I only came on the first and second day of the festival because, during the rest of the festival, it was raining super hard and I got an influenza on the day third day. So, it's not a comprehensive review.
I was planning to join the puppet photo competition which was held by one of the biggest banks in Indonesia. Unfortunately, I still can’t get the best shoot for the puppet theme in my hometown, Bandung. How tragic because four days after the deadline of the competition submission, there was a puppet festival at Gasibu, right in front of landmark of the city, Gedung Sate.
My intention for coming to the festival was, therefore, not for taking photos for the competition anymore. It was purely because I wanted to appreciated the richness of puppet culture that my country has. Many days before the festival were held, there was an event for promoting the festival on Dago car free day. It was a very entertaining pre-event affair which showed the newest puppet creations.
They made a giant puppet which is control by the people inside, maybe inspired by Chinese Barongsay?
The giant puppet can do fighting moves, just like the Chinese Barongsay did. Maybe it’s truly inspired by the Barongsay.
But the most appreciated puppet show at the pre-event on Dago car free day was Cepot, the most iconic puppet of the Sundanese.
People very enthusiast and entertained by Umar Darusman Sunandar a.k.a. Dalang (master of puppets) Riswa.
His joke is very out of the box which always makes giggling non-stop.
Unfortunately, the show had to be stopped by the police because the president of my country will come to attend his ruling party event. It made me decide to come to the festival at night.
I came to the Helar Wayang (Puppet Festival) on December 16th, 2012 on a night with heavy rains. The event organizers had wait for the rain to stop. After waiting for two hours, the show was finally opened by the theatrical of puppet people on the muddy field with the most awaited performer, Si Cepot by Dalang Riswa. Actually, after Si Cepot, there was another performer but I decided to go home because I had to chase the last public transportation to my home.
The next day, I came again to the festival with heavy rains. Because of it, there were fewer people in the audience. Many of the people in the audience, including me, climbed the stage to see the show closer, from Wayang Cirebon.
Look at one of the viewers below who stood alone and recorded the show with his cellphone. The show itself was in Bahasa Jawa (Javanese language) which is totally different from Bahasa Jawa that I know because I used to live in Semarang, Central Java. It’s totally different from what the performers were using, but I enjoyed it even though I didn’t understand it. It made me more appreciative of the variety and richness of Indonesian culture. After 3 hours, the show was still not finished, but I decided to go home earlier because I started feeling unwell.