Perhaps the best known Malaysian theater event is the
wayang kulit. Before the encroachment of television, the
wayang kulit, or shadow puppet play, was the favorite
after-dark entertainment. The enang, as the puppeteer was
called, directed the puppets' intricate movements while
singing dozens of parts in a performance which often
lasted several hours. The wayang kulit draws its
inspiration from the Ramayana, the Hindi epic comprised
of a potpourri of immortal tales. The wayang kulit throws
in a handful of Javanese and Malay characters for good
measure and then pits good against evil in a classic
plot. Warrior animals, giants, ghouls, princes, and
priests battle it out to the finish in this rousing epic.
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