Selfie time for the storytellers, audience and organizers of Indonesia's Storytelling Festival on Sunday. (JG Photo/Jayanty Nada Shofa)

Happily Ever After: Indonesia's International Storytelling Festival Ends on a High


NOVEMBER 04, 2019

Jakarta. Indonesia's International Storytelling Festival ended at the National Museum in Jakarta on Sunday after an impressive weekend dominated by stories about heroes from local and international storytellers and puppeteers. 

Storytelling is a breath of fresh air for children as it takes them to a world of endless possibilities and quirky characters. Within this imaginative world, there are countless things to learn from.

At the two-day festival, organized by the Ayo Dongeng Indonesia (Let's Tell a Story Indonesia) community, children learned what it takes to be a hero from a wide variety of performers. 

The official theme of the event was "Stories of Heroes," but interestingly it took the view that heroism is not just the stuff of war but is also everywhere in our daily lives. 

Deepa Kiran used Indian traditional instruments to make her Chiki Chiki story more lively.
Deepa Kiran used Indian traditional instruments to make her Chiki Chiki story more lively.

Indian storyteller Deepa Kiran delivered a lively rendition of her story "Chiki Chiki," about a child so fearless that she befriended a fearful monster and saved an entire village just by using her wits.

Kiran used Indian traditional instruments to show off Chiki Chiki's penchant for the performing arts while also giving a brief introduction to Indian culture to the children at the festival. 

Meanwhile, local storyteller Andi Yudha told the saga of the superhero Super Iban (Sariban), a sensitive character who always reminded other people to take care of the environment. 

Andi brought his story to life with a puppet named Mio and a bunch of lively drawings on a whiteboard. 

The performers often relied on gimmicks to work the audience. Jeff Gere used exaggerated expressions to bring his audience to boisterous laughter. Amel and Dandi used a ukulele to get the children to sing along to the classic nursery rhyme, "Aku Anak Penggembala" ("I'm a Sheperd's Son"). 

Aryo Zidni telling the young audience to show their shocked expression with their hands up. (3/11)
Hands up for Aryo Zidni. (JG Photo/Jayanty Nada Shofa)

Aryo Zidni asked his young audience to mimic his expressions on stage. Roger Jenkins split the audience into groups of animals when he told his story of a frog.

The storytellers collaborated on stage while pretending to be parts of a mango tree. (3/11)
Storytellers pretending to be parts of a mango tree. (JG Photo/Jayanty Nada Shofa)

The storytelling part of the festival ended with the storytellers collaborating on a tale about a mango tree. They pretended to be parts of the tree – branches, leaves, roots, fruits – as they argued on who had the worst task of all.

The story ended with the realization that they were all parts of one tree and have to work together to keep bearing fruits. The story was written to encourage the young audience to learn about the importance of tolerance.

The storytellers said they hoped the children's parents were taking notes and continue to tell their children stories at home.

"Never fall asleep before your parents read you a bedtime story, even if you have an exam the next day," said Aryo, who is also the founder of Ayo Dongeng Indonesia. 

The Fun Never Stops

The also offered arts and crafts workshops and music performances. Ganara Art taught the children to paint superhero characters on tote bags, t-shirts and pillows. 

Along with WeWo (Weekend Workshop), the children created dolls out of socks on Sunday (3/11).
WeWo (Weekend Workshop) teaches children to make sock dolls. (JG Photo/Jayanty Nada Shofa)

WeWo (Weekend Workshop) offered classes on stencil drawing and making sock dolls.

"We teach the children to make dolls that represent who they are. They see themselves in these dolls, so they grow attached to them. Creating the dolls also give them a sense of achievement," said Iskandar from WeWo on Sunday.

Aman Perkusi held an astounding percussion performance of Indonesian traditional songs. (JG Photo/Jayanty Nada Shofa)
Aman Perkusi's roof-raising percussion performance of Indonesian traditional songs. (JG Photo/Jayanty Nada Shofa)

The weekend's festivities ended with Aman Perkusi's outstanding percussion performance of Indonesian traditional songs. Everyone in the audience, young and old, happily sang along at the top of their voice.

Some of them had even more reason to be happy when BNI Life handed out life insurances worth Rp 20 million ($1,400) to families who attended the festival on both days. 

As a reward for attending the event for two consecutive days, BNI Life handed life insurances to the families. (JG Photo/Jayanty Nada Shofa)
BNI Life handed life insurances to families who attended both days of the festival. (JG Photo/Jayanty Nada Shofa)