Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Yogya Semesta

Last night I attended an event at the pendopo of Kepatihan - Yogya Semesta - a monthly gathering sponsored by Sri Sultan and Sri Paku Alam. Most of those in attendance seemed to be businessmen of variou description. A young dalang named Catur - the co-creator of Wayang Pixel - performed scenes of a wayang between talks about the connection of Javanese and banking culture. It was a rather untraditional event in a very traditional setting. (Kepatihan is no longer connected directly to the kraton but is a govt building - but the architecture seems to have remained the same.)

The seats facing the speakers and puppet side of the screen were all left empty - in case the walikota or Sri Sultan should show up, it was explained to me. (The puppet screen was situated so that it was impossible to see the shadows.) Guests received a coloured booklet describing previous events (titled Yogya Semesta: Buletin Seni & Budaya, edisi xvii: no. 2/-2/09) and a standard snack box.

Catur did his best under trying circumstances (at one point he was instructed - 'don't sing an ado-ado, go right to the funny bits'), trying his best to emphasise light comedy, topicality (the upcoming elections - with Togog etc each representing a different political party with associated 'yel'), light musical numbers etc. He also attempted to integrate points raised in discussion into the wayang.

I was attending with Nanang (Ledjar's grandson) and we left after a little under 2 hours. Catur sms-ed me this morning (yes! at last I have a hp) and said he was looking out for me but didn't see me. He also apologised for the format - normally the show precedes the discussion.

I can only imagine how taxing it was to perform in this way.

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