Wayang Kulit

Javanese Shadow Puppet Play: Wayang Kulit

Saturday, December 2, 2023 at 7:30pm
World Music Hall


“For all of us, demons and nobles, are the gesturing shadows of the actors in this Play of Life.”
—Noto Soeroto, 1919

Wesleyan’s Javanese Gamelan Ensemble, Winslow-Kaplan Professor of Music and dhalang (puppeteer) Sumarsam, and guest musicians, present a Javanese wayang kulit, the puppet play employing intricately carved leather puppets, under the direction of University Professor of Music Harjito.

The performance will also be livestreamed on YouTube. 

A magnificent orchestra of bronze gongs, xylophone, drums, strings, and voices, the gamelan accompanies feasts, ceremonies, and dances. 

In 1973, a wayang kulit puppet play was performed to celebrate the opening of Wesleyan's World Music Hall. Some of the students who accompanied that performance will be back to play at the beginning of this performance, including Bruce Duncan '74, Bill Pearson '74, MA '74, P '12, Sam Quigley '74, MA '77, Wayne Forrest '74, MA '77, Tom Alexander '70, MA '77, P '07, Daniel Cantor '75, Barbara Coven '75, Melissa Blacker '76, and Marc Perlman MA '78, PhD '94.

The ensemble will be joined by other gamelan alumni and friends, including David Rynick '74, MALS '85, Carla Scheele '78, Leslie Rudden '77, Anne StebingerBarry DrummondChris MillerDarsonoMaho Ishiguro MA '12, PhD '18, and Joko Sutrisno.

The story that will be presented is Wahyu Cakraningrat, The Divine Blessing of Kingship (from the Mahabharata).

Read “
Gamelan Ensemble Performs Live during Javanese Shadow Puppet Play” in The Wesleyan Connection.