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Jakarta Post

Sight: Shakespeare in Badung -“A British theatrical group performs in a Balinese village”

  • Words and Photos Luhde Suriyani

Jakarta   /   Thu, June 30 2016   /  11:14 am

It was not a cold, foggy British night. Instead, it was a humid, tropical night. Not the kind of weather Shakespeare experienced when he wrote those powerful plays that continue to entertain the world centuries after he passed away.

Yet, on that humid tropical night, one of his plays was about to be performed at a community hall in Abiansemal Dauh Yeh Cani village in Badung. It is a village steeped in traditional Balinese performing arts. It boasts topeng (masked theater), wayang (shadow puppet), arja (classical dance drama), calonarang (supernatural horror theater) troupes, as well as scores of different gamelan ensembles.

The villagers started to fill the hall. All were in simple Balinese attire.

“I heard that foreigners will perform. I have no idea what they will do,” a pecalang (traditional guardsmen) said.

Watching western artists perform was not a ne...