Friday, August 17, 2012

Pentas Wayang Rumba

Last night (16-17 August) I performed in a combination of Javanese, Indonesian and English  "A Dalang in Search of Wayang", my post-traditional  solo wayang, for the first time at ISIF Cirebon in a student-organised event called Pentas Wayang Rumba. It was part of a triple-bill along with short wayang performances by my friends Doddie (Darmakusuma Nyalar, with a pop band, powerpoint projections and carboard wayang figures) and Purjadi (Agamaneng Manusa, with a scaled-down gamelan accompanying him). In between our performances there was time for commentary and discussion - much of it quite expert. The audience was fairly small (under 100) but elect - with representatives from many of Cirebon's major religious institutions.

Purjadi was initially reluctant to perform in this setting but left with all smiles - recognising that his performance was greatly appreciated and that he was introducing his version of wayang to a new audience. ISIF's rector, in a brief comment after Purjadi performed, said that he would like to offer Purjadi a lectureship at ISIF- only half joking. Purjadi argued that wayang is not endangered - it is only in urban contexts like the city of Cirebon where wayang lacks audiences- when he performed in the alun-alun of Kasepuhan once he could count spectators on the fingers of his hands. In the countryside, wayang is still in rude health. A text I received regarding my own performance said that I had succeeded in "menggugah presepsi teman2 muda tentang wayang."  Events like Pentas Wayang Rumba act as bridges between the rural and the urban, the local and the international. They are not frequent in Cirebon - but much more common elsewhere in Indonesia.

A short report can be read at,public-m,dinamic-s,detail-ids,44-id,39325-lang,id-c,nasional-t,Peringati+Kemerdekaan++Mahasiswa+Gelar+Wayangan-.phpx

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