Pada tanggal 1 November 2018, di IFI/Lembaga Indonesia Prancis, Yogyakarta, rokateater mendapat kesempatan membaca naskah drama/teks teater dalam forum Indonesia Dramatic Reading Festival (2018) yang bertajuk Ke Mana Menuju: Arus Mutakhir dalam Naskah Teater Indonesia. Naskah yang kami bacakan merupakan karya Afrizal Malna yang berjudul “Migrasi Dari Ruang Tamu”. Naskah yang dibuat untuk pementasan Teater SAE pada tahun 1993 tersebut dibacakan oleh Ahmat Sofyan, Neneng Hanifah Maryam, Wijil Rachmadhani, Shohifur Ridho’i, dan disutradarai oleh Prasetya Yudha DS.
Sementara itu, di malam yang sama, teks teater karya Shohifur Ridho’i (sutradara rokateater) juga dibacakan oleh Performer Studio Teater Garasi.
Di bawah ini adalah catatan ‘menonton’ Alfian Sa’at, penulis naskah drama asal Singapura. (Catatan ini diambil dari status Facebook Alfian Sa’at)
Last night at the opening of the Indonesian Dramatic Reading Festival. Interesting works that tackle an oft-neglected dramaturgical question, which is ‘what makes a play a play’? In playwright Afrizal Malna’s play ‘Migration from the Living Room’, there are fragments of polemic, stage directions, recurring images of people using microphones for bizarre domestic rituals like shaving one’s face, drying one’s hair or doing the ironing.
Afrizal wrote for the avant-garde Teater Sae in the 90’s, producing works such as ‘Pertumbuhan Di Atas Meja Makan’ (Things Growing On The Dining Table) and ‘Biografi Yanti Setelah 12 Menit’ (The Biography of Yanti after 12 Minutes). It has been said that Afrizal’s works were a reflection of the increasing state-jargonisation, bureaucratisation and militarisation of Bahasa Indonesia during Suharto’s late New Order era; ultimately there was very little substantive difference between the mind-constricting gibberish in Indonesian public discourse and the slogans and non sequiturs Afrizal was putting on stage.
The second play was Shohifur Ridho’i’s ‘Tiga Lapis Kesedihan’ (Three Levels of Sadness), in which the playwright created a collage of ‘found text’—comments from social media on topics such as anti-Shiite rhetoric, increased Arabisation, creeping fundamentalist ideology, and the mutual insults that always lie at the bathetic conclusions of comments thread wars.
The risk in turning such material into performance is that while these comments might be performative online (there is an audience of readers one is trying to convince, impress, persuade etc), this does not always translate into riveting performance. Dramaturgy then relies so much on finding a shape to the arguments, the rises and swells (where the points made are seemingly diametric, irreconcilable) and the falls and pauses (the momentary truce, the calm before the storm). Or maybe that could be the whole point—to bombard the audience with voices that become increasingly repetitive, frenzied, and even meaningless; where no matter how sincere, how heartfelt, the sheer volume of online ‘discourse’, the unbridled graphomania, turns everything into digital slush.
Also, I realised that I could understand around 80-85% of the text, which makes me think that actually Malay and Bahasa Indonesia have not diverged that much. Some Javanese words I couldn’t catch, as well as some slang (like ‘baper’ or ‘bawa perasaan’ or to emo.) But I’m so so glad to know Malay, to plug myself into the Yogyakarta grid and feel its currents flow through my body. Pay attention in Malay class, kids!