Yogyakarta Needs More Theatrical Performances... in English

Gadjah Mada University's English Literature students perform 'Into the Wonderland,' a musical with a script written in English, at Taman Budaya Yogyakarta on Sunday (13/11). (JG Photo/Dhania Putri Sarahtika)

By : Dhania Putri Sarahtika | on 1:04 PM November 22, 2016
Category : Life & Style, Arts & Culture

Yogyakarta. Theater audience in Yogyakarta are certainly never shortchanged when it comes to finding good plays, but the city does lack one thing: plays staged in English, stage actor and director Landung Simatupang said.

Landung, a veteran of many plays and films such as "Soegija" and "Negeri Tanpa Telinga" (A Country Without Ears), said English theater performances should be staged more regularly in Yogyakarta.

"Why not? It's Yogyakarta, the so-called city of culture, education and tourism. There's definitely an audience for it," Landung said.

The "Aku Diponegoro!" (I am Diponegoro!) author made the comment after attending "Into the Wonderland," a musical staged and performed by English Literature students from the city's Gadjah Mada university at the Taman Budaya Yogyakarta concert hall on Sunday (13/11).

Landung praised the play's fluid script and its clever use of familiar storybook characters.

"The story and dialogues are easy to understand, especially if you watch a lot of American musical films," he said.

"The Indonesian subtitle was also spot on because it wasn't too literal," he added.

The play was staged as part of the university's annual English Days event.

Room for improvement

Landung said the students made a brave choice producing a musical, especially one not directly adapted from an existing play.

Despite an often chaotic stage management and less-than-stellar costumes, Into the Wonderland was a good step in the right direction, Landung said.

Aside from remaking old musicals, the veteran suggested adapting traditional Indonesian stories into English-language plays.

"It would be great to see traditional Indonesian stories like "Sangkuriang," "Calon Arang," "Roro Jonggrang" or "Malin Kundang" as stage musicals," Landung said.

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