Wayang Kulit

The Unique World Of Myths
Symbols And Religious Beliefs
Most Difficult To Understand
The Puppet Master, Or Dalang
Tells His Story By Projecting
The Shadows Of The Puppets

He Manipulates Behind
A White Screen And A Large Lamp
He Plays Several Characters At Once
Basically An Epic Narrative

Shifting From Old-Javanese
To The High-Balinese
Singing And Hitting A Box
To Mark The Rhythm

A Good Dalang
Is A One-Man-Show
Being In Turns Smart
Funny And Melancholic

Borrows The Frame
Of His Narrative
From The Great Epics
Of Indo-Javanese Tradition

The Ramayana
The Mahabharata
Although Other Stories
May Sometimes Be Used

He Then Creates His Own Episodes
Usually Concerning A Hero’s Quest
For A Magical Weapon, Heavenly Secret Or Partner

The Hero, Accompanied By Buffoons
Succeeds Eventually After Tortuous Adventures
In The Wilderness And Fights With Evil Giants

The Two Sets Of Puppets
The Heroes On The Right
The Villains On The Left
Symbolise Eternal Struggle
Between Good And Evil

But For The Audience
Dalang’s Ability To Poke Fun
At Everyone Through Mouths
Of The Buffoons Is No Less Important
Than The Narrative Itself

More Shayari by Ahmad Shiddiqi
03 Sep 2008 No Comment 5

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