Liswati (‘Lis”) began working in theatre when she was 20 years-old, after several years working in factories in Jakarta. She left her home in Central Java when she was 15.
For nearly 20 years, she worked with Teater ABU (Aneka Buruh / Miscellanous Workers) under director Margesti. Teater ABU used a participatory approach with housewives, farmers, traders, factory workers and street musicians and performers to create physical theatre pieces that were toured around Indonesia and to Australia, Canada and Japan. Liswati is now independent and involved with developing her own pieces and collaborating with others.
Mereka Bilang Aku Perempuan (They Call Me Woman)
Robert (Rob) worked in a little bit of theatre, a little bit of film and a little bit of literature in Australia, as an actor, writer and arts administrator before translating to Indonesia in 2008. He has little bits of poetry published by small presses and poems and short stories in journals and anthologies here and there, all a long time ago when dinosaurs walked the Earth. Accordingly, he is working on a book about elemental spirits; and coffee (you can read serialized extracts below). He has advised the Jakarta Biennale on international relations, largely unsuccessfully but cheerfully, and helped visiting artists find the contacts they needed to attempt to do their work in the challenging environment for ‘Westerners’ that is Indonesia (it’s not that difficult; just let go and enjoy the ride). Nowadays, he makes the occasional video but mostly writes and edits scientific texts about trees on farms in Southeast Asia (and spirits and coffee). He has travelled throughout Indonesia and the region and can give you some advice, which can be cheerfully ignored. You can read his ‘curriculum vitae’, which is probably putting rather a fine point on it, here.
Read the serialized stories about elemental spirits and coffee (big thanks to Seniman Industries’ director of coffee Mr Rodney Glick and Singalong editor Ms Michelle)
Mas Erling is also from the same village as Liswati, as so many seem to be. He is learning all the arts of keeping the sanggar running and acting as assistant to Mbak Amie in the kitchen and ‘back of house’.
Coming soon! She’s too shy to be photographed just now!
Mbak Amie is from Tegal. Before working with Sanggar O, she ran her own domestic management service in Jakarta, engaging a number of sub-contractors. She is the glue who keeps us all together with her excellent Javanese cooking and management of the household.
Dini, like Amie, doesn’t want her photo for everyone to see. You will have to visit and meet her in person. Dini ensures everything is in its place, very neatly so. She speaks Sundanese, Indonesian and some Arabic and is learning English.