Portraying The Life of Javanese Nobleman on Burung-Burung Prenjak Theater
Salihara Helat Teater from Salihara Teater Fest 2017 on its second week invited Studio Taksu with their play called “Burung-Burung Prenjak”. On Saturday, 18 March 2017, Blackbox Theater on Salihara became the venue where we witnessed the performance from the theater collective hailing from Surakarta. “Burung-Burung Prenjak” portrays the life of a Javanese nobleman with European educational background. On the performance, he was portrayed to live in a house with both Javanese and Dutch influence and grew old living in it. His children who were born during the Independence era have fled the country to live abroad, thus the man lived alone. As a man with a strong grip of belief in Javanese tradition, abangan community in particular, he was forced to encounter the ever changing world. He believed in myths, and the smallest change from nature was identified as a sign to him. His confidence in his faith was challenged when his identity was slowly eroded with globalization and capitalism. Directed by Djarot B. Darsono, the play which lasted for 70 minutes utilized a thick Javanese influence starting from the costume, wardrobe and other supporting elements.
A male performer and six female performers were on stage throughout the show. After his faith was being tested, he could only be reflective of his life, gazing at his front yard where several birds flew by the tree there. He stared at those birds with a hope that someday people would also visit him like them. The birds were portrayed by the female performers through their dance and movements. The birds have gone through several phases of life including deforestation that is described with the sound of cutting trees. The richness of Javanese nuance also created a rather mystical ambience, and the addition of the singing from the male performer managed to raise our goosebumps. In the end, the main actor did not want to get swallowed by the stream, and he’d rather stay true to who he was and lived on. The narrative was meaningful and entertaining, it once again slapped us with the fact that we had to believe in our roots. “Burung-Burung Prenjak” was one excellent performance from Studio Taksu and we enjoyed it a lot.
Reporter: Intan Maharani/Editor: Novita Widia