20 August 2016

It’s been a while since I watch traditional Javanese dance, Wayang Wong, or better known to the people Wayang Orang/Human Wayang, is a form of entertainment/story telling with actors instead of puppet like Wayang Kulit or Shadow Puppet. Wayang means shadow.

A friend already booked the ticket beforehand. We get the balcony seats on the 2nd floor and we get to see the whole stage, a little bit farther than I expected but I did bring my long range lens. Some of my friends decide to eat Ketoprak inside (a vegetarian dish with tofu, veggies, rice cake and rice vermicelli with peanut cause and chilli). I already have my fill before the show since the seller stall has a long line.

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Tonight is a special show to celebrate the 44th birthday of W.O (Wayang Orang) Bharata. The play is titled “Bambang Pramusinto.” It’s unique because all the players are from the W.O Youth Bharata, the 7th and 8th generations, from a very young child age bellow five to teenagers. They look so cute  wearing the wayang’s traditional costumes.

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The story for tonight’s act goes like this: once upon a time, there’s a ksatria (knight) named Bambang Pramusinto, he’s one of the regent under the king of Bulukatiga kingdom, Prabu Tegalelana. Unfortunately, the King falls in love with the Knight’s wife, Dewi Sayekti. Sounds like a Shakespearean story, eh? Meanwhile, his brother, the Prince Raden Tegamurti also falls for Dewi Pramuwati, Bambang Pramusinto’s younger sister and already has a husband, the knight Raden Sabekti.

He cooks up a plan to kill the young Knight by dispatching Bambang Pramusinto to Prince Arjuna, one of the Pandava with a letter stating that Bambang Pramusinto wants the Prince’s wife, the Lady Subadra. While he’s gone, the Prince Raden Tegamurti and Prabu Tegalelana instigate a fight with Raden Sabekti to take the ladies back to the king’s palace. Raden Sabekti lost and fell, he runs away sustaining severe injuries.

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Meanwhile, somewhere in the forest on the way to meet the Pandava Prince, the knight Bambang Pramusinto get challenged by the (mini) Cakil, the cakils are (little monsters/devils), usually they guard the forest and/or fight with passing warriors entering their territory.

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Of course these cute little darlings try their best but Bambang Pramusinto’s fighting abilities are considered top notch.

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Poke poke, the mini Cakil, poke poking the Knight with his Kris. I’m sorry but I laugh so hard in this scene. They’re just so cute! I have to admire the actor playing Bambang Pramusinto’s expressionless face and holding the body stance like that. Amazing.

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After defeating the little monsters, Bambang Pramusinto continues with his journey. That’s the end of act 1.

The interlude act is usually an insertion by the Punokawan; the (young) Semar, Gareng, Petruk and Bagong. The Punokawan are native to Javanese wayang only in the epic Mahabaratha, not exist in the Hindu’s version. Their shape and the common way they dressed perceive them as clowns and yet their words held wisdom and often become a lessons for the common people.

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In the interlude, the audience may give them (and the W.O Bharata family) gifts and tonight, it’s a cake to celebrate their 44th birthday.

Of course, knowing the cute Punokawan (especially the mischievous Petruk), have a little ‘drama’ first that shake our belly into laughter.

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The 2nd act the Knight finally meet the Prince Arjuna. He offers the letter to the Prince, but Prince Arjuna after reading the letter get indignant with the knight’s impudent act. He hits Bambang Pramusinto in wrath and the Knight try to defend himself since he has no idea about the content of the letter.

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Fortunately, Dewi Tegawati, the sister of Prabu Tegalelana, doesn’t agree with the trickery and hasten to meet with the Pandava and Lord Krishna about the slander and Prabu Tegalelana’s trickery.  After Lord Krishna heals the warriors’ wounds including Raden Sabekti, the mistake is resolve. Then it is revealed that Bambang Pramusinto is the son of Nakula, one of the Pandava. That means, he’s Prince Arjuna’s nephew.

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Bambang Pramusinto and Raden Sabekti courteously say farewell to his father and uncles, the Pandava and Lord Krishna. They return to Bulukatiga Kingdom to save Dewi Sayekti dan Dewi Pramuwati. IMHO the boys who play Nakula and Sahadeva are so cute.

Bambang Pramusinto and Raden Sabekti with their army rage a battle against Prabu Telalelana’s and the Knights even fight with the King and his brother, Raden Tegamurti.

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With a strong united force, Bambang Pramusinto and Raden Sabekti manage to kill the King and the Prince and reunited with their wife, Dewi Sayekti dan Dewi Pramuwati, respectfully.

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It’s a beautiful stage play, a lot of laughter and applause from us the audience to these young generation, where the family from generation to generation part their knowledge and the Indonesian Javanese culture to the next generation. We applause them for their tenacity and dedication to the art. Hopefully they continue to working toward preserving it.

Happy birthday Wayang Orang Bharata and Wayang Orang Tunas Bharata.

Facebook: @wobharata & @wo.remajabharata

Address: Gedung Bharata Purwa
Jl. Kalilio No. 15, Senen, Jakarta Pusat, Indonesia

Reservation for every Saturday night show: Bapak M. Yunus : 0856 1211 842