Cross-cultural multi-media music-theatre

4-5 October, 2008
Adam Concert Room, Victoria University of Wellington (Kelburn Campus)

Acclaimed master of Balinese masked dance, I NYOMAN SUKERTA combined with local artists to reinterpret Shakespeare’s famous text.

This new collaboration between NZ and Indonesian artists was a hugely entertaining, sometimes startling, reinterpretation of Shakespeare’s view of human life. Mixing multi-lingual declamation, exotic vocal styles, physical theatre and gamelan percussion this production transcended the many boundaries of time and place, language and culture. Shakespeare was never more universal than this! All the world’s a stage….

Hear more about the show on Radio New Zealand’s Upbeat, where Eva Radich talked to Jack Body and Nyoman Sukerta.

All photos by Robert Catto / Full photo gallery here.

DVD available on request.


  • Gamelan Padhang Moncar
  • Gamelan Taniwha Jaya
  • a specially formed Randai group
  • Tristan Carter (electric violin)
  • Helen Bowater, Christine White (vocals)
  • Megan Collins (rabab pasisia, vocals)

and Graduates of the Wellington Performing Arts Centre:

  • Salesi Le’ota
  • Deborah Rea
  • Jessica Aaltonen

Gamelan Performers: Budi S. Putra (dir Gamelan Padhang Moncar); I Wayan Gde Yudane (dir Gamelan Taniwha Jaya); Helen Bowater; Marie Direen; Judith Exley; Gareth Farr; Beth Goodwin; Jo Hilder; Mike Jones; Anton Killin; Kylie Nesbit; Catherine Robertshawe; Richard Robertshawe; Lyndee Jane Rutherford; Greg Street; Pippa Strom; Svenda Strom

Randai Performers: Jessica Aaltonen, Megan Collins, Salisi Le’ota, Leutu Matautia, Bronwyn Poultney, Yono Soekarno

Music byGareth Farr, Wayan Yudane, Budi Putra

ProducerJack Body

Director: Lilicherie McGregor

Lighting: Thomas Press

Guest artist: I Nyoman Sukerta (Bali)


  • The NZ School of Music
  • Asia:NZ Foundation
  • Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia
  • Victoria University of Wellington
  • Rasa Malaysian & South Indian Restaurant
  • Wellington Performing Arts Centre


I Nyoman Sukerta belongs to that rare breed of Balinese artists who have the power of taksu, the attribute of physical and spiritual possession - when he dons a mask his body, his head and hand movements, his whole physical being is possessed by the character of that mask. As well as an outstanding dancer, he is a dalang (puppeteer), which in Indonesian culture places him at the pinnacle of artistic achievement, requiring the combined skills of consummate musician, actor, singer, dancer, shaman, comedian, master story-teller, and highly respected repository of cultural knowledge and wisdom. He has previously performed in Wellington in 2005 as part of “Vita Brevis” (an inter-cultural meditation on life’s brevity for voices, gamelan and dance).

“Dancer Nyoman Sukerta’s revelatory performance of the Balinese Dance of an Old Man … took us convincingly into another realm, self-explanatory and universal in its meaning.”
Lindis Taylor, Dominion Post, November 18, 2005.

Lilicherie McGregor is a New Zealand director who has a PhD in intercultural theatre. She lectured in Theatre and Performing Arts at the University of Otago for 4 years before working as assistant director for Eugenio Barba at Odin Teatret for 3 years, during which time she collaborated with the Gambuh Pura Desa Ensemble from Bali on Ur-Hamlet which premiered at Elsinore in 2004. In 2006 she was director in residence at Massey University. She is the artistic director of Kore Theatre Company, creating original work as well as touring Shakespeare to schools nationwide.

What is randai?

Randai group in 'Seven Ages of Man' 2008

Randai group in ‘Seven Ages of Man’ 2008

Randai is a folk theatre tradition from West Sumatra, Indonesia. Developed around the turn of the 20th century, Randai incorporates three ancient performance traditions of the Minagkabau people - martial art (silek), song (dendang) and story telling (kaba).

A randai show is typically performed outside, in a round, with a temporary awning put up to protect the players and audience from the weather. A village performance usually celebrates a wedding or a community event. Read more

The randai group for this show was trained by local ethnomusicologist, Megan Collins, and a guest choreographer from the University of Hawai’i, Kirstin Pauka, drawing on traditional material that both have learned in West Sumatra.

‘The Seven Ages of Man’
from All’s Well That Ends Well by William Shakespeare (Act II, Scene vii)

All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages.

At first, the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms.

Then the whining school boy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school.

And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress’ eyebrow.

Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honor, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon’s mouth.

And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lined,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part.

The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slippered pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side;
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank, and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound.

Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.