Power Plays: Wayang Golek Puppet Theater of West Java

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Ohio University Press, 2004 - Drama - 295 pages
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Based on ethnographic fieldwork spanning twenty years, "Power Plays" is the first scholarly book in English on wayang golek, the Sundanese rod-puppet theater of West Java. It is a detailed and lively account of the ways in which performers of this major Asian theatrical form have engaged with political discourses in Indonesia. Wayang golek has shaped, as well, the technological and commercial conditions of art and performance in a modernizing society.
Using interviews with performers, musical transcriptions, translations of narrative and song texts, and archival materials, author Andrew N. Weintraub analyzes the shifting and flexible nature of a set of performance practices called Padalangan, the art of the puppeteer. He focuses on superstar performers and the musical troupes that dominated wayang golek during the New Order political regime of former president Suharto (1966-98) and the ensuing three years of the post-Suharto period. Studies of actual performances illuminate stylistic and formal elements and situate wayang golek as a social process in Sundanese culture and society. Power Plays includes an interactive multimedia CD-ROM of wayang golek.
"Power Plays" shows how meanings about identity, citizenship, and community are produced through theater, music, language, and discourse. While based in ethnographic theory and methods, this book is at the center of a new synthesis emerging among ethnomusicology, anthropology, and cultural studies. Its cross-disciplinary approach will inspire researchers studying similar struggles over cultural authority and popular representation in culture and the performing arts."
 

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Contents

1 DEFINING WAYANG GOLEK
27
2 CULTURAL POLICY AND CANONS OF PERFORMANCE
55
3 SUPERSTAR DALANG
81
4 CHALLENGING THE NEW ORDER WITH ENTERTAINMENT
107
5 THE SPECTACLE OF SOUND
128
6 THE CASSETTE CULTURE OF WAYANG GOLEK
165
7 TELEVISUAL MEDIATIONS
189
8 MEDIATING THE NATION IN POSTSUHARTO INDONESIA
208
9 THE POLITICS OF PERFORMANCE
229
CDROM CONTENTS
238
BIOGRAPHIES OF FOUR DALANG
241
Notes
247
Glossary
269
Works Cited
279
Index
289
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About the author (2004)

Andrew N. Weintraub is associate professor of music at the University of Pittsburgh.