dark and inappropriate in the history modern Malay theatre into today’s popular eclectic mainstream that marked the end of the period of realistic plays.

Keywords: absurd plays, closure technique, modern Malay drama, hope and realistic plays

Abstrak

Zaman teater eksperimental pada tahun 1970an telah membawa satu perubahan besar dalam perkembangan teater Melayu moden. Teater yang dihasilkan pada era ekperimental bersifat absurd kerana pendekatan dan percubaannya yang cenderung ke arah falsafah absurd dari Barat. Teknik yang paling ketara dalam teater berbentuk ini ialah pengakhiran cerita berlaku seperti permulaan cerita yang menunjukkan kehidupan yang tiada makna. Namun demikian, teknik ini didapati tiada dalam teater Melayu beraliran absurd. Bersesuaian dengan masyarakat tempatan yang masih lagi kukuh berpegang kepada agama dan budaya, beberapa penulis telah melakukan pengubahsuaian dalam penghasilan karya teater mereka.  Berbanding dengan teknik biasa dari Barat, iaitu tiada pengakhiran kepada setiap konflik yang diutarakan, teater absurd tempatan telah melakukan sebaliknya. Teater absurd Melayu memberikan harapan kepada persoalan yang diletakkan dalam plot cerita. Oleh yang demikian menurut Solehah (1970) teater absurd “ala” Malaysia mempunyai bentuk dan kelas yang tersendiri. Makalah ini akan memfokuskan kepada kaedah yang digunakan oleh dua penulis teater iaitu Dinsman, dalam Bukan Bunuh Diri dan Vakuum karya allahyarham Anuar Nor Arai. Pengakhiran cerita yang diberikan oleh penulis ini memberikan harapan kepada teater absurd Melayu yang tidak mendukung unsur pesimis dan putus harapan. Bentuk baharu ini, menunjukkan berakhirlah zaman teater realistik dalam tradisi teater Melayu moden.

Kata kunci: teater absurd, teknik pengakhiran, teater Melayu Moden, harapan dan teater realistik

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