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bricolage \bree-koh-LAHZH; brih-\, noun: -a dump site for anything at hand, in mind-

Saturday, November 11, 2006

"suluk banyu"

A colleague at work sent me an e-mail invitation of a puppet theatre event. It's somewhere on the other side of where I live in this Asian megacity. I was kinda reluctant, but the name "Slamet Gundono" stings like a Prada Sale.

audience of suluk banyuThe staircase entrance of Fatahillah Museum was full with choc full of people from all walks of life and class. A 5000 litre water truck that belongs to City Park Department actually parked beside a spot that is turned into a stage. A pipe was hanged at around 2 meters high and water pours down like rain. It actually looks like a water curtain.

I thought the puppeteer (dalang, Bahasa Indonesia)was going to use that water curtain as a screen. In Indonesia, puppet theatre is staged in front of a white cotton screen. Whether you stand at the same side as the puppet master or not, you can still follow the story and see the leather puppet.

Well, there is no character or puppets being staged by the puppeteer, Slamet Gundono. Instead, it was like a theatre. I mean, a performance. I don't know how to say it. My vocabularies for arts and performance is pretty limited.. d'oh!

performers in actionSo, I got to see several dancers who performed below the water curtain. Gundono and his "Wayang Suket Troupe" (wayang suket means grass puppets) actually perform "Water Puppet Theatre" like a performing arts troupe.

It was an interesting performance to see, although the stage committee (either forget or did it in purpose, no idea) didn't provide enough information regarding the show. I mean, as a non performer, I was kinda lost in the midst of the performance (my language confused you guys, isn't it? oh well.. don't complain, I'm not a native!)

Then, Gundono and his troupe mostly spoke in Javanese. I was with my boyfriend who is not a Javanese and can comprehend nothing but the performing, since he used to perform in a performing troupe as well. So, as a performer, his comments was it was interesting to see (I mean, you don't get to see "water puppet" everyday), but it was lacking of information. As a performer, he said that program publications would help the audience to understand what the whole thing was about and it would help fellow performers to further appreciate whether all the body movements do actually convey the message and moral of the story.

Anyways, if you happen to be in Jakarta and is interested with cultural performance, drop by at the web site of "Jakarta International Puppetry Festival 2006", which will take place until November 18.



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