Tuesday, 22 July 2014

PRAGUE EVENT: Street Theater Festival "Behind The Door" (Za Dveřmi)

Text and Photo are by my beloved Wolfie

Prague, July 14-18, 2014

The annual International street theater festival took place at Prague’s Wenceslas square in the week of July 14-18, 2014. In its sixth season already, the festival Za dveřmi (Behind the Door) really caught on. There were four performances a day, beginning at four in the afternoon and ending at ten in the evening: a total of 20 performances featuring 18 or 19 troupes from nine countries including Poland, Hungary, Portugal, Ukraine, Israel and Germany, and of course the Czech Republic.

Clowns, puppeteers, acrobats, mimes and other colorful street artists took over the Wenceslas Square in the city center and created a very dynamic, animated and spontaneous atmosphere. This time the overarching theme was freedom and personal liberty. In that context, one of the topics was support for Ukraine. On Monday there was a „parade of hope“ backing up Ukraine and also a performance by the Ukrainian troupe Teatr Voskresinnia.

© +Jiří Sedláček  (2014)

© +Jiří Sedláček  (2014)
© +Jiří Sedláček  (2014)

In artists’ performances the elements of Physical Theater and nouveau cirque (New Circus) met cross genres like „dance grotesque“, musical cabaret, fire show, acrobatics, slapstick, installations or land art. Add to it wandering theater, contemporary modern dance, juggling, the list goes on, and you get the idea.

Among prominent acts we can name “Mr. Hunger” performance by the Polish troupe Teatr Biuro Podrozy that has been inspired by the literary work of Franz Kafka, particularly his short story “The Hunger Artist” – the artistic idea was to create a new, contemporary form of so-called “mysteries of death”, historically represented by market circuses or freak shows. One of them was Kafka’s Hunger Artist who in his obsessive fasting becomes a saint as well as a masochist or a provoker.

Portuguese, Berlin based Teatro Só brought its haunting, poetic performance about loneliness in old age. In the twilight of life, one can easily get stuck in a big lonesome bubble. It takes a brave man to keep seeking for joy and friends. He has remained young at heart, although trapped in a time-constrained body. For lack of time, in the name of progress and of the rapid evolution of society, the elderly are being forgotten, sometimes even abandoned by friends and family. Gone are their successes, their conquests, their dedication to work over the years and they are simply ALONE. Alone. At a bench. In the emptiness of a day...

© +Jiří Sedláček  (2014)
Zadam Company, a project based Hungarian contemporary dance group, using highly stylized visual elements, brought their I'M PRO project: not a specified show but a series of performances based on structured improvisation. They seek to interpret the elements of theatrical shows in a brand new context. Each part of this series is a unique unrepeatable artistic experience for the public and for the performers as well. Their Friday act featured whips.

© +Jiří Sedláček  (2014)
© +Jiří Sedláček  (2014)
© +Jiří Sedláček  (2014)
One of the headliners was the a Czech/Slovak duo of lady clowns, Vanda Hybnerová and Lucia Kašiarová, who in their touching pantomime Angel-y became heavenly clownesses. Nobody is as lonely as angels, guardians at the heavenly gate. They are waiting, but nobody comes. Silence. Time goes on. They are useless. They have to amuse themselves, somehow... Come and have a look at a mixture of clichés of various sorts, at two cynical women, who are not afraid to be pathetic, at two bodies under the burden of wings that should have lifted them, but nobody knows where. We share the awkwardness and primitive poetics with them...

To sum up the spirit and impact of this festival and the street theater as such, we asked one of the performers:

“Street theater has a huge advantage in the fact that you don’t have to translate it into other languages. Mostly, you work in a body or silent language which has no barriers. The context is sometimes political, and then you don’t need any explanation, but mostly street theater focuses on life stories, themes understandable to each one of us. So, that’s a great thing about street theater – you can tour all of Europe and everyone will understand you.”

And the organizer’s view?

“I think it is fair to say that the festival has found its audience since it was founded six years ago. That first year we were in city center but not in the square proper, and there might have been more foreigners in the audience. That has changed. Czech theater lovers know about us and attend, sometimes planning to spend the whole day. It’s definitely not just passers-by running into us by chance. We are very happy with how things have developed and it is a big difference from when we started.”


Tuesday, 15 July 2014

JAKARTA SPOTLIGHT: Wayang Museum - Preserve The Nation's Culture Heritage

Jakarta, July 5, 2014

Museum Wayang © Sita Ariana Pangestu (2014)

Jakarta as a vibrant city offers a wide-ranged choice of activities and places to be enjoyed. One of the rarity offered to residents of Jakarta and tourist is strolling at museum which also becomes a respite from malls mushrooming this beloved city. Wayang Museum becomes one of the most recommended one.

Wayang Museum occupies one of old Dutch-colonial building located in Fatahillah square (known as Kota Tua square). This two-story building was donated by H. Probo Sutedjo to DKI Jakarta provincial government in September 2003 under suggestion and advice from former governor, H. Ali Sadikin. Through the prasasti (inscriptions) in the garden inside this building, we could also know that previously this building had been occupied as a church named "De Oude Holandsche Kerk".

A display of wayang golek  representing one of stage in Ramayana grand tale © Sita Ariana Pangestu (2014)

Wayang Kulit display © Sita Ariana Pangestu (2014)

Wayang Museum displays its wide range collection of wayang (Indonesian term which generally translated into puppet) behind the glass displays. It's not only dominated by wayang kulit (leather crafted puppet from Java and Bali) and wayang golek (Sundanese wooden puppet) but also puppets from across the archipelago. Even this museum also displays some puppet collection from abroad such as from Thailand, Cambodia, China, India, Britain, Poland, France, and Russia.

Philosophically wayang means shadow. It reflects the human's inner psyche such as rage, benevolence, greed, etc. In each of the play, puppet always carry a moral message that we shall always adhere to the Creator and to do good for others. Invariably, the play climaxes with the triumph of good over evil.

Gamelan assemble which always consort the wayang show © Sita Ariana Pangestu (2014) 

The Hindus used Wayang to spread the religion by mixing the harmony of Hinduism and Indonesian native culture i.e. animism and dynamism. Ramayana and Mahabarata are two grand tales that are most represented and symbolized. When Islam began spreading in Indonesia, the display of God or gods in human being was prohibited. Hence as the alternatives, wayang play displayed only the shadow instead of the figures itself. It was the origin of wayang kulit (shadow puppet show) birth. Later on, the Christians also used wayang named wayang wahyu to preach their religion with the story based on old testament and new testament, start when Adam and Eve was tempted by devil.

Betawi features against Dutch-colonial features © Sita Ariana Pangestu (2014)

Si Unyil Family © Sita Ariana Pangestu (2014)

As a dynamic art, wayang develops either in form and function in accordance with its era. In post colonial era, wayang perjuangan (known as wayang reformasi) is used for telling the heroic acts against the Dutch-colonial. Wayang is also used to tell about local folk fore e.g Si Jampang stories, Si Manis Jembatan Ancol. It also represents some critics of the time, some satiric plays. And in modern area, wayang also becomes an interactive educational media especially for kids as such presented by Si Unyil series.

UNESCO proclaimed Wayang Puppet Theatre Indonesia as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity on 7 November 2003. In return of the acknowledgment, it shall be our pleasure for Indonesian to preserve our nation cultural heritage.

From Poland © Sita Ariana Pangestu (2014)
From Russia © Sita Ariana Pangestu (2014)

Souvenir shop near the exit gate © Sita Ariana Pangestu (2014)


Opening Hour
Tuesday to Sunday               09.00 - 15.00
Monday and Public Holiday          Close

Adult Rp. 5.000,-     College Student Rp. 3.000,-     Children/Student Rp. 2.000,-

Groups (min. 30 persons)
Adult Rp. 3.750,-     College Student Rp. 2.250,-     Children/Student Rp. 1.500,-

How to go there:
5 minutes walking from Jakarta Kota train station or Kota bus stop of Trans Jakarta (known as busway) passed by Corridor/Line I (Blok M - Jakarta Kota) or Corridor/Line 12 (Pluit - Priuk).

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

JAKARTA EVENT: Kota Tua Creative Festival 2014

Jakarta, June 21, 2014

Kota Tua Creative Festival merupakan pilot project dari Program Ruang Publik Kreatif, sebuah inisiatif untuk menginspirasi ruang-ruang publik di Jakarta, baik secara temporal maupun permanen. Festival ini berlangsung selama dua hari, yaitu pada tanggal 21 dan 22 Juni dan mengambil tempat di Lapangan Fatahillah, Jakarta. Saya dan George datang ke festival ini di hari pertama.
Kota Tua Creative Festival was a pilot project of Creative Public Spaces Program, an enterprise which initiates the creation of temporary and permanent physical public spaces to be built in central locations in Jakarta, where open public spaces should have existed. This festival took  2 days and was located in Fatahillah Square, Jakarta. I and George came there on its first day.

© +Jiří Sedláček  (2014)

 Barisan sepeda onthel yang telah dicat beraneka warna menyambut  kami saat memasuki Lapangan Fatahillah. Para pengunjung dapat menyewa sepeda-sepeda tersebut lengkap dengan topi berwarna senada untuk para nyonya dan helm jaman kompeni dulu untuk para tuan untuk berkeliling arena festival atau sekedar untuk menjadikannya properti foto. Di sekeliling arena festival juga terdapat installasi berupa potongan plastik mika tebal berbentuk belah ketupat yang digantung dan berisikan harapan-harapan terhadap Kota Jakarta.
A line of colorful onthel (old) bikes greeted us when we entered the Fatahillah Square. Visitors could rent the bike together with the matching-colored hat for the ladies and Dutch-colonial helmet for gentleman to round the festival venue or just to make them as photo properties. In the perimeter of the venue, there was also art installation in the form of diamond-shaped mica plastic hanged above together with the wishes for Jakarta.

© +Jiří Sedláček  (2014)

Sebagai pecinta kopi, otomatis stand ini yang mencuri perhatian saya dan George. Terlebih lagi saat kami mengetahui bahwa kami tidak perlu mengeluarkan uang sepeserpun untuk mendapatkan kopi yang kami mau. Kami pun mengantri bersama beberapa pengunjung lainnya sembari mendengarkan penjelasan dari sang pemilik stand yang antusias mempromosikan produknya.
As a coffee addicts, this boot automatically caught our attention. Moreover when knowing that we didn't need to spend any cent to get the coffee we ordered. So, we queued together with other visitors while listening the owner who was enthusiastically promoting his product. 

© +Jiří Sedláček  (2014)
Di festival ini dipajang beberapa poster yang menampilkan sejarah pendudukan nusantara oleh Kolonial Belanda, khususnya di wilayah Batavia yang merupakan cikal bakal Kota Jakarta.
In this festival, it was displayed several posters about the history of our archipelago occupation by Dutch colonial, especially in Batavia (the former of Jakarta).

© +Jiří Sedláček  (2014)

Salah satu poster lainnya yang dipajang adalah poster yang menampilkan daftar situs Warisan Dunia versi UNESCO yang dimiliki oleh bangsa Indonesia.
another displayed picture was a poster showing Indonesia UNESCO World Heritage.

© +Jiří Sedláček  (2014)
Festival ini merupakan ajang bagi para pelaku industri kreatif untuk memromosikan dan menjual produk hasil kreasi mereka, seperti contonya  kaligrafi berlafadz Bismillah ir-rahman ir-rahim yang diukir di atas lempengan kuningan ini.
This festival was a showcase for creative industry players to promote and sell their products, for example this calligraphy "Bismillah ir-rahman ir-rahim" (in the name of Allah, The Most Compassionate and The Most Merciful) above this brass plate.

© +Jiří Sedláček  (2014)
Beberapa pedagang makanan kaki lima pun turut meramaikan festival ini dengan Kerak Telor sebagai makanan khas Jakarta yang menjadi primadona para pengunjung.
Several food-street vendors also participated on this festival with Kerak Telor, signatre dish from Jakarta, as the primadona.