(From left to right) Director Wawan Sofwan, Happy Salma, Reza Rahadian and Lukman Sardi. (JG Photo/Lisa Siregar)

Happy Salma to Present Stage Adaptation of 'Bumi Manusia'


JUNE 01, 2016

Jakarta. Actress Happy Salma announced "Bunga Penutup Abad" as the title of her stage adaptation to "Bumi Manusia" ("This Earth of Mankind") and "Anak Semua Bangsa" ("Child of All Nations"), the first and second instalments of the Buru Quartet by award winning author Pramoedya Ananta Toer, during a media event on Monday.

Actors Reza Rahadian, Lukman Sardi and Chelsea Islan are among the stellar cast who will perform along with Happy when the 2.5-hour play takes place in August.

"Bumi Manusia" highlights the unjust lives of the Indonesian people during the Dutch colonization era. It follows Minke, a young boy of a royal Javanese family who attend an elite Dutch school, as his encounters with Nyai Ontosoroh, a mistress of a Dutch man, and her daughter Annelies, turn his world around.

The play is directed by Wawan Sofwan, who have helmed critically acclaimed plays such as "Mereka Memanggilku Nyai Ontosoroh" ("They Call Me Nyai Ontorosoroh"),  "Monolog Inggit" and "Rumah Boneka" ("Doll House"). Designer Deden Siswanto is listed as the costume director for the play.

Happy has performed as Nyai Ontosoroh in other plays, but said she had always wanted to adapt the Buru Quartet by Pramoedya. During the press conference, the actress said she is satisfied with the lineup as it took her six months just to find the cast. Wawan said he required all casts not to take any side jobs during two weeks prior to the play.

"The biggest challenge is to make everyone commit to the project," she said.

Books by Pramoedya were banned in the writer's lifetime, but are now widely available in major bookstores such as Gramedia, Aksara and Kinokuniya. Commenting on the recent book banning and burning, Wawan said he is not worried about the play.

"This play is an oasis to the hustle and bustle of our politics and social lives today," he said. "We will stick to what Pram wrote in his books."

This year marks ten years since the death of Pramoedya. The play will take place on August 25 and 26 in Jakarta.