The Jakarta Post
Rangga Riantiarno (left) and Tuti Hartati when act as Arjuna and Sumbadra, respectively, during press conference at Galeri Indonesia Kaya, Central Jakarta, on Monday, June 25, 2018. (Bakti Budaya Djarum Foundation /File)
Indonesia’s most well-known theater group, Teater Koma, is attempting to take on the sci-fi genre for the first time in Gemintang.
It is the group’s first major production this year and unlike its previous works, which are usually set in a fantasy universe on earth; this particular play involves an inter-planetary love story with the usual dashes of satire and criticism against Indonesian society.
The play tells the story of Arjuna, an astronomer who falls in love with an alien woman named Ssumphphwttsspahzaliapahssttphph, also known as Sumbadra, who hails from the planet Ssumvitphphpah, which is 12 billion years from earth.
Arjuna plans to introduce Sumbadra to his parents, but the intergalactic romance is hindered by the fact that Arjuna’s father, Wibowo, is a corrupt council member who is being hunted by the authorities.
Norbertus “Nano” Rintiarno, the founder of Teater Koma as well as Gemintang’s director and writer, said the play was set in a nation where citizens have forsaken knowledge and education for corrupt acts.
“When power and riches become the endgame, the end will justify the means for many people. What would happen when the young generation tries to rebel and break free from the older generation’s sins?” Nano added.
Apart from being Teater Koma’s first sci-fi production, Gemintang is also shorter at three hours, compared to the four-and-a-half hours of the group’s previous plays. This also means that the play features less music and songs than usual.
Gemintang music director Fero Akdiansya Stefanus said the play would only feature 18 songs, as opposed to regular productions that have more than 30.
“The songs themselves are very simplified, with many repetitions, as the theme of the production is ‘imagination without limit’. I want to let the audience’s imagination run wild instead,” Fero added.
As Gemintang is a sci-fi-inspired story, the set decor will combine traditional installations with multimedia elements. Artistic director Idries Pulungan said the artistic approach was a virtual set.
“We received help from our animator friends from Bandung. At first, Nano envisioned a hologram, which while ideal in appearance, would need a substantial amount of funds to construct,” Idries added, noting that the set decor focused on the audience being immersed in the scenes.
Despite the more complex set and theme, head of production Ratna Rintiarno said both cast and crew needed to be on point as the multimedia set required precision.
“Our practice sessions are really tough. During the Eid holidays, we only took four days off,” Ratna added.
Gemintang will run from June 29 to July 8 at Graha Bhakti Budaya in Taman Ismail Marzuki, Central Jakarta. Tickets can be purchased at Teater Koma’s website www.teaterkoma.org as well as e-commerce site Blibli.com. Prices start as low as Rp 80,000 (US$5.65) for a Category 5 seat on Monday, up to Rp 500,000 for a Category 1 seat on the weekend.
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