You Really Should Have Watched Sudamala from Calonarang Epilogue

You can’t miss Sudamala from Calonarang Epilogue. Really. I have long miss opportunity to watch Indonesia performance, especially during pandemic era. When Titimangsa IG post somehow appear in my timeline in IG (thank God for great algorithm that can read my desire !) sharing there will be Sudamala performance specifically on Calonarang, it only took no more than a minute to just go for it, even though am going solo.

This is going to be a short review simply because I more than adore the performance, that is co-produced by Happy Salma and Nicholas Saputra. It sure is not cheap to produce as original as possible the stage, the music and of course the dance, I am thankful for all the sponsors that help make this fantastic performance takes place. 

While I am used to watch Wayang in its original language and fully conversant in the language. Balinese language is beyond my reach and thus, I am thankful that the performance is designed as such that there is translation but without reducing the beautiful Balinese dialogue. This allow me to truly enjoy the show and acquire good understanding of the message, the flow of the story, the humor and yet enjoy the beauty of Balinese language.

But language is not the only thing that is masterful, the stage has been set as such there is a gorgeous light play to help bring to live some of the scenes and at the same time the rest of stage is set as such to be as original as possible within Gedung Arsip. Somehow the sound is also played well with equally beautiful music as the stage to the dialogue, despite it is in open space. The costume of course without saying truly elegant and original Balinese costumes which is a feast to the eyes, especially someone like me who is truly hungry for beautiful traditional costume. It is truly cultural feast.

The story is set in 4 chapters with intermissions, a story about bitter love and power and how evil cause misery and blood shed for common people. It is a love story and betrayal of Ratna Diah Mangali (the daughter of Walu Nateng Dirah of Dirah Kingdom) and Mpu Bahula (the son of Mpu Bharada). Mpu Bahula betrayed and left Ratna Diah Mangali after stealing treasure from Dirah Kingdom. Walu Nateng Dirah is super angry and mobilize her team with special power to send plague to the common people and cause many misery including death. This then led eventually the battle between the parents with their super power.

The ending deserve a paragraph on its own. Calonarang finale has always been dramatic in which eventually all the evil desire should be removed for the people to be liberated from misery. There is deep sense of ritual and mythical power as the performance ending with some of the soldiers stab themselves with Kris ( typical Indonesian ancient powerful mythical weapon similar to small swords ). For those who never watch one before, it is truly dramatic and magical ending, a truly memorable memento worth long dinner discussion or breakfast the morning after. You will not forget the ending for days.

The performance was done masterfully under the mastery of Jro Mangku Serongga who is one of the master in Calonarang and Cokorda Gde Bayu Putra  who is also equally masterful with Taksu Ubud as his last work before Sudamala. All the dancers are thoroughly experienced some has repeated Calonarang experiences for example  I Putu Wahendra (Mpu Bharada), I Kadek Budi Setiawan (Mpu Bahula) and Ni K Maskerdenawangi ( Ratna Mangali ) even performed them outside Indonesia for some. Having watched one once in Bali in its original setting, this performance is truly faithful to its original version typically showcased in Bali – and then some.

It was unfortunate that the performance was delayed for an hour or so due to very heavy rain, but kudos to the committee who are able to handle the situation in the most professional manner but at the same time low key, providing the audiences with Bakso keliling. Kudos also to nearly 100% of the audiences who are quietly waiting until the rain passed and enjoyed the beautiful performance.

There is a corner for food, souvenirs, coffee table book as well as small exhibition on the process. All of those heighten the experience and allow the audiences to bring home this great performance.

Verdict : A true joy to experience fabulous cultural performance that is Sudamala ! Don’t miss the next Titimangsa production. Follow Titimangsa in so you will kept updated with the next performance and also see some of snippets of the performance.

#Bali #Baliculturalperformance #Sudamala #Titimangsa #NicholasSaputra #HappySalma #Calonarang

A snippet of the performance

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