Students’ Wayang Wong Presentation 2013

Sep 5

The students completed their 10-week session with Wayang Wong Master Bambang Suryono and presented a choreographed piece to family, friends and invited guests. Theatre department heads from various arts colleges were also invited. Guests were impressed with the spirituality of the performance and the physical demands of the performance on the students.

Watching the Wayang Wong

In the stillness of the silent room,
A low rumble emanating from the floor
Backs curve in concert,
An elegant arm floats in space,
A scarf lifted delicately in mid-air,
Prophets chanting to an ancient pulse.
The master caresses a spine,
Back of the hand creates celestial connection,
Smoothing bodies through the air,
Creatures stretching, hips drift skywards,
Haunting their place with primal sound,
A wrist detaches and flies away,
A finger leads the eye to a space beyond.

Now bodies jerk and shudder, releasing sound and fury,
Jigging, pulsating, voices whipping and calling.
Storm spent, the body settles,
Slipping into stillness, breath the only sound,
Chin inclined towards eternity.
The pack disperses, seeking solitude,
A space in which to touch the spirit,
And to commune with another face,
One not living but asking to be given life.

In the stillness of the silent room,
A foot arches off the floor
A scarf flicks away into a shower of silk,
The masks advance, possessed by forces,
The animal, the human: humanimals
Building a collective purpose,
Collecting into a corner,
Sculptured shapes against a wall,
Covertly connecting,
The beginnings of life
And understanding.

~David O’Donnell
Associate Professor, Theatre Programme
Victoria University of Wellington
New Zealand