Hapsari Andira plays Jinten during the premiere of 'J.J Sampah-Sampah Kota' by Teater Koma at Taman Ismail Marzuki in Central Jakarta on Thursday. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)

40-Year-Old Play Restaged, Refreshed by Teater Koma


NOVEMBER 08, 2019

Indonesia's legendary theater troupe Teater Koma restaged a decades-old play that portrayed the life of poor families in an urban jungle on Thursday. The new-but-old play was directed by Rangga Riantiarno, who took his inspirations from the original script written by his father and the founder of the troupe, Nano Riantiarno.

Titled "J.J. Sampah-Sampah Kota" ("J.J. Refuse of the City"), the play was staged at Graha Bhakti Budaya, the old, slightly decrepit theater building in the Taman Ismail Marzuki art center in Central Jakarta that is currently undergoing a major renovation. 

The play tells the story of families who live under a bridge in the city and have to obey the commands of a "Mandor Kepala" (foreman) and his three sidekicks. The heroes of the play are the garbage collector Jian and his pregnant wife Juhro.
One day, the foreman decides to subject the poor families living under the bridge to an "integrity test." His sidekicks drop a suitcase filled with money near the bridge that's later found by Jian. The garbageman soon finds himself in a big dilemma. He desperately needs the money for his wife who is about to give birth, but his conscience prevents him from just taking the money and run.

What Jian decides to do ultimately leads to dramatic scenes in the second half of the play. 

Teater Koma's co-founder and director Nano Riantiarno wrote the original script while he spent time at the famous Iowa Writers' Workshop and staged it for for the first time 40 years ago.

His son Rangga lent a modern touch to the play in only his second show as Teater Koma director after "Antigoneo" in 2011.

His unique graphic design combined with carefully-choreographed lights and multimedia shows shot on a giant backdrop screen seemed to have amused many in the audience. 

The new "J.J Sampah-Sampah Kota" featured senior actors such as Idries Pulungan, Budi Ros, Daisy Lantang, Ratna Ully, Ohan Adiputra, Tuti Hartati and Ade Firman Hakim.

This is the 159th production by Teater Koma and will run until Nov. 17.

A Teater Koma actor wearing make up at the backstage before the show started. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
A Teater Koma actor applies his own makeup backstage before the show. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
Hapsari Andira (Jinten) and Suntea Sisca (Mariem) prepare their dress at the backstage. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
Hapsari Andira (Jinten) and Suntea Sisca (Mariem) getting dressed backstage. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
Everybody hold Jian who was possesed at the opening act of J.J Sampah-Sampah Kota in Taman Ismail Marzuki, Central Jakarta on Thursday (07/11). (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
The opening scene of the play: a possessed Jian is being restrained by his neighbors. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
Adi Firman Hakim plays as Bordes, an activist who support peoples in shantytown to fight and protest to foremans rules and decisions. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
Adi Firman Hakim plays Bordes, an activist who stands with the poor to fight against their tyrant. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
Rangga Riantiarno, the director combines classic teathrical action with multimedia. The character of Mandor Kepala is showed in a big projector sceen. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
Director Rangga Riantiarno combines classic theatrical performance with multimedia technology. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
Jian (Zulfi Ramdani) threatened Tarba (Bayu Dharmawan S) using a machete. He wanted to retake the suitcase from Tarba who steal it from Jian. Jian didn
Jian (Zulfi Ramdani) brandishes a machete at Tarba (Bayu Dharmawan S.) as they fight for a money bag. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
Jian (Zulfi Ramdani) protects the suitcase from any possible threat as he acts as Jian in J.J Sampah-Sampah Kota staged by Teater Koma in Taman Ismail Marzuki, Central Jakarta on Thursday (07/11). (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
Jian (Zulfi Ramdani), center, refuses to let go of his money bag. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)