Fa­jar Sa­tri­adi

Ele­gantly pre­sent­ing the tra­di­tional Ja­vanese val­ues

The Jakarta Post - JPlus - - News - +Se­bas­tian Par­togi

For Fa­jar Sa­tri­adi, pre­sent­ing Ja­vanese cul­ture to au­di­ences in the UK was a mis­sion. The dancer and chore­og­ra­pher por­trayed the male lead, Raden Mas Said, in an ab­bre­vi­ated ver­sion of Ati­lah So­eryad­jaya’s en­ter­tain­ing spec­ta­cle, Matah Ati that was pre­sented at a sem­i­nar at Ox­ford Univer­sity dur­ing the UK Arts and Cul­ture Trip.

Matah Ati tells the story of Raden Mas Said, a prince from the royal Ja­vanese fam­ily who estab­lished the Mangkune­garan line. He died in 1795 and has since been named a Na­tional Hero. “I try to bring forth the el­e­gant tra­di­tional cul­tural val­ues of the Ja­vanese by tak­ing a closer look at the source of the cre­ative process in or­der to ex­tract univer­sal knowl­edge,” Fa­jar told J+ in an in­ter­view. Ac­cord­ing to Fa­jar, the clas­si­cal touch brought by the show’s karawi­tan, or Ja­vanese mu­si­cal en­sem­ble, when cou­pled with cos­tumes de­signed by the Iwan Tirta Pri­vate Col­lec­tion made the per­for­mance even more thrilling. “I’m so ex­cited that we all could present a su­pe­ri­orqual­ity per­for­mance to the UK au­di­ence dur­ing this trip.” Fa­jar said he read widely and in­ter­viewed many peo­ple to learn more about his char­ac­ter and the driv­ing force be­hind his ac­tions. True to tra­di­tional Ja­vanese spir­i­tu­al­ity, Fa­jar also vis­ited the great aris­to­crat’s grave, im­mers­ing him­self in Raden Mas Said mem­o­ra­bilia as well as fast­ing to ob­serve the no­ble­man’s birth­day, as he be­lieved th­ese ac­tions might help him to get deeper into his char­ac­ter. “Raden Mas Said is a prom­i­nent fig­ure in Java. This role is very im­por­tant and mean­ing­ful for me per­son­ally. There­fore, it be­came my duty to en­sure the qual­ity of the per­for­mance.” Fa­jar said he also re­lied heav­ily on re­hearsals to be in top shape as an ac­tor and a dancer, ex­press­ing grat­i­tude that he could work with Ati­lah, who was Matah Ati’s chore­og­ra­pher, di­rec­tor and writer. “Ibu Ati­lah is a very strict and dis­ci­plined di­rec­tor, who is highly pro­grammed in her cre­ative process. She was so strict that I ac­tu­ally called her jen­deral kopas­sus [Spe­cial Forces gen­eral]–but her dis­ci­plined man­ner of train­ing us ac­tu­ally came to fruition. Pre­serv­ing his health through proper nu­tri­tion and rest was also im­por­tant as the lead, Fa­jar said, adding that the tra­di­tional arts should not be dis­missed as out of date. There’s some­thing revo­lu­tion­ary and ahead of the times about such works, which is why they stand the test of time. “Hope­fully, by be­ing aware that tra­di­tional art ac­tu­ally res­onates within a con­tem­po­rary con­text, mem­bers of our young gen­er­a­tion could ac­tu­ally be in­ter­ested to ex­plore their own cul­tural roots,” Fa­jar said.

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