Bunga Penutup Abad: A Review

Ever since my theatre club at university did our own adaptation on Pramoedya Ananta Toer’s The Earth of Mankind (Bumi Manusia) called Nyai Ontosoroh, Buru Quartet is always hold a special place in my heart. Reading the book, memorizing script, looking for costumes, all the tears and all the dramas, I still remember them all. So when I heard Titimangsa Foundation together with Yayasan Titian Penerus Bangsa was going to hold Bunga Penutup Abad, I was dying to see it.

Getting the tickets was quiet troublesome as the contact numbers were always busy and it took long to actually get a response, but it was understanable due the high demands on the tickets. I was lucky to get myself one for the second show.

So last Friday, I went to Gedung Kesenian Jakarta to see the show. They did a photo exhibition as well, contained these black-and-white pictures of the cast in their roles.

The play itself was based on the first two books of Buru Quartet, The Earth of Mankind and Child of All Nations. The story picks up right after the first book, where Annelies (Chelsea Islan) left to Amsterdam, leaving her husband, Minke (Reza Rahadian) and her mother Nyai Ontosoroh (Happy Salma) with all the bittersweet memories and their dismay, waiting for any news from Annelies through Panji Darman.

For combining two books in one script very neatly, I admire Wawan Sofwan, the scriptwriter who is also the director of the play. He put every essential events and lines in the script. I was so glad to see my favorite events actually brought to life. The flashbacks in between scenes knitted together in poetic way. It did the justice to those who love the books yet it was also very easy to understand for those who are not familiar with this particular work of Pramoedya Ananta Toer.

The actors did a wonderful job. Happy Salma, who once again portrayed Nyai Ontosoroh, still powerful as ever. Being accustomed with stage play, it wasn't surprising seeing Happy Salma having the most stable voice and the most efficient stage exploration among all the cast. For me, Nyai Ontosoroh is the strongest character of the story and she delivered her feelings just right. I love how she showed that Nyai Ontosoroh, even though strong, serious, and kind of bitter of all those misery, she still loving, full of hope, confident, and witty. How she teased Annelies and Minke about their kiss, how she told Annelies her story and that she couldn't follow her steps. It's fresh and gave more layer to Nyai Ontosoroh's character.

Chelsea Islan, being so physically fit Annelies's image in the book, looked like she stepped out of the book itself. Even though she still sounded like she was reading the script, but she could be childish, pampered, and plain. I always find Annelies's character to be kinda annoying, and even she could give that annoyingly lovable vibe!

But it was Lukman Sardi who stole the show. I can believe that he's actually Jean Marais and not Lukman Sardi doing his acting.It was so natural yet dramatic enough for a stage play. He sincerely brought his lines as if it wasn't scripted. My favorite part was when Jean disputed Minke's view about writing in his own language. An optimistic man who is also a good friend and father, and the way Lukman Sardi brought it, even though he didn't get that many scenes, still touched me in the heart at the audience seat.

As for the soul of Buru Quartet, Minke, brought to life by Reza Rahadian. If you know me well enough, you'd know that I'm such a huge fan of him. Reza is one of the strongest reasons why I can't miss this play, but I promise this review is not about me fangirling on him. Reza Rahadian is no doubt an actor with (stage) charm and raw talent. He knows what his body capable of, the interludes between his lines were just right, and even though he was not a perfect Minke, he was his own version of Minke. Without losing any of Minke's traits on the book, he could be wittier and more relax, and of course still that polite, educated womenizer. I personally think he could portray Robert Mellema perfectly, though. 

Other things, I love the live orchestra which were slightly visible through Boerderij Buitenzorg's room walls, the music was beautiful and built up the emotion even more. The stage set were pretty, the walls was also a screen for video mapping that appeared to marked the flashback moments, even though I found the characters' photos that was showed with the video mapping kind of disturbing and unecessary. Other stuff that kinda bothers me was the fact that Minke wore traditional javanese outfit instead of those good shoes and european style suit that he loves so much because he thinks it made the indigenous people equals to european. More about costumes, I thought Annelies were supposed to wear kebaya when she dressed up for Minke. I was expecting that they wouldn't use clip-on microphone remembering that the theatre isn't that big, but it was understandable due the fact that they did four-days performance. Also, I felt like there were a bit imbalance in blocking where the actors kind of fillin' one side on the stage or putting their backs to the audiences for too long.

But overall, I really enjoyed the whole performance. I didn't get a chance to meet the cast after the show but with this I wanna say congratulations on the play. It successfully brought some sweet memories to me, seeing everything I read came to life. It reminded me that I need to get back on theatre because apparently I miss it more than I thought. It reminded my own love for acting and literature. It was overwhelming seeing Reza Rahadian in person for the very first time, after watching him through the screen all this time, exploring acting in different media (Okay, after all, I am fangirling). Seeing Happy Salma live after all those Inggit Garnasih monologue videos I watched on YouTube to learn about dramatic reading.

Pramoedya Ananta Toer might have dead for ten years but his works continue to inspire others, and that is because he wrote. He reminded me, that I have to continue to write. Even if it's not for people, I have to do it for me. 

"Tahu kau mengapa aku sayangi kau lebih dari siapa pun? Karena kau menulis. Suaramu takkan padam ditelan angin, akan abadi, sampai jauh, jauh di kemudian hari. (Nyai Ontosoroh to Minke)"
-Pramoedya Ananta Toer, Child of All Nations-

Photo Credits:
First picture belong to me
BW pictures by dr Tompi from Teater Bunga Penutup Abad Official Instagram Account
Pictures from the play come from Google Search

1 komentar:

  1. It's a good review of Theater Bunga Penutup Abad. Thank you Naomi.. 😊👍