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BWW Review: BUNGA PENUTUP ABAD at Jakarta Art Building

Titimangsa Foundation and Bakti Budaya Djarum Foundation presents a colossal theater production called Bunga Penutup Abad, an adaptation of Nobel Laureate nominee Pramoedya Ananta Toer's literature works. "This production marks the 10th anniversary of his death, to appreciate the works of a great Indonesian writer to the stage, and as one of the hopes to introduce and expose the young people in Indonesia to their home country's literature," as quoted by Happy Salma, one of the main cast as well as the producer of the production.

Bunga Penutup Abad depicts a story about the life of Nyai Ontosoroh (portrayed by Happy Salma) and Minke (portrayed by Reza Rahadian) after the departure of Annelies (portrayed by Chelsea Islan). Nyai Ontosoroh, worried about her dear daughter Annelies' whereabouts, sent her trusted employee Robert Jan Dapperste/ Panji Darman to accompany Annelies' voyage across the sea. Annelies' life after departing from the port of Surabaya was reported by Panji Darman through the many letters he sent to Nyai Ontosoroh and Minke. Letter by letter Minke read to Nyai Ontosoroh opens up a door of nostalgia for the three of them, such as the first time Minke and Annelies met, how Nyai Ontosoroh was sued by her stepson until later Annelies had to be brought to the Netherlands according to the Dutch East Indies rule of court.

The story concluded itself after Minke got word that his dear wife died in the Netherlands. Struck by sorrow, Minke pleaded Nyai Ontosoroh to let him venture to Batavia to continue studies as a doctor. Minke brought along Annelies' portrait painted by his dear friend, a former soldier turned painter Jean Marais. Minke gave the portrait a name : Bunga Penutup Abad(The Century Closing Flower).

BWW Review: BUNGA PENUTUP ABAD at Jakarta Art Building

The company produced a mesmerizing performance, with Happy Salma who plays Nyai Ontosoroh commanded the stage with grace and power. Every word that came out of her mouth depicts a mix of vulnerability as well as the struggling power to fight for her rights, quite likely what Nyai Ontosoroh stood for in the colonial time. Happy Salma's stage presence is undeniable, working as a producer and an actress in the production, she still has the time to deliver an amazing performance.

The rest of the cast are also on par, with young and upcoming actors, Reza Rahadian and Chelsea Islan who both conquered the stage well coming from a film background. Reza Rahadian successfully delivered the role of the once shy yet ambitious Minke who fell head over heels with the beautiful, sweet and innocent Annelies, also tremendously played by the talented Chelsea Islan. Veteran actor Lukman Sardi also joined the bandwagon his incredible portrayal of a French artist, Jean Marais.

Music also contributes well in the production. With the meticulous musical arrangement by Ricky Lionardi, it sets the audience and cast's mood as it took them right into the Colonial era where the production was situated.

I applaud the set and lighting design of Bunga Penutup Abad. The moment where it really struck me is when the main set which is a living room transformed into a giant screen projecting the letters Panji Darman wrote to Nyai Ontosoroh and Minke. The lightings beautifully complimented the actors and helped them immerse into their characters.

With a sold out 3-day show from the 25th to the 27th of August, Bunga Penutup Abad offers a tragic love story represented by happiness, struggle and sorrow throughout the play, with a stellar cast and a hypnotizing production. Here's to hoping that Bunga Penutup Abad opens up more doors to great quality Theater Productions in Indonesia.

high res photos

BWW Review: BUNGA PENUTUP ABAD at Jakarta Art Building
The Cast of BUNGA PENUTUP ABAD

BWW Review: BUNGA PENUTUP ABAD at Jakarta Art Building
Happy Salma as Nyai Ontosoroh (Photo Credits : Albertus Raynaldi)

BWW Review: BUNGA PENUTUP ABAD at Jakarta Art Building
Reza Rahadian as Minke (Photo Credits : Albertus Raynaldi)

BWW Review: BUNGA PENUTUP ABAD at Jakarta Art Building
Chelsea Islan as Annelies (Photo Credits : Albertus Raynaldi)

BWW Review: BUNGA PENUTUP ABAD at Jakarta Art Building
The first time Annelies and Minke met (Photo Credits : Albertus Raynaldi)

BWW Review: BUNGA PENUTUP ABAD at Jakarta Art Building
Minke and Nyai Ontosoroh argue on who to blame for Annelies' forced departure to the Netherlands (Photo Credits : Albertus Raynaldi)

BWW Review: BUNGA PENUTUP ABAD at Jakarta Art Building
Minke in sorrow after founding out the death of his wife, Annelies (Photo Credits : Albertus Raynaldi)

BWW Review: BUNGA PENUTUP ABAD at Jakarta Art Building
Minke accompanying Annelies on her most vulnerable state (Photo Credits : Albertus Raynaldi)

BWW Review: BUNGA PENUTUP ABAD at Jakarta Art Building
Jean Marais (Portrayed by Lukman Sardi) convincing Minke to believe in his people (Photo Credits : Albertus Raynaldi)

BWW Review: BUNGA PENUTUP ABAD at Jakarta Art Building
Nyai Ontosoroh and Minke reading the letters sent by Panji Dharma (Photo Credits : Albertus Raynaldi)

BWW Review: BUNGA PENUTUP ABAD at Jakarta Art Building
(Photo Credits : Albertus Raynaldi)

BWW Review: BUNGA PENUTUP ABAD at Jakarta Art Building
(Photo Credits : Albertus Raynaldi)



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