Indonesian Postcolonial Theatre: Spectral Genealogies and by Evan Darwin Winet

By Evan Darwin Winet

Drawing examples from as early as a 1619 creation of Hamlet and as fresh as 2007 performances by means of Indonesia’s most renowned presidential impersonator, this e-book considers how theatre features as a uniquely potent medium for representing the contradictions of Indonesian identification within the city colonial/postcolonial metropole.

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It amalgamated a multi-ethnic polyglot community into a uniform historical nationality. When this multi-ethnic community emerged from their castle victorious two and a half months later, they did so as Batavians, founders of a new Dutch colony even as their spectral ancestors had founded the Netherlands. Though nationalists would later speak of ‘350 years of Dutch colonialism,’ the first two centuries after the founding of Batavia saw only modest, strategic territorial expansion. By the end of the century, the English had relinquished their claims on most of the islands (including the trade of the nutmeg-rich island of Run for Manhattan at the Treaty of Breda in 1667).

Against this perspective, Sanoesi Pane advocated a more ‘nativist’ approach recovering the ancient legacies chronicled in such texts as the Pararaton and celebrating the spiritual ‘Arjuna model’ of the East over the materialist ‘Faust model’ of the West. 14 Although theatre artists and critics in the Soekarno era worried about a ‘crisis’ in Indonesian creativity, and some playwrights (especially on the political Left) experimented with ways to indigenize the national theatre in form and content, Alisjahbana’s perspective generally prevailed.

By borrowing technique, form and content from local ethnic traditions, practitioners who came to prominence in the 1970s claimed an authenticity for their works that had been lacking in the previous generation. com - licensed to Feng Chia University - PalgraveConnect - 2011-02-18 Introduction: Colonial Foundations and Precessions of Postcoloniality 31 Indonesian Postcolonial Theatre theatre remains dominated by the surviving members of this generation, it would appear that Indonesian theatre remains within the tradisi baru paradigm.

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