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A captivating performance of Indonesia’s traditional art of Wayang Kulit or shadow puppet entitled “Anoman Obong” or the“The Burning of Hanuman” enthralled hundreds of spectators  in the audience at the Southbank Hall Festival London last weekend.  The performance  was accompanied by London’s Southbank Gamelan Orchestra

The Wayang Kulit Shadow Puppet and Javanese Traditional Dance performance in London  were initiated by the Gamelan Orchestra of Southbank Centre that successfully attracted hundreds of England’s theather-goers  from adults, teenagers, and even children.

Lasting altogether one whole afternoon  from 01.00 pm to 07.00 pm local time on Sunday, 14th December 2014, before the Wayang kulit performance,  the event showcased Javanese Traditional Dances  presented by dancers from the Lila Bhawa Gorup led by Ni Made Pujiwati. Among the Lila Bhawa dancers, five were Europeans who collaborated with the Indonesian community in London.

Performing the story of “Anoman Obong” or the Burning of Hanuman from the Ramayana Saga, the Wayang Kulit shadow play followed shortly after the dance performance. The Wayang Kulit performance featured Sujarwo as the “Dalang” or “Puppet Master” and musicians from the  Indonesia Art Institute (ISI) from Solo city who collaborated with the Southbank Gamelan Orchestra.

While normally a Wayang Kulit performance can last all night, but  especially for the Southbank Hall Festival, the performance was shortened to two hours from 05.00 pm to 07.00 pm. The dialogues were also presented in both Javanese and English. Laughter and applause were often heard from the audience when the “dalang” made jokes in English.  

“It is so awesome to watch Wayang Kulit Performance in London” said Al Hanif, an Indonesian student who is currently studying at the University of London.

Two students from Brighton University who were sitting in the front row seemed very enthusiastic  enjoying and observing the entire performance. They even asked Hanif about the gamelan music instruments which they thought are very unique. One of the students, Pafa later said “I really want to visit this country so badly after listening to this music (gamelan)”.