Sabah Fest 2017 to feature musical of Pitas folktale, 'Supirak'

AVILA GERALDINE

KOTA KINABALU: The annual Sabah Fest, which begins here next month, will feature an array of dazzling cultural performances and activities – but one of the highlights of the event will undoubtedly be the stage musical Supirak – The Legendary Stone Ark.

A colourful retelling of a Sabahan folk story, Supirak – which will come to life with vibrant dances and soaring orchestral music – will premiere on May 7, at the National Department of Culture and Art here.

The highly-anticipated production will be launched during a special screening the day before by Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Juhar Mahiruddin and his wife, Toh Puan Norlidah RM Jasni, as well as Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman.

Similar to the legendary tale of ‘Si Tanggang’, Supirak is a Pitas fable about a disobedient young man named Ragam, who, along with his ship, is cursed by his mother and turned into stone – a formation which was named Supirak.

State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun said

this will be the second time that Supirak will be performed on stage.

"The Supirak folk story is told by the Suluk Tombonuo people. It was first performed in Kudat a few years back, but it was a theatrical performance... there was no music involved.

"Because we have been receiving requests, we decided to bring it to the Sabah Fest, with music from Sabah's own Jesselton Philharmonic Orchestra (JPO).

"The Supirak musical will feature 10 songs specifically composed for the production," he said in a press conference.

Masidi added that the show will provide the public with a better understanding of the Supirak rock island near Kampung Malubang, Pitas, which resembles a ship.

He said Supirak is among many native folk tales which the Ministry, through the Sabah Tourism Board and Sri Pelancongan Sabah, would like to share with the public – and the Sabah Fest is the best platform through which to do so.

"We hope our next generation will appreciate and take interest in native folklore," he said.

Prior to the premiere show, Sabah Fest will showcase a full concert, featuring talented students from the rural Pitas district on May 5, in support of the JPO String Outreach Programme.

Tickets for Supirak – The Legendary Stone Ark musical are priced at RM50.

Call 088-232121 / 088-212121 or email may@sabahtourism.com for more information.