Zhengzhen Ma(z3325090)-post 4

In this week’s tutorial, we learned abut the indonesian culture. It focus on the wayang  and the occations for dalang given performance, however, haven’t provied sufficient information about what dalang really do and why he is important. I do some extra rearch about dalang. A Dalang is a most extraordinary man. First of all, he is a public entertainer. To amuse a great number of people is not an easy matter. He must be physically trong and healthy; otherwise he would not be able to stand the strain. Just imagine, he is seated cross-legged for nine successive hours. He cannot even have a wink of sleep. He cannot get up from his seat until six o’clock the next morning. He also has to strike the kechrek with his right foot almost incessantly. He handles the puppets with both hands, imitates their different voices, tell jokes at the right times, and even sings every now and then. In addition, he controls the musicians without anyone among the audience ever noticing it.

Dalang are also social commentators. Traditionally when a travelling Dalang arrives at a place where he is to perform, he will make a study of what is on people minds. That may, for example, be governmental measures which people find hard to accept. During the performance, the Dalang will use the pànàkawan, the servants who make humorous comments, to voice criticism which the audience will relate to. According to tradition, a Dalang cannot be held responsible for what is said in his performance. In feudal society one of the Dalang’s main roles was to be a mouthpiece for the people. His ritual immunity protected him. However most of the time the Dalangs were diplomatic in the way they said things, which is how most of Javanese people behave.


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