Tag Archives: Galeri Indonesia Kaya

Siti Fatimah tragic romance

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Three months after From Benteng With Love at Taman Anggrek Mal, Jakarta, the Operet Babah Encim staged another love-theme work Legenda Cinta Pulau Kemaro at Galeri Indonesia Kaya, which is based on a folktale from South Sumatra about interracial tragic romance between king of Palembang’s daughter Siti Fatimah and a Chinese merchant Tan Bun An, a fortune and love seeker.

DSC_0416Established in 2007, they were initially known as a group of musicians Nanfeng Nusantara who promoted Chinese-Indonesian culture in and outside the country, as far as to Shanghai World Expo in 2010.

Furthermore, when undertaking theater performance, the members were multi-tasked with both playing music and acting.

They carried out a multitude of musical genres, albeit with a strong tendencies to pop, or the creativity to synthesize distinctive styles from many continents.

While their musical versatility is out of question, the quality of acting, besides the two leading roles, received general assessment due to loose dialogue, for which it weakens the structure in the script.

Nevertheless, the witty Operet Babah Encim accomplished their cultural presentation in ways of enjoyment in getting to know one of the fictional tales in the archipelago, and a celebration to the diversity we all live in now.

Jose Rizal Manua plays Mas Joko

Galeri Indonesia Kaya

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What troubles Jose Rizal Manua’s mind of late other than keeping that brain brushed up to memorize a hell of a line in theater when he is no longer physically young, despite his conviction that he still is, at least in soul?

He has come up with a good thinking to retake the lights and attention, keeping up with the local trend that apparently centers around the stand up comedy shows with sexually suggestive jests or unscrupulous foul mouths.

It is the difficulty finding sponsors for his plays. He was not as eloquent as his spoken lines as Mas Joko, playing Monolog Mas Joko when asked why is funding so hard to get. “I don’t know,” exasperated by his own perplexity.

Jose Rizal Manua talked to the media about the difficulty getting a sponsor for independent theaters in the country.
Jose Rizal Manua talked to the media about the difficulty getting a sponsor for independent theaters in the country.

Jose, whose theatre group won the the 2006 World’s Festival of Children’s Theater in Lingen, Germany, is a seasoned actor that always finds a relevance in his project to respond to people’s likeliness in performing arts, or lack thereof.

Having set up Remy Silado’s literary work circa 80s in an urban dwelling where he played the 50 year-old man who fell in love with a young, career-promising woman who lives alone up on the 19th floor apartment, Jose, in his sublime articulation, talks about coming to terms with gender equality, and of course, the equal rights for an infatuation with a woman aged far apart, oblivious to how the society ridicules him with his outfit and a suitcase filled with roses.

But in his fine act, he persists in not to let theater fades into oblivion. And it calls for us to not to ridicule our own cultural identity in respect of art, implied Jose right in the beginning part of his monologue.

The real Java Jazz

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Galeri Indonesia Kaya

The article first appeared on Indonesia Jazz Review, 17 March 2015.

Swing boss jazz band

Swing Boss Jazz Band dedicated itself since it was founded in 2014 to promote Indonesian vernacular songs in a unique arrangements combining jazz and bossa nova. Given that jazz emerges from an alternative cultural expression of folk songs developed by a particular group of immigrants in the US, the seven members of the band applies similar approach in the modern Indonesia, a diverse country where they can find abundant cultural reference for their works, such as folk songs from the eastern province of Maluku, Sulawesi, to Java. The latter became the theme of their performance in Galeri Indonesia Kaya, Jakarta, on Sunday, 16 March 2015.

Popular traditional Javanese folk songs such as Rek Ayo Rek and Suwe Ora Jamu showcased their creativity to make rural culture more receptive to urban trends. As the host repeteadly uttered in the opening words, “this is the real Java jazz,” alluring to the recently held International Java Jazz Festival 2015, the biggest regular jazz event in the country, but dominated by global pop culture instead of identifying local character. Talking about local identity, exceptional  30 year-old singer Sruti Respati, also in the same spirit to increase the popularity of Indonesian folk songs among the pop-influenced Indonesian public, sang Gundul Pacul and Gambang Suling in a classic style, but in harmony with the band’s play.

Continue reading The real Java Jazz

Sun of the East

Panorama 1 Galeri Indonesia Kaya
Due to limited seat in the auditorium, visitors watched live streaming of Matahari dari Timur on a projected screen in Galeri Indonesia Kaya.

Teater Koma, one of the country’s most renowned and productive theatre group, staged a play set in the land of Papua. It tells about a restive land where a vicious dragon brought chaos and plight onto the helpless natives.

In their primitive state of life, the dissilusionment continues to grow as they live in fear of the dragon terror that has victimized them simply for the fun of creating more sufferings, meanwhile aware that their resource-rich land is sucked by foreigners—explicitly referred to as the whites—without being able to stop it.

Their means, limited to the use of wooden spears for aggression and relying on supernatural protection of the divine beings projected in the form of endemic animals, cannot match the rage of the machines.

The chronicle of Papua, a conflict-ridden land of paradise

The play presented two unresolved conflicts lasting for many years, which are the conspicuous exploitation of the mother land by the technology-advanced foreigners and the inferiority-afflicted society caused by neglect and poverty.

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One of the performers walk through the aisle after the play

This probes our national awareness towards helping the indigenous people of Papua, the Indonesian citizen of the eastern-most island. Their ineptitude is the result of national abandonment.

Hence, upon realizing that the nation turns its back on them, they turn their hopes to self-governance. Their shout for freedom in the opening act is an alarm against the long neglect.

Their prophecy—as told in the following act—that a native hero will raise, carrying a spear and kill the dragon to free his people, is a warning about what will come true when people wish it.

Matahari dari Timur (Sun of the East) is the 138th play by the Teater Koma, taking place in Galeri Indonesia Kaya, Jakarta. 12 artists performed in the 50-minutes drama written and directed by N. Riantiarno rich in traditional costumes, animism symbols, as well as the theatrical choreography show and music scores.

The story from Papua is a chronicle of Indonesia.

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Actors and actresses performed Papuan dance in Matahari dari Timur. Photo courtesy of Galeri Indonesia Kaya.