Semar's Journey

A new media Shadow Play

In Java, the ancient tradition of shadow play, or wayang kulit, is as popular as ever, and new stories based on the great epics, like the Mahabharata, are constantly being performed. In Vancouver the creation of new shadow plays now dates back more than two decades, to the Western Front's Canada Shadows and the visit of I Wayan Wija's Balinese group to the Asia Pacific Festival in 1985. Since Gamelan Madu Sari began to perform in 1986, many new works that integrate new music, media and performance with the Indonesian traditions have been performed by significant artists, such as Heri Dono. Semar's Journey is the culminating event in our year-long celebration of 20 years of gamelan in Vancouver, and stirs in some unusual elements of its own. .

In our tale, Semar — god, clown and advisor to humanity, and the most entertaining and widely revered figure of the traditional Javanese shadow play — finds himself facing some of the greatest challenges of his early career. Born of an egg in the Underwater Kingdom, he makes his way to the human world, which seems to have gone quite mad. Will his legendary wit and wisdom pull him (and us) through – or is he hopelessly out of his element on our side of
the heavens?

Review at the Georgia Straight
Semar's Journey By Alexander Varty



1. Prologue:
Imminence, composed by Andrew Czink

2. The Offering:
Macapat Pangkur, written by Sutrisno Hartana,
featuring Eko Purnomo, vocal; Ali O’Neill, Ashlan Grey, actors

Ayak-Ayakan Hong, Gendhing Paseban, composed by Blacius Subono,
featuring Anis Wiji Astuti, vocal

3.The Underwater Kingdom
Dream Music, composed by Sutrisno Hartana,
featuring Mathew Davidson, violin

The South Wave, composed by Sutrisno Hartana

4. Semar is Born
Nang Ning Nong, composed by Sutrisno Hartana

5. Semar Touches Down
From Heaven to Earth, composed by Ben Rogalsky,
featuring Joanna Chapman-Smith, vocal

6. The Interrogation
Inquietude, composed by Mark Parlett

Ismoyo in Samsara, composed by Mark Parlett,
featuring Mark Parlett, Eko Purnomo, actors; DB Boyko, voice

7. The Animal Kingdom
Gun-Jail, composed by Sutrisno Hartana

8. Evidence/Erasure
Evidence/Erasure, composed by Kenneth Newby,
featuring Ashlan Grey, Ali O’Neill, actors

9. The Cave
The Cave, composed by Michael O’Neill, written by Andreas Kahre,
featuring Chris Miller, voice

Leaving the Cave, composed by Michael O’Neill

Semar Sails, composed by Michael O’Neill, written by Andreas Kahre,
featuring Kenneth Newby, violin; Tony Reif, voice



Shadow play written, improvised and performed
by Sutrisno Hartana, Eko Purnomo and assistants

Contemporary puppets created by Eko Purnomo

Live animation | media perfomance: Aleksandra Dulic
Electronic shadow play: Aleksandra Dulic and Kenneth Newby

Scenography, Graphic Design, and Dramaturgical Consultant: Andreas Kahre

Music performed by Gamelan Madu Sari:

Sutrisno Hartana, leader
Anis Wiji Astuti, lead vocalist
Michael O’Neill
Kenneth Newby
Mark Parlett
Ben Rogalsky
Andrew Czink
Ann Hepper
Sam Salmon
Joanna Chapman-Smith
Tony Reif
Joanna Sum
Mathew Davidson
Ayun Batari

with special guest alumnus Chris Miller
and artist-in-residence Eko Purnomo

Premiere Production Manager and Technical Director: Ben Rogalsky

Premiere Production Lighting: Larisa Fayad, Roundhouse Performance Centre, Vancouver

Premiere Production Sound: Terry Podealuk, Roundhouse Performance Centre, Vancouver

Actors/voices: Eko Purnomo, Mark Parlett, Ashlan Grey, Ali O’Neill,
DB Boyko, Chris Miller, Tony Reif

The voice of Semar: Sutrisno Hartana

A set of the traditional puppets donated by Simon Fraser University

Photography: Nenad Stevanovic
Webpage design: Aleksandra Dulic

Thanks to the Canada Council, BC Arts Council, Western Front, Consulate-General of the Republic of Indonesia, The Roundhouse Community Centre, SFU, Computational Poetics Research Group

shadow play

shadow play

shadow play

shadow play

shadow play

shadow play

shadow play