3 October 2015

Wellington South Baptist Church, 284 The Parade, Island Bay

Joko Susilo presented the story of The Fall of Alengka from the Ramayana through wayang kulit (traditional Javanese shadow puppetry), accompanied by Gamelan Padhang Moncar as part of the Out of the Suitcase Puppet Festival in Island Bay. Click on the photos to see larger images.

Photos: Kelly Kellective


By Ann Hunt, Dominion Post, 6 October 2015

The Fall of Alengka is a story from the great Indian epic, The Ramayana. Its creator, Joko Susilo, is an eighth-generation Indonesian shadow puppeteer, now resident in Dunedin.

An integral part of the performance is the musical accompaniment by the mesmerising Gamelan Padhang Moncar. Particular mention must go to the beautiful singing of Briar Prastiti and the stirring drumming of Rupert Snook. The Gamelan adds brilliant drama and colour to the production.

The beautifully made, intricate puppets demonstrate high energy and refinement, an extraordinarily wide range of emotions and movement. Great skill and dexterity, immense discipline and total concentration is required of the puppeteer. Susilonot only manipulates the puppets, but also narrates the action, sings and does some sound effects as well. His mastery is complete.

The story is one of good triumphing over evil. It tells how Prince Rama battled the terrible Rawhina who had abducted his wife Princess Sinta, and of their many ordeals before they were eventually reunited.
The middle traditional comic section features clowns who trade slapstick business and references to John Key and the All Blacks.

The spellbound audience gave Susilo and the Gamelan a joyous standing ovation.