‘Papilio Rumanzovia’ gives new wings to Binus drama production
The English department at Binus University has never tired of trying something new in their drama productions. In its fourth production, Papilio Rumanzovia, they added a touch of Javanese culture to the play, unlike their previous productions, which were more Western-themed.
The two-hour play, which was staged on Dec. 9, was directed by Venantius Vladimir Ivan, who was responsible for the success of the last three productions, while the playwright was one of the department’s lecturers, Yani Susanti.
Papilio Rumanzovia, the Latin name for the Scarlet Mormon butterfly, tells the story of Billy, a troubled and rebellious young man from the big city of Jakarta. Coming from a well-off family, Billy is a spoiled son who drops out of college, gets himself into gang fights and lives for an endless round of drug and alcohol-fueled parties.
Fed up with his son’s behavior, Harsono sends him away to his grandmother’s house in a far-flung village without Billy’s consent. During his stay in the village, his grandmother Eyang Sekar, who produces batik, calls him by his “real” Indonesian name, Bintang (Star) which leads to constant arguments and raised voices.
Just like the black butterfly with its red eyes on its underside, Bintang finds his true self. He starts to develop feelings for Seruni, a worker at his grandmother’s batik house, and comes to accept his new lifestyle. Bintang eventually inherits the batik business and decides to stay in the village for good. However, trouble comes when Bintang accuses Seruni of being a thief and of stealing money from his grandmother’s business, forcing it toward bankruptcy. Ultimately, however, it turns out that Bintang’s uncle Marsudi was the embezzler, but he has already fled, never to be found.
With only two months of preparation before the staging, and produced only a few months after last June’s performance of Masquarade, Papilio didn’t meet expectations based on the standard of Binus’ last three extravagant productions. The opening act may be considered poorly prepared – with only one student singing and another playing guitar – again, if compared to the last productions.
Unlike the previous productions, which cast the department’s lecturers and students together as actors on stage, in Papilio only the students were cast to act. For its next production, perhaps Binus University’s English Department will pass the playwriting to its students in order to continue developing.