Power Plays: Wayang Golek Puppet Theater of West Java

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Review

"This is a welcome book for those interested in Indonesian theatre and performance, studies of Indonesian popular culture, and the politics of culture. Prior to the publication of Power Plays, there was no single published volume dedicated to the rod puppet theatre of West Java (Sunda), wayang golek. Thus, Andrew Weintraub is happily comprehensive in his approach. This work is groundbreaking in charting historical changes in this important traditional performance genre. The book also comes with an interactive CD-ROM, which contains video clips, samples of musical accompaniment, and slides and information about wayang golek and the Sundanese region of West Java where it flourishes. This feature greatly enhances the author's utility for teaching about the genre, providing many audio and visual samples of what it actually looks and sounds like in performance. Weintraub is to be congratulated on an important addition to scholarship on wayang golek puppet theatre" (Pacific Affairs).

"This is an excellent book that discusses contemporary wayang golek performance in Indonesia, a form of puppet theatre from West Java. This is a book which will appeal not only to those who want to know all the details of wayang golek performance, but also to those more broadly interested in the politics of performance in Indonesia" (Aseasuk News).

About the Publication

Power Plays is the first scholarly book in English on wayang golek, the Sundanese rod-puppet theater of West Java. It is a detailed and lively account of the ways in which performers of this major Asian theatrical form have engaged with political discourses in Indonesia and shaped technological and commercial conditions of art and performance in a moderniziing society.
          Andrew Weintraub focuses on "superstar" performers and the musical troupes that dominated wayang golek during the New Order political regime of former president Suharto (1966-98). Studies of actual performances illuminate stylistic and formal elements and situate wayang golek as a social process in Sundanese culture. Power Plays shows how meaning about identity, citizenship, and community are produced through theater, music, language, and discourse.
          Power Plays is at the centre of a new synthesis emerging among ethno-musicology, cultural studies, and media studies. Its cross-disciplinary approach will inspire researchers studying similar struggles over state authority and popular representation in culture and the performing arts.
          Includes interactive multimedia CD-ROM.
          
          
          
          

Co-publication: ISEAS / Ohio University Press

Institute of Southeast Asian Studies / Ohio University Press

Contents

Preliminary pages
Introduction
PART I: THE STATE OF WAYANG GOLEK
1. Defining Wayang Golek
2. Cultural Policy and Canons of Performance
PART II: POETICS AND POLITICS
3. Superstar Dalang
4. Challenging the New Order with Entertainment
5. The Spectacle of Sound
PART III: CULTURAL TECHNOLOGIES AND REPRESENTATION
6. The Cassette Culture of Wayang Golek
7. Televisual Mediations
8. Mediating the Nation in Post-Suharto Indonesia
9. The Politics of Performance
Appendix A: CD-ROM Contents
Appendix B: Biographies of Four Dalang
Notes
Glossary
Works Cited
Index

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