Friday, 10 October 2008

Joga & Solo Revisited III - Ramayana Ballet


This time we managed to catch the Ramayana ballet at the open air theatre at Prambanan Candi.

Third time lucky, I guess, after the last two visits to Jogja. The complete ballet is only performed on special nights for a limited period during musin kemarau (drought season).With Prambanan Candi as the backdrop, this colourful and vivid show was far more enjoyable than the four hour Wagner opera we slept through at La Scala, Milan some years ago. This Sanskrit epic is based on Hindu belief and tradition about the challenges faced by star-crossed lovers, Rama and Shinta. The ballet starts with Rama, Shinta and Laksamana, Rama's brother, romping in the forest and hunting deer.

The Good guys: Rama, Shinta & Lakamana (Rama's brother) & Hanoman

The feral Rahwana lures Shinta away from Rama.
The Bad guy: Rahwana
Hanoman, the super monkey king, and his band of monkeys come to Shinta’s aid.

A battle ensues between the Good and Bad guys and Shinta is rescued.

Now, girls, this is the contentious part (in modern day terms anyway).

After her time with Rahwana, Rama has doubts as to whether Shinta is still virtuous. Fortunately for her, she dispels her fall from grace by surviving the flames and fire set by the demon giants.

The couple are reunited and live happily ever after . . . and even have twin sons.

Good triumphs over evil and all ends well under the Javanese moon.

Spoiler: The story has it that some time later, when the sons are grown up, Shinta decides that her time on the earth is nearing its end, and ends her life by asking mother earth to open and swallow her.

Now what's the moral of that story?

Now for some food. A Sundanese feast in a quaint restaurant hidden away in some corner of Jogja.

Selamat Malam Bapak dan Ibu.

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