Kini Berseri brings theater closer to youth
With their witty sense of humor, acute sensitivity toward the current music scene, down-to-earth vernacular and unmasked social criticism, members of Kini Berseri have succeeded in attracting a growing number of the island’s youngsters to flock to their theatrical performances.
In the last decade, the number of young theater viewers has steadily declined as young people shifted their attention to music concerts, Hollywood blockbusters, illegal street races, futsal, television shows and computer gaming.
Things began taking an upturn more recently, when school-based theater companies succeed in building a loyal fan base among their peers. An island-wide theater festival in late 2011 showed the ability of these companies to draw massive crowds and present captivating performances.
Kini Berseri’s latest performance in early August drew an audience of 1,200 spectators, a magnificent achievement for a modern theatrical performance in Bali. The two-day show presented Galih dan Ratna, a contemporary and musical adaption of Gita Cinta Dari SMA, a late-1970s romantic movie based on an ill-fated love story between two senior high school students.
Staged at the Indonesia Arts Institute’s Natya Mandala auditorium, the musical captivated the spectators through its clever use of lighting and effects, as well as its amusing repartee. The director, Hary Artadi, ingeniously crafted new twists in the plot and added new characters to energize the 30-year-old love story.
“Modern theatrical performances appeal only to a limited number of people, because the general public find them very difficult to digest. By spicing it up with humor and good music we hope to bring theater to a wider audience,” Indra Parusha, Kini Berseri’s co-founder, said.
Kini Berseri was established in August 2008 by graduate members of Teater Topeng, the theater company of SMAN 2 state senior high school. Currently it has 41 active members. It gained public recognition when in 2010 they lampooned the notorious all-girl motorbike gang that assaulted one of its own members. The recorded version of the spoof went viral on YouTube.
Galih dan Ratna was part of Kini Berseri’s annual performance program called “Semoga Lekas Sembuh” (Get Well Soon).
“We consider the spectators to be a bunch of sick people that have to be treated and healed,” Parusha said with a wide grin on his face, implying that it was the noble duty of Kini Berseri to nurse and cure those people.