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First residential workshop

We were honoured that our first residential workshop, held over three weekends in July 2018, was with Indonesia’s top experimental theatre group, Bandar Teater Jakarta.

Bandar’s approach stems from a fusion of traditional and contemporary influences, which isn’t saying much, but the way they walk the fine line between action and inaction, depth and surface, is extraordinary. Bandar are supreme poets. They take risks not just with words but with concepts, bodies and locations, in an understated but deeply expressive fashion that eludes description. Their rare performances – usually only one – are consistently surprising, delightful, intriguing, emotional, political. Yet never kasar or coarse. Sanggar O is truly proud to be associated with such artistry.

We were also honoured by the presence of the remarkable members of Co-coism from Taiwan, who were conducting research after working and performing in Pontianak, West Kalimantan. During the discussions, exercises and presentations with Co-coism we were deeply impressed with their experience, intelligence, curiosity and respect. We hope that the relationship will grow and lead to more collaboration in the future.

Members of the Teater Bandar Jakarta worskshop and Co-coism observers

The workshop weekends led to a one-off performance, called Jelly Fish, in the swimming pool of the North Jakarta Youth Centre.

Jelly Fish spanduk

Jelly Fish, was part of a series of explorations on the subject of ‘laut’ or ‘sea’. Jelly Fish was a particular focus on people seeking refugee via the sea. The actors, mingling amongst the audience who surrounded the pool, were unemotional yet the overall effect was of intense emotion as swimmers thrashed to the end of the pool, dragged themselves ashore, were returned to the water, subjected to mutual drownings, abandoned, ‘helped’ arbitrarily by someone relaxed on an inflatable pool toy pouring undrinkable water into their mouths, subjected to attack by actors and audience alike as if in fun, while a small child, in the children’s pool, occasionally cried out, ‘help!’.

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