The Jakarta Post
A new three-hour version of 'Panembahan Reso' will be staged in December. (Shutterstock/File)
It was in 1986 when Panembahan Reso, one of poet and playwright W.S. Rendra’s most remarkable works, was first staged. Taking place at Istora Stadium in Senayan, Jakarta, the play was performed over the course of seven hours in front of an audience of 15,000.
Ken “Ida” Zuraida, the wife of the late Rendra, took part in the 1986 performance. She recalled that the play was staged on a 22 by 18 meter stage.
Ida also said the story was universal, as it explored the seizure of power. “For me, as long as civilization exists, the script will always stay sexy,” she said during a press conference for the restaging of Panembahan Reso on April 26 at Bengkel Teater Rendra in Depok, West Java.
Panembahan Reso will return this year with a shorter duration of three hours. Directed by Hanindawan, it is set to be staged from Dec. 16 to 20 at Teater Jakarta at Taman Ismail Marzuki (TIM), Central Jakarta. The play will also mark the 10th anniversary of the passing of W.S. Rendra.
Sha Ine Febriyanti (left) and Whani Darmawan read the play's script during a press conference at Bengkel Teater Rendra in Depok, West Java, on April 26. (JP/Ni Nyoman Wira)
The play narrates the story of a coup, carried out in a bloodstained and cunning way, in which families and friends are sacrificed for power. It features cross-generational Indonesian actors, including Whani Darmawan, Sha Ine Febriyanti, Gigok Anuraga, Ruth Mariani, Ucie Sucita and Dimas Danang.
Though the performance will be shorter in duration, the audience can expect the same story, along with choreography created by Hanindawan. “The audience will still experience the [old] storyline, characters, script dramatization and Rendra’s ideas that went into Panembahan Reso,” he said.
In the title role of Panembahan Reso, Whani said he focused on his collaboration with Sha Ine Febriyanti, who will play Ratu Dara. “There’s a strong attraction between them with violence at its center. […] Some people get aroused by love, but Panembahan Reso and Ratu Dara are turned on by power and blood,” said Whani.
Auri Jaya, one of the play’s producers, said Panembahan Reso was Rendra’s most monumental work and that the poet was one of the nation’s almost-forgotten treasures. “The play exists [in the present time], but no one seems to recognize it in this millennial era. […] Hopefully it can inspire millennials and become a reunion event for fans of Rendra,” said Auri. (wng)