Monday, January 3, 2011

Agus Nur Amal

Coming to the end of my first day of a two-week trip to Indonesia. I am spending the first two days of this trip in Jakarta, where I am conducting a few consultations and interviews in relation to a planned book on theatre and performance in modern Indonesia.

Today I met Agus Nur Amal at TIM and went to visit his sanggar. Mas Agus is described in Indonesia sometimes as a monologue artist, but his work more closely approximates what is known as object theatre outside of Indonesia.

I had the opportunity to do a long interview with him, and got to see and photograph some of the 150 or so objects he uses in performances, as well as one of his television booths.

I also got a VCD and a comic to take home with me - which I am looking forward to watching and reading.

Mas Agus is just starting to become known outside of Indonesia- in part because of a documentary film made about him after the Bali bombing titled Promised Paradise. He's performed and conducted workshops in New York, Boston, Zurich and Japan and will be giving a workshop in Prague in June.

I hope to write about him in my book, and might also want to write a stand-alone article about him, or possibly include him in a more general discussion of post-traditional puppet and object theatre in Indonesia.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Jakarta's Performing Monkeys Fall on Hard Times

I have just arrived in Jakarta for a couple of weeks of catching up with friends, consulting with a few colleagues and senior figures in the world of Indonesian performance about future research, and attending a conference at UGM.

I was interviewed by a reporter from AOL News last month about Indonesia's monkey show - a long-term interest of mine, which I have written about on a number of occasions.

The article appeared last month under the title 'Jakarta's Performing Monkeys Fall on Hard Times' ( Much of it is based on the interview with me - and while there are one or two points that I think are not quite accurate, it is a pretty good reflection of the dialogue.

Not sure if I will see more topeng monyet on this trip -- but certainly hoping I will catch the act described in the article where the monkey gets into a motorcycle accident!