Mekar Bhuana creates New Year’s Drama at Oberoi
Mekar Bhuana performed their first original drama this past New Year’s Eve. Commissioned by Oberoi Hotel in Seminyak, Bali, the classical drama featured rare and previously extinct seven-tone semara pagulingan repertoire, including Perong Subandar, Sumambang Jawa and Ginanti, as well as a rare pelegongan piece called Mares. Mares is an extinct piece of music with a marching beat (Mares means ‘march’ in Dutch) and dates to the time of Dutch occupation in Bali (pre 1906).
Mekar Bhuana co-founders Vaughan Hatch and Putu Evie Suyadnyani, decided that a good way to bring this piece of music back to life is to add a dance component. So, they engaged expert choreographer, dance maestro and ISI lecturer, Nyoman Cerita, to create a new dance but in classical baris form. The results were rewarding and this 4-minute dance was a spectacular feature of the 70-minute drama that involved a total of more than 58 musicians and dancers.
Entitled ‘A Present for a Princess’, the drama adopted a gambuh theme but with a new storyline that climaxed with a combination of kecak dancers and ogoh-ogoh effigies.
Video of excerpts of the drama (complete with insistent firecrackers from neighbouring Kudeta!) can be viewed on our YouTube channel.
Mekar Bhuana hope to be able to perform this drama more regularly and are currently looking for a local performance venue, as well as opportunities to take the production touring overseas.
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