Wayang kulit, shadow puppetry from Java (Indonesia), unmoored from the puppet screen, unplugged from the accompanying gongs and chimes of the gamelan, without even a banana log for support. Illusions of omnipotence are shattered, the cosmic imbalance of myth made fact. Finding himself in a Pirandellian dilemma (how to achieve a Javanese wayang without a Javanese audience?), a London-based American scholar-practitioner turns to his old friend Semar for counsel, like knights-errant of yore. This interactive performance is a comedy of ideas, a discourse on tradition in modernity and a stubborn enactment of time-honoured practice in a transnational context.
|Published - 2011