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Modern Indonesian DramaBeyond Bali Good News Although it is possible to study every major non English speaking Western culturethrough its translated literature this has not been the case with the literature of.Indonesia This is one of the reasons why Lontar was established to ensure theancient literary tradition of Indonesia and its thriving contemporary literature are more accessible to international scholars Aware of the need abroad for text books Lontar is publishing several multi volume anthologies of Indonesian literature one on the history of Indonesian.drama the other two on poetry and short stories In 2001 with financial assistance from the Luce Foundation Lontar began tocollect modern Indonesian playscripts Hundreds were collected and scanned With advice from Lontar s editorial advisory board 50 plays representing therange of issues that were aired on the Indonesian stage in the twentieth century.were chosen for transcription and publication in Indonesian Of these 35 werethen selected for translation into English Early Developments in Modern Theater Traditional dramatic forms such as wayang in Java and Bali hadbeen performed for their ritual and or religious significance . A modern secular theater Malay Opera emerged in the latenineteenth century The audiences as well as playwrights directors and actors of Malay Opera included Europeans Chinese peoples of mixed racial ancestry the peranakan andindigenous peoples of the Netherlands Indies e g Javanese .Sundanese and Balinese Rafferty 10 The development ofthis multi ethnic secular though still non scripted drama wasan important transitional stage for Indonesian theater Malay Opera In 1891 August Mahieu a Eurasian of French descent born in.Surabaya c 1860 established the first successful Malay Operagroup in the Indies Rafferty 10 Improvisational theater with no written script and performed inthe open it combined tales from many cultures European Chinese Indian Persian Javanese and Malay The merging of.multi ethnic stories also enabled the establishment of modernnational identities and sensibilities For a historical perspective on Malay Opera in Borneo seehttp www hicsocial org social2... 20vanitha 20abdullah pdf. See also Tan Sooi Beng Bangsawan A Social and Stylistic Historyof Popular Malay Opera Origin of Modern Indonesian Drama The publication of Rustam Effendi s play Bebasari anallegorical verse drama about the struggle against.Dutch colonialism is considered to be thefoundational moment of modern Indonesian drama It was the first original play written by a nativeIndonesian in high Malay and was intended for anurban educated elite . Other playwrights following in this tradition bothglorified the past and attempted to includecontemporary issues Realistic drama After independence two major theatrical institutions.were established Cine Drama Instituut in 1948 inYogyakarta and Akademi Teater Nasional in Jakartain 1955 Both taught a realistic style of acting Translations of Western playwrights Poe Ibsen Shakespeare became popular in the 1950s . Serious plays featuring representation and analysisof contemporary Indonesian society flourished Lontar Anthology 2 1926 1965 Synopsis The first four decades of the national art theater in Indonesia 1926 1965 were a period of fascinating experimentation undertaken by.elite intellectuals heavily influenced by and attempting to come to termswith the forms and styles of western theater These experiments rangedchiefly from hybrid anti colonial allegories and grand historical epics topsychological and social realisms This volume contains a selection of playsrepresentative of the main currents of this exciting and pivotal era in the.construction of Indonesia s modern national art theater The volume beginswith nationalist allegories then moves to psychological and social realistworks and finally to plays that typify the dominant currents into which thetheater of the New Order period beginning in 1966 would later flow Authors Roestam Effendi Sanusi Pane Armijn Pane Saadah Alim Usmar.Ismail Utuy Tatang Sontani Muhammad Ali Motinggo Busye Misbah YusaBiran Agam Wispi Yoebar Ayoeb Iwan Simatupang Mohamad Diponegoro Utuy Tatang Sontani Awal and Mira 1951 Sontani was Sundanese and used both the local language andIndonesian in his writings He was famous during his lifetime for his.novels short stories as well as plays The plays were published inthe 1950s and earned him high praise He chose to frame his visionin one act plays in short story form as a way of exploring humanproblems at a specific time during man s long life Awal and Mirafocuses on the physical and psychological victims of revolution in a.newly independent nation Rafferty 14 by portraying the love of anervous aristocratic man for a beautiful common coffee houseowner who turns out to be handicapped For an article on Sontani seehttp www thejakartapost com ne... .ntani a tragic end a literary ... Iwan Simatupang Square Moon and Three Other Plays Simatupang was a journalist novelist actor director and playwright Fora brief biography see.http www lontar org index php ... Born in North Sumatra he fought for freedom from the Dutch and waslater on the staff of Siasat a journal on the forefront of intellectual life inthe struggle for freedom and post independence Indonesia He was associated with Theater 2000 an avant garde theater company .and was heavily influenced by Existentialist writers believing in thepossibility of autonomy and independence for all Square Moon 1957 focuses on an old man who has spent his life tying tobuild the perfect gallows and whose philosophy is I kill therefore I am His works deal primarily with issues of death freedom social.disenfranchisement and conflict Lontar Anthology 3 1965 1998 Synopsis As Soeharto s New Order government became increasinglyauthoritarian censoring and crushing public opposition openly andoften brutally there was a clear shift in playwriting style from.allegorical fairytales of wordplay humor and oblique reference to amore direct engagement interrogation and call to arms All in all Indonesian drama during the New Order provides a fascinatingwindow into a society in transition caught between the legacy oftradition the challenge of repression and a strong desire for.democratization Authors Arifin C Noer Rendra Putu Wijaya Noorca MarendraMassardi Akhudiat Wisran Hadi Saini K M Yudhistira ANMMassardi N Riantiarno Aspar Paturusi Afrizal Malna Emha AinunNadjib Ratna Sarumpaet . New Tradition The governor of Jakarta Ali Sadikin was instrumental in the foundation of aCultural Arts Center Taman Ismail Marzuki TIM in 1968 which provided aWestern style government subsidized venue for the staging of modern drama The plays staged at TIM have seen various degrees of merging of local and.Western forms and techniques The use of regional elements in moderngenres is central to the New Tradition and is in direct reaction to the forcedsocial realism of the Soeharto s regime In order to keep the theater relatively free of political pressures an ArtsCouncil was formed For the most part it was an autonomous body with a. free hand Mohamad 3 TIM organized an annual festival of theatrical groups run by young artists andfeatured traditional theatrical forms as well as modern plays making itpossible for traditional and modern forms of drama to co exist in post independence Indonesia . W S Rendra Struggle for CulturalIndependence Indonesia s most famous playwright he was also an actor essayist translator critic and poet He was openly anti Establishment and was arrested in May 1978 for his seditious writings Rendra wrote satirical experimental plays known for their innovative form combining Javanese.wayang and ketoprak in modern Indonesian productions He borrowed elements of music costume dramatic structure acting style and joking routines from traditional drama breakingdown boundaries of low high theaters Struggle of the Naga Tribe 1975 while influenced by Western ideas incorporates manytraditional Javanese theatrical conventions including the use of the figure of the dalang the.puppet master to provide a social critique Rendra valorizes the rural poor and an non cosmopolitan folk lifestyle Rendra s Bengkel Theatre group initiated a new performance style mini kata using movementand music but minimal dialogue in response to the prevalent slogalization of the Indonesianlanguage in the late 1960s Mohamad 8 . For an article on Rendra seehttp www insideindonesia org e... For an interview of Rendra in Australia seehttp www insideindonesia org e... Putu Wijaya Theater of Surprise. Worked with Rendra s Bengkel Theatre group from 1967 69 Putu s tontonan theater similarly emphasizes spectacle over narration and reflects hiscommitment to improvisation creative adaptation openness and flexibility The plays are bothvisually and aurally busy at times verging on the chaotic Rafferty 16 Plot is minimal characters are stylized and remain on stage for most of the play resulting in a.crowded noisy stage humor tends to the bawdy and the grotesque and is used as a distancingdevice and action is non realistic As in traditional Balinese drama there is no obvious closure and the central issue remainsunresolved Putu s theater seeks to incorporate spirituality bringing the traditional religious ritual element.back into a secular model According to Putu Wijaya Indonesian actors act without analyzing they are reluctant toquestion the meaning of actions or situations in the script For an article on Putu assessing his life and works seehttp www thejakartapost com ne... . For a video of Putu s tribute to Rendra Monolog Merdeka http www youtube com watch v U... N Riantiarno Commercially Viable Modern His blending of indigenous and Western forms is influenced by theexample of Malay Opera . High ticket prices and an entertainment model makeRiantiarno s company Teater Koma a much more capitalisticenterprise catering to an affluent middle class However the plays with their graphically literal representation ofthe dark underside of elite prosperity subvert rather than affirm.middle class assumptions On the set of Time Bomb 1982 directly below the chairs of a group of oblivious restaurant diners sits a slum on the banks of a fetid canal Hatley xi xii For an article on Riantiarno seehttp www thejakartapost com ne... .antiarno visionary mission htm... Women Playwrights Activists Actress and playwright Ratna Sarumpaet has her work included in the LontarAnthology and comments incisively on issues relevant to women in contemporaryIndonesian society though she sees herself as a champion for all underprivileged.people rather than as a feminist Her play The Prostitute and the President 2006 focuses on the lack of choicesavailable to women who are forced into prostitution The main protagonist Jamila hastaken to murder as a way of dealing with her oppression hate that keeps buildinginside me forever ready to explode and make me kill again to make me kill again .On her attempts to film this play to raise awareness about child trafficking in Indonesia http www thejakartapost com ne... A clip of the film http www youtube com watch v P... Her most famous work Marsinah Songs from the Underworld 1994 directly accusesPresident Soeharto . For an article on her life beliefs and her arrest seehttp www insideindonesia org e... Putu Wijaya Geez Only two characters have stable names Bima and Sita Both names goback to the Indian epics Ramayana and Mahabharata . Bima or Bhima is the second Pandava brother known for his strengthand bravery Of all the wielders of the mace there is none equal toBhima and there is none also who is so skillful a rider of elephants Infight they say he yields not even to Arjuna and as to might of arms he is equal to ten thousand elephants Mahabharata Book 5 .Section 22 Sita is famed for her marital fidelity and devotion in the Ramayana Despite her abduction and imprisonment for ten years by Ravana sheremains impervious to his sexual advances and is able to remain http www britishmuseum org ima... .Origin of Modern Indonesian Drama. The publication of Rustam Effendiâ€™s play, Bebasari, an allegorical verse drama about the struggle against Dutch colonialism, is considered to be the foundational moment of modern Indonesian drama. It was the first original play written by a native Indonesian in â€œhighâ€ Malay, and was intended for an urban, educated elite.