a blog for the globe
Tuesday March 28th 2017

Veteran ‘Dalang’ Delivers Lecture on ‘Wayang’

Culture | Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015 | sundanesecorner.org

Hawé Setiawan

We did enjoy the show (Photograph: Hawé Setiawan)

We did enjoy the show (Photograph: Hawé Setiawan)

An unusual performance of wayang golék (Sundanese puppet show) was held this afternoon at the secretariat of Sundanese Culture Institute (LBS) of Pasundan University in Bandung. The show, which was performed just in a couple of hours, didn’t tell any epic story. Rather it told about the art itself. This was ‘wayang‘ about ‘wayang‘.

That’s how we, at the LBS, tell students about the art. We invited the 67 year-old dalang (puppet master) A. Sugandhi Sunaryana, who had actually retired from his job in 1997, to be our ‘visiting professor’. We asked him to deliver a sort of lecture on wayang in his own way. Along with his former nayaga (musician; gamelan player), the 82 year-old Dohot Tarmana who played the goong (gong) with LBS’ gamelan players, the old master talked about his performance art to some 60 Pasundan’s students. Their lecturers also attended the event.

With the audience sitting cross-legged on the carpet, the dalang spoke through the voice of Semar, a grand old character in wayang stories. The performance of Semar was also interupted with that of the humorous Cépot and Dawala, as well as that of the heroic Gatotkaca. Applause and laughter occasionally warmed the atmosphere.

GugununganAfter explaining the historical background of Sundanese wayang, Semar shedded light on the five principles of wayang performance that was called ‘panca curiga‘ or ‘5 S’. These are silib (allusion; hint), sindir (allusion), siloka (aphorism), sasmita (sign), and simbul (symbol). With these five principles, a dalang talks about anything metaphorically.

He also explained three fundamental elements of wayang stage, namely  jagat (literally means ‘world’; a central point of the stage that is made of a piece of banana tree trunk), janturan (a similar mean to set up the puppet) at the left and right side of the jagat, and gugunungan (literally means an artificial hill, with stylised illustration of a big tree).

Finally, the dalang presented his account on the multi dimensions of wayang performance. A wayang performance is consisted of various branches of art, e.g. literature, music, visual art, dance, theatre, etc.

We did enjoy the show.***  

 

Leave a Reply