Looking back, the last year has presented us with a great variety of genres and stories to tell on the stage, leaving audiences not only entertained but also enlightened.
This was a year in which many people wanted to escape from the mundanity of daily life and social media posts, which are often dominated by hate speech, emotional debates over the old and new Jakarta Governor and silly corruption cases. This is why we need to go to the playhouses to free ourselves from reality, at least for a few hours
Theaters can serve as a way to heal a broken heart and come to terms with traumatic experiences, as proven by the latest show entitled Ode Tusuk Konde (Ode to a Hairpin) which voiced the pain and struggles of survivors of sexual abuse and violence. This year we have also seen some theatrical troupes that, despite all their challenges, have continued to show their prowess on the stage. Highlights from the playacting scene this year come from the shows of the country’s legendary theater troupes such as Teater Koma, Teater Mandiri and Miss Tjitjih. They deserve praise for their existence and perseverance to maintain and grow their fan base despite all of the difficulties in drawing new audiences.
In its 40th year, Teater Koma proves it is still going strong by performing big play productions regularly every year. Mainly supported by Djarum Bakti Budaya, the troupe presented three main shows this year. The first, titled Opera Ikan Asin (Salted Fish Opera) ran during their anniversary month of March at Ciputra Artpreneur in South Jakarta, followed by Warisan (Legacy) in Gedung Kesenian Jakarta art playhouse in Central Jakarta in August, and finally the fourth installment of Chinese folk tale Sie Jin Kwie in Graha Bhakti Budaya in Taman Ismail Marzuki (TIM), Central Jakarta in November.