Saturday, April 11, 2009

Topeng Monyet

Itinerant troupes of the monkey show or topeng monyet, also known locally as ledhek kethek, continue to roam the streets of Yogyakarta. I hired a company of one trainer plus monkey today as an entertainment for my daughter, and a chance to compare the show today with the shows I regularly sponsored between 1988 and 2002.

The acts were much the same as before - carrying various props, putting on a reog mask - but the showman, a young man named Pariyana, did not utter any of the customary narration, and instead sung a wordless melody as he pounded on his drum.

The tricks were much simpler too - no acrobatics from the monkey - but there was much more physical contact between the monkey and me (as the adult) - a wink from the showman indicated that this was part of the show, and that there was no physical danger involved. (The last time my daughter watched the show the pattern was similar - with a different sponsoring adult being targeted.)

The fee - 6000 rupiah - was similar to the past - but the audience (three young girls watching outside our fence plus my daughter and me) much smaller.

Quo vadis topeng monyet?

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