Saturday, December 22, 2007

Pintu Tertutup Teater Anam

Festival Teater Jakarta 2007 is being held now at TIM (Taman Ismail Marzuki), Cikini, Jakarta, organized annually by Dewan Kesenian Jakarta (the Jakarta Art Council). The program started on December 20 and will finish on December 31, 2007, sponsored by Djarum Super.

On Friday evening of December 21, for the first time in my life, I entered Teater Kecil within TIM complex with the intention to see the Festival Teater Jakarta 2007. I've entered TIM many-many times, but mostly for having lunch at a Manado restaurant or visited the Planetarium. It was a very good experience to me.

It's been actually quite a while that I had a strong wish to see plays at TIM, especially on Friday night, but there were always excuses. Hence, my posting with Plays tag so far is only two, with this article.

A friend in fact posted at Komunitas LKers detail programs of the Festival Teater Jakarta 2007. Still, I missed the opening plays when Putu Wijaya, Niniek L. Karim and Andi Bersama were on stage.

When I entered the Teater Kecil lobby area, a few people were watching documentary video show of Butet Kertaredjasa monologue titled Matinya Toekang Kritik, Death of a Critic, as part of Festival Teater Jakarta 2007 programs.

I took a seat and joined the group to watch the ending parts of the video show, where everything is perfectly in order. Raden Suhikayatno, the outspoken critic played by Butet, witnesess that lawmakers are no longer naughty. Police and judges do not commercialize cases anymore. Students consume no more drugs. Everything is just perfect, and because of that Raden Mas Suhikayatno feels so useless, and finally he dies because of frustration.

After the video show, Butet took a seat in front of the audience to take questions, moderated by Novi (Dewi Noviami). On answering my question, he said that he could be very loyal to a script when performed, but it depends on with whom he's working with, as sometimes even a single word missing is questioned.


A view of the open discussion session with Butet Kertaredjasa at Festival Teater Jakarta 2007.


The familiar face of Butet with his style of expressions and Novi's reaction.

I then went around of the lobby area to see photos exhibition of past performances by different groups. I stoppped by at Teater Mandiri booth, had a chat with Putu Wijaya on his next project, bought one of his books and a video about theater, and he's kind eanough to put his signature on the book for me.

While awaiting Dewi to join me watching Pintu Tertutup, played by Teater Anam, I took a seat at a food stall nearby and ordered hot ginger drink and fried banana.

We paid Rp.10,000 each for the ticket, and at 7.30 p.m. sharp, the play started. It's a story about Garcin, Inez and Estella who have died for different causes, and were brought in by a servant into a room without window and mirror, with a door that can't be opened, and a bell that doesn't work well. It's a punishment for what they have done on earth.

They all believe that the place is a hell, but they receive no physical tortures, no tormentors, no hot iron punctures their faces, no fire burns their bodies to ashes. But sharing a small room with another two persons that you don't know before, and each of them have committed a gross sin before, is still a hell.


The stage and the players: Herman GTL, Dewi Karma Blok M, Jay Surawijaya, Windye Aja.
They all initially agree that in order to survive they won't talk to each other, but soon Etsella breaks the agreement by asking for a comb to Garcin who keeps his words by keeping silence. Inez steps in and offers her comb, but she can't find it, and offers mirrors in her eyes for Estella to see her face, and in no time conflicts after conflicts occur. The hell put the invisible fire and heat the emotion up.


Garcin breaks his promise by finally talking to Estella just to show that he cares, but actually he cares only for himself, his bad image as a coward.


One by one the character experiences mental breakdown, even to the strong mean woman of Inez.


Estella who married with an old man as old as three times of her age, killed her unwanted baby with a stone. She breakes into, supposed to be, tears when she watches from far away her lovers who reveals her private stories with other woman.


It's Garcia turns to experience severe mental breakdown, and yet he faces another disappointment moment when he knows that Estella needs her not because of the image that he wants to have or the person he wants to be.


Finally Garcia can open the door, but they all stay. Nobody wants to step out from the small room.


Estella wants to be kissed by Garcia, but Inez keeps watching. No kiss happens.


They are back to square one.

I enjoyed the play very much. The only thing to me that needs improvement is Inez character, her intonation of the dialogue and probably stage blocking and expressions.

The play was directed by Arief Yanuar, based on Jean Paul Sartre works, translated by Asrul Sani. Art director was Suryana MD, whilst lighting handled by Ipank Ngestu.
The background music, arranged by Iboy RCS, was simple and yet blended with the play and strengthened the overall performance. It was a good play. It's 8.5 out of 10.