As pinnacle of the month-long festivities to celebrate Jakarta’s 486th anniversary which falls on 22 June, all eyes will turn to the National Monument’s (Monas) square on 28th to 30th June 2013 where the colossal Dance Musical “Ariah” will be performed on the biggest and most spectacular stage ever erected in Indonesia.
Initiated by Jakarta’s Governor Joko Widodo and produced by Global 3L which has successfully staged the Matah Ati musical in previous years , the musical drama “Ariah” has as Director and Scriptwriter none other than the renowned Atilah Soeryadjaya who will again collaborate with Jay Subiyakto as Artistic Director. While, directing the music will be Indonesia’s prominent Composer Erwin Gutawa. Dance choreographers are: Wiwiek Sipala and Eko Supendi.
The show will involve no less than 200 dancers and over 100 musicians. Dancers are selected from all parts of the archipelago which also illustrates the diversity of Jakarta as the melting pot of the many different cultures in Indonesia. For the musical score, Erwin Gutawa will combine the contemporary musical orchestra with traditional Betawi musical instruments. During the press conference held at Balai Agung (Jakarta’s Town Hall) on 15th May 2013 Erwin revealed : “We will also adapt Betawi’s traditional melodies, rhythm, and style into the modern musical instruments”.
Just to grasp the magnitude of the performance, this spectacular musical will be played on a 72 meters stage consisting of 3 levels in height: that of 3 meters, 7 meters, and 10 meters. The three level stage is constructed to match the grandeur of the National Monument (Monas) which also has three parts.
Jay Subiakto, the artistic Director stated that he wanted Monas to be an inseparable part of the show rather than just being an exquisite background. Adding to the spectacle of the performance, the stage will also be added with some sloping parts (following the tradition of Matah Ati). Parts of the stage will have slopes of 15, 20, and 35 degrees. Jay added that these are not just random numbers, since they are obtained from taking a straight line from the Syahbandar Tower (the original milestone in Old Batavia) to every corner of the National Monument in Merdeka square (the current central point of Jakarta).
As if this is not spectacular enough, the show will also feature state-of-the-art video mapping technology which will turn the whole set and parts of Monas into a fascinating visual spectacle.
Ariah itself tells the story of a simple peasant heroine who struggled to uphold the honor and dignity of the Indonesian woman during the Dutch colonial period in Old Batavia (Jakarta). The historical account of the story coincides with the Farmers Rebellion in Tambun in 1869. Atilah Soeryadjaya, Director and Scriptwriter explained that : ”Ariah may just be the story of a poor peasant girl, who lived a simple life, but after an intensive research I discovered that beyond her simplicity she had something really powerful which is her strong spirit and soul. That’s what drove me to bring this simple character to this musical”.
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