'Matah Ati': spectacular Javanese dance drama that captivates modern audiences

Friday, 22 June 2012 | 5570

Having received standing ovations in Singapore at its debut in the Esplanade Theatre on 22-23 October 2010, then again last year at the Jakarta Theatre of Taman Ismal Marzuki,  the awe-inspiring dance drama Matah Ati is back performing in Jakarta from 22-25 June, and at the Court of Mangkunegaran in Solo, Central Java from 8 – 10 September 2012. 

Matah Ati tells the story of the founding of the Court of Mangkunegaran and how the Prince fell in love with a beautiful maiden from the village of Matah who fought together with her troop alongside the Prince in the battle against 18th century Dutch colonialism.

What makes this production different and unique is its stage setting which includes state of the art lighting, sound system, and audio-visual presentations. Its stage has a 15 degree slant to allow all dancers and players to be clearly seen by the entire audience.

Created by Atilah Soeryajaya, who is also its director, script writer and costume designer, the production faithfully adheres to rules of the Javanese Opera, known as Langedriyan created by Prince Mangkoenagoro IV.  Its dancers are also demanded to be imbued with and able to express the essential meanings of each graceful movement so as to draw the audience into the story.

Mata Ati revives Javanese ethics in the format of modern dimensions. It expresses a new genre in Indonesian theatre, bringing an innovative trend between those who stick to the hard and fast rules of traditions  of Javanese dance and performance, and other modern artists who view traditional art as overly restricting.

The entire production is a collaboration between Atilah Soeryadjaja with Jay Subiyakto, supported by music director Blacius Subono, show director Inet Leimena and three choreographers Daryono, Eko Supendi and Nuryanto. Matah Ati also features par excellence its main characters played by Fajar Satriadi and Rambat Yulianingsih.

 In September 2012, in conjunction with the 30th Conference of the Federation of Asian Cultural Promotion (FACP) to be attended by 500 participants of 30 countries from the Asia Pacific, Europe and America, the dance drama Matah Ati will be its pinnacle, to be performed on a collossal open stage in front of the Mangkunegara Court itself in Solo, Central Java.   

For a preview of what to expect, do visit our Photo Essay on Matah Ati, as performed in Jakarta last year.

For detailed information on the show and where to buy tickets, click: www.matah-ati.com.

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