History of Randai at UHM

We are halfway through shows of this wonderful production of The Genteel Sabai. Does it have you reminiscing about all the good times you had working on the show yet? Have you started to wonder about the history of randai at UHM? Well lucky for y’all here is a run down of the three wonderful randai performances that have graced the Kennedy Theatre stage.

The first Randai production at UHM was during the 2000-2001 season. In February of 2001 Dr. Kirstin Pauka brought randai to Kennedy Theatre’s mainstage. Two master teachers from Western Sumatra were also  brought in — a man you should all be familiar with — Musra Dahrizal and Hasanawi, a former child prodigy specializing in Indonesian music– for a six-month program training program. This first production was titled Umbuik Mudo & the Magic Flute. Umbuik, a young man, spends several years becoming skilled in silat, but loses an important match to a rival, Pendeka Capek, when he is distracted by the beauty of a young woman named Puti Galang. He’s smitten but she rudely dismisses him as unworthy of her love. Umbuik’s mother goes into the jungle to find the perfect piece of bamboo to create a magic flute that Umbuik then uses to bewitch Puti.

Umbuik Mudo & The Magic Flute
Feb 2 – 11, 2001

See anyone familiar?

The next randai production was during the 2004-2005 season at Kennedy Theatre. This production was Luck and Loss: Manandin’s Gamble. Master-teachers Mohamad Halim, an internationally renowned master of traditional Minangkabau musc, and Saparman Bin Jamaludin, master-teacher of randai dance, acting, and silat, were brought in for the six-month training program. Luck and Loss is a story of Magek Manandin. He leaves his village and his fiancee to attend a galanggang festival in the kingdom of Singkarak planned by King Duo Baleh. While there he begins to gamble. At first he gambles with great success. However with most gambling stories he eventually loses. To make matters worse Magek Manandin also gets framed for stealing a buffalo. Manandin finds himself if a great deal of trouble with King Duo Baleh. Manandin’s uncle, the king of Sandiang Baka, learns of his plight but ignores his frantic protestations of innocence and tells the authorities to make the punishment harsher. Eventually Manandin escape and returns to his fiancee. He then later challendes Duo Baleh to regain his honor. You can even see this whole production here on youtube if you desire.

Luck and Loss: Manandin’s Gamble
Jan 28 – Feb 6, 2005

Luck and Loss

Any guesses as to the third fabulous randai production to hit Kennedy Theatre? That’s right it’s The Genteel Sabai. With master-teachers Musra Dahrizal and Jasrial Jamaluddin. The story in this randai, as most of you hopefully know, is of Sabai nan Haluih. Sabai is a genteel and beautiful young woman. One day she catches the eye of King Rajo nan Panjang. Panjang becomes obsessed and full of desire for Sabai and orders his servant Palimo to prepare an engagement proposal to her family. Palimo delivers the proposal to Sabai’s mother and father. However, Sabai is already engaged to another man and Panjang’s request is firmly rejected. Outraged, Panjang plots revenge against Sabai and her family. He sends for Babandiang to visit his him explain the rejection of his engagement proposal. When Babandiang arrives Panjang confronts him and challenges him to a battle. During the battle Babandiang is mortally wounded and left to die. Sabai arrives at Babandiang’s side as he lies dying and comforts him in his last moments. Panjang then ambushes Sabai and attempts, unsuccessfully, to woo her. Sabai defends herself against Panjang’s advances and fights him in a final showdown.

The Genteel Sabai
Feb 3 – 12, 2012

So genteel!

And what’s next for randai and UHM? We don’t know yet… but let’s hope it is many, many more years of randai on the mainstage of Kennedy Theatre. And hey, maybe Pak Katik will be back for a third randai?


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