Puppeteer Slamet Gundono is a rebel in the tradition of wayang—puppets. Yet, in his “insanity”, he still radiates a Javanese light. Except that, he tells the tale in a section called goro-goro.
Slamet does not seem to care about the standards, but it is not because he does not master them. He just prefers not to succumb. He comprehends what he rejects. Otherwise, how could he rebel.
Slamet just does not want to redo the achievements of his predecessors. He pushes in every direction, creates breakthroughs, hence, his wayang—that they call “wayang suket”—displays something new.
At Erasmus Huis, the Dutch Cultural House in Jakarta, on August 20, 2011, he was even accompanied by an assistant and an artistic director. He trusted the gamelan to be played by a group of musicians from “the Land Under the Sea” (Netherlands), The Dutch Chamber Music Company, with conductor Arjan Tien.
Some part of the stage was allocated for Slamet’s screen, while some was for the musicians. Presented in the tradition of Western classical music, his performance was, as usual, receptively smooth sailing, free, with a vocal so clear that the Nightingale tale by Hans Christian Anderson’s was completely and beautifully performed.
Slamet commenced the show with an opening that invited the audience to make fun at his huge body. Then after a brief warming-up that prepared the audience to deal with anything coming their way, the music started to play. (WI/Putu Wijaya)