Thursday, January 15, 2009

Nano can’t get no satisfaction

The Jakarta Post | Thu, 01/15/2009 8:26 AM | People

Nano Riantiarno: (JP/JP/Arief Suhardiman)Nano Riantiarno: (JP/JP/Arief Suhardiman)

JAKARTA: Noted playwright Nano Riantiarno of the Teater Koma theater company is not easily
satisfied, even with his own creations.

Less than a week after his play Republik Petruk (Petruk’s Republic) — a satire of Indonesian political reform — opened to the public, he has already found several flaws in the piece.

“I would have stopped (writing and directing) if I was satisfied,” he said.

He refused to mention the flaws, leaving it to audiences to criticize.

Nano, who founded the troupe in March 1977, has produced 116 plays, including Rumah Kertas (Paper House) and Sampek Engtay. This latest production is the last part of the troupe’s Republik trilogy.

In Republik Petruk, the 59-year-old retains the tradition of presenting political satire through wayang (shadow puppet) characters.

“Political satire is common in wayang. They criticize everything, laugh at everything without no intention of hurting,” he said

“I have taken this stance since early in my career despite political repression in the past.”

Nano was regularly interrogated during the New Order era and his plays were banned.

Asked about whether a play is supposed to provide the answers, he said that by its very nature, a play is not a panacea for any social, economic or political problem but it can inspire action.

“A play is just an art of expression and hopefully it inspires people. Hopefully those who see a play are moved to do something.” — JP/Matheos V. Messakh

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