Fri, 17 Nov 2000

Theatrical dance performance showcases moral problems

By Matdon

BANDUNG (JP): This country is embroiled in too many problems: economic affairs are messy and political matters topsy-turvy. At the height of these problems, many have been alienated from the essence of life -- keep up the struggle, never despair.

It is true that despair is born out of complex problems. But the reality is, many turn a blind eye to problems resulting from the multidimensional crises gripping the nation, be it adultery, free sex, pre-marital pregnancy, abortion and so on.

These frequently trivialized problems have inspired a theatrical dance performance titled Orang-Orang Ketiga (Third Persons), held at the French Cultural Center in Bandung on Nov. 10 and Nov. 11. After Bandung, the dance was also staged in Yogyakarta on Nov. 15 and Nov. 16, and will next appear at Surakarta Cultural Park's theater arena on Nov. 19 and Nov. 20.

In its premiere in Bandung, the performance, which starred a versatile artist. Sujiwo Tejo, won quite an applause from the audience. However, some of the ladies in the packed theater, were rather embarrassed watching a barely clothed actress writhing on the stage or witnessing romantic and thrilling sexual scenes permeating the performance.

The moral message in the performance which highlighted abortion and drug abuse victims, was not special and quite common in other art performances.

However, the dance piece had some praiseworthy points.

The choreography by Rusdy Rukmakarta and music arrangement by Sujiwo Tejo blended harmoniously. The dancers from the Eksotika Karmawibhangga Indonesia (EKI) also deserved praise. In the first scene, depicting the life of a broadcaster, Sujiwo Tejo speaking like a broadcaster, uttered a jumble of incomprehensible words.

The second scene depicted a room in which an old man, who used to be a singer and could no longer say any word but "lover", which he longed to have. His wife, on the other hand, kept angrily demanding that he take his medicine, get well and resume work.

It was not until the next scene that the moral problem emerged. This scene was special in that it presented pretty and sexy women dancers who kept the audience (especially males) electrified by their movements on stage, such as depicting sexual intercourse -- they were still completely dressed.

Scene after scene followed, illustrating how babies were thrown away because the mothers were too ashamed to raise them, the result of extramarital affairs.

"I believe many young people experience what is depicted on stage: free sex, pregnancy, abortion, something that my own younger sister experienced. Their future is bleak and maybe this is why our leaders are yet to find the right formula to overcome these problems," the show's producer, Aiko Senosoenoto, told The Jakarta Post after the performance.

Through 10 dancers, who performed all the dances laudably, the show reflects the confusion now engulfing youngsters, the manifestation of suppressed anger. In Indonesia, problems of the young, families and culture are less important than political and economic matters. Young women who have became pregnant and then undergone abortion are simply ignored. Their problems are less alarming than corruption.

"There are things that we can't hide, forcing us to give up...," Sujiwo told the Post.

According to Sujiwo, Rusdy and Aiko, the show will be developed to conform to local needs, making the dance performance different in each city.