Jakarta Players, a Breeze of Fresh Air

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Life in Jakarta could be really stressful and dull. It’s an on going cycle of same activities every day, even on weekend as well. We… well, I, need something new to do or to explore. At my stage right now, I rather stay at home than going out to hang or to watch movies or to go to the mall or to have a fancy meal at a new restaurant. I’m bored. I feel like I need to find something new so I can be inspired. OK, maybe not that deep, but at least I can experience new things outside of my daily activities. No matter how random or how small or how big it is.

And so, end of last year, I happened to have the chance to watch a theater performance that was organized by Jakarta Players (www.jakartaplayers.org). It’s a non-profit multi national theater community that use all the profit they gained from the plays for charity. This was the first visit for me, though I knew their existence for quite some time already. What so intriguing about it is that it’s an English speaking theater performance. I, personally, was longing to watch lots of plays in Broadway (which never gets fulfilled until now due to distance and lack of money :/ ) So, when I saw this group, I was so excited! I finally bought the ticket for their last play in 2015. I asked around if anybody wanted to join me. No response. Oh, the hell with it. I decided to go alone. XD

I wasn’t expecting anything other than having a new experience since the scale of the play was not that big. I finally can see a play with English speaking cast! Don’t get me wrong, I love those local plays as well. In fact I went to several of them in the past years and they were great! But I always want to see this kind of plays using English as the primary language like in Broadway (I also thought it would benefit my English skill in some way. 🙂 ). Before I went there, I watched the previous play in their website the day before, just so I could grasp the big picture on how the usual performance gonna be like.

The play that I went into called Naked Mole Rats in the World of Darkness by Mike Folie. It’s a drama-comedy play about men and women and about how each of us think about the world, it’s about the differences between both gender in our everyday life. It’s simple, yet I can quite relate to some of them. And you know what? I like it. No, I love it! I went there with a normal expectations (cause I saw previous plays via internet), but watching it live was totally different than watching it through a small mobile screen. I could feel the emotions from the cast and since the room they used weren’t that big (an auditorium inside a club house), plus with a simple small size stage, it was more intimate than the other local plays I’ve seen before. I could see the cast real close, it’s like a face-to-face conversation.

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The auditorium and the stage.

The play itself was divided into several stories. I don’t really remember the title of every stories, but each of them had an interesting ideas such as about how men and women think about clothes while men sometimes forgets about stuff, or about how men and women think about a man’s habit and how women never understand, or about incompatible thoughts between men and women, etc. Feel related already? I sure did. Hehehe… It was funny and emotional in the same time. They made it really well and the dialogue was simple yet catchy. The jokes was spot on and wasn’t being overplayed. Even if you’re a beginner in English language, you shouldn’t find any problem to understand the whole script and story. And to be honest, even though I laughed almost on every stories, I did shed a tear or two on the last story. It was that good!

The cast was a mix of local Indonesian and expatriates which some of them has lived in Indonesia for quite some time already. The last story (that I cried to, yes) was played by Jasmin Webb and Andrew Trigg. It’s about something important in life and how the other person will fight for it. I spoke to Jasmin at the end of show and despite the great performances from her, she’s really humble and kind. Jasmin, if you happen to read this, I’m a fan already. 🙂 Also, Marissa Anita was one of the cast! I was lucky enough to see her performing in her own world. I’m a fan of her since I saw her movie way after she became a regular at Jakarta Players. Her performance was… hmmm… honest. Yeah, that’s the word. It’s so good and flowed naturally. I was so impressed. 😮 Not to mention, the rest of the cast were also brilliant! Likes of Christopher Betts, Mia Djojowasito, Rizal Iwan, John Packer (you, sir, are brilliant!), Angela Richardson, and Gene Sugandy. Bravo! Totally worth my time.

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With Marissa Anita! 🙂
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Jasmin Webb and Andrew Trigg killed it.

As you can see in the photo above, the setting was super simple, it mainly used long boxes and triangle shaped boxes, with other additional props. Yet, I really think those were all they need to make it happen. The script and the performance spoke already. No need for fancy props.

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The whole cast of Naked Mole Rats in the World of Darkness

And we can actually be a part of them for their upcoming shows by auditioning! Me? No, I’m not good at stage. I have a huge stage fright and I, actually, prefer to enjoy the show from the audiences point of view 😛 But hey, you should try if you love to perform! They have been doing this since 1968, so it’s a large community and creative outpost for you who love theater.

This has became one of my new sweet escapes in Jakarta. A new experience and also an entertainment! Couldn’t get any better than this. 🙂

Also, right now they’re preparing for another play that will take place at IFI (Institut Français d’Indonésie) on April 22nd-24th. It’s called Eurydice, by Sarah Ruhl. Guess what, Marissa Anita will play as the lead actress! *hula dance* I’m definitely going. Care to join me? 😉

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Next play from Jakarta Players, please check their social media & website for more information

Jakarta Players – http://www.jakartaplayers.org – IG/Twitter: @jakartaplayers

Erwin.

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4 thoughts on “Jakarta Players, a Breeze of Fresh Air”

  1. It is boring indeed.. Mon to Sat routine : wake up – work- home-watch tv- sleep. On Sundays i prefer to stay at home to avoid weekend traffic.

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