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Fourth night: Shinta vindicated

The fake heads

In Argasoka garden Shinta grieves for her husband Rama. In vain her friend Trijata, Rahwana's niece, tries to console her. (left)
Again Rahwana appears pressing Shinta to become his wife. But she steadfastly refuses. (right)

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Then Rahwana resorts to a ruse, he orders two of his giants to bring in the heads of Rama and Leksmana, but the heads are fake. (left)
At the sight of these Shinta faints. But Trijata sees through Rahwana's ruse. (right)

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Trijata shames Rahwana: "If you weren't such a coward you would have brought the real heads." (left)
Rahwana swallows the bait and rushes off to the battlefield. (right)

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Duel of Rahwana and Rama

On the battlefield monkeys and giants are still fiercely fighting. (left)
Rahwana finds that all his relatives have died and soon comes face to face with Rama. (right)

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In the duel that follows Rahwana finally succumbs to Rama's arrow. (left)
He is mourned and his soul ascends the stairs to heaven. (right)

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A new king for Alengka

Rahwana’a army now surrenders and Alengka needs a new king.
Rama calls Wibisono, Rahwana’s brother who was in exile for opposing him, and has him crowned king of Alengka. (left)
The giants accept Wibisono’s overlordship. (right)

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Rama doubts Shinta

Leksmana calls Shinta to meet her husband Rama. (left)
However the latter doubts Shinta's purity after her long captivity. (right)

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This hurts Shinta so much that she wants to prove her purity by stepping in a fire; when she comes out unharmed this will be the proof required. (left)
In vain Trijata begs Rama, Wibisono and Shinta to forgo the ordeal. (right)

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Shinta vindicated

Unlike on the second night, now the fire is personified by female dancers in red and yellow outfit. (left)
When Shinta steps into the fire, indeed she remains unharmed. Instead the fire god Brama himself appears and protects her. (right)

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Brama leads Shinta out of the fire and towards Rama. He blesses their reunion.

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Posted by theo1006 07:42 Archived in Indonesia Tagged theatre ballet Comments (0)

Third night: The war

The invasion of Alengka

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Rama Wijaya, crown prince of Ayodya, is set on invading Alengka, because its king Rahwana has abducted Rama's wife Shinta.
He is supported by an army of monkeys (right).

However there is a problem: Alengka lies overseas and the fishes protest the passing of the monkeys (below).

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Crabs attack the monkeys (right).

Then Rama shoots his magic arrow at the sea, creating a dry pathway like Moses did in his time (below).

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The monkeys proceed bringing rocks to wall in the new road (right).

The fishes give in and sit lining the road when the monkey army passes (below)

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Kumbokarno banished

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In Alengka king Rahwana has gathered his council, when Rama's emissary Hanggada arrives with the message: "Release Shinta or it is war" (right).

Rahwana is so angry that he threatens to kill the messenger, but the king's brother Kumbokarno prevents this (below).

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This directs Rahwana's fury against his brother, who is banished from the court (right).

Kumbokarno takes leave of his (and Rahwana’s) sister Sarkapenaka (below).

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Duels of the heroes

In the half-light it was impossible to photograph the squirmishes between Rama's monkeys and Rahwana's giants: too much movement.
After an interlude of mourning it is the turn of the heroes to fight one on one.

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The blue monkey chief Hanila kills Rahwana's prime minister Prahasta (right).

Rahwana's general Indrajid is taken on by Rama's brother Leksmana (below) and dies by an arrow from the latter.

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Hanuman strikes dead Rahwana's sister Sarpakenaka (right).

Kumbokarno, although disagreeing with his brother, has returned to defend his country. He easily defeats Sugriwa, the red monkey (below).

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Therefore Leksmana once more steps in. In vain he tries close attack with his dagger (right),

But then Rama hands him his bow with the magic arrows and Kumbokarno is hit (below).

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Thus, Kumbokarno who is Rahwana's brother, is struck down by an arrow from the bow of Rama's brother (right).

The battle is suspended. All mourn the death of the great warrior Kumbokarno, who tried to prevent the war (below).

His soul rises up and ascends the stairs to heaven.

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In next and the last episode the battle is resumed and Rama faces his enemy Rahwana.

Posted by theo1006 13:58 Archived in Indonesia Tagged theatre ballet Comments (2)

Second night: Hanuman's Errand

The journey of the monkeys

In a council of Rama and Leksmana with the four monkey chiefs (left), the latter undertake to make contact with Shinta at Rahwana's court and hand her Rama’s ring as a token that she is not left alone. Hanuman is the bearer of the ring (right).

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On their way to Alengka the monkeys are intercepted by the goddess Dewi Sayempraba, who strikes them unconscious (left). When they come by they find they are blind (right).

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While the monkeys are groping around, fortunately the bird king Sempati comes to their aid and succeeds in restoring their sight. In return Hanuman heals Sempati from an unspecified illness.

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Hanuman fulfills his errand

In Rahwana's pleasure garden Argasoka the captive Shinta grieves for her husband Rama. Trijata, Rahwana's niece, is on her side and tries to console her (left).
Rahwana once more appears and tries to persuade Shinta into marrying him. When Shinta refuses, Rahwana threatens to kill her. But Trijata begs for Shinta's life urging Rahwana to be patient (right).

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When once more the two women are alone in the garden, Hanuman appears (left) and delivers Rama's ring to Shinta (right).

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Hanuman victorious

Having done what he was charged to do, Hanuman - as monkeys do! - proceeds to run amok (left) in the garden destroying it.
Of course then he is found out and the army of giants (right) attacks him.

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Hanuman easily stays his ground (left) until he is struck down by a magic arrow of Indrajid, Rahwana's army chief (right).

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Hanuman is taken before Rahwana (left), who sentences him to be burned alive (right). (In another version he is tortured by setting his tail on fire.)

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But the invincible Hanuman breaks his bonds, takes burning sticks from the pile and sets Rahwana's palace on fire.

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P.S. This episode is by far the most popular of the four, mainly because of the fire scene. Compare the ballet version with the one depicted by the reliefs of Penataran temple near Blitar.

Posted by theo1006 13:04 Archived in Indonesia Tagged theatre ballet Comments (1)

First night: The abduction of Shinta

The venue of the Ramayana epos as it is told through Javanese dance six times a year on four consecutive nights in the open air theatre of Prambanan, with the floodlighted temples in the background. The musicians are getting seated.

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At the court of Alengka

The ballet opens with a scene at the court of Rahwana, king of Alengka. Rahwana makes his appearance.
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The assembled people together with Rahwana's brother Kumbokarno (below), his general Indrajid and his prime minister Prahasta are paying their respects.
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Rahwana's sister Sarpakenaka comes complaining that she has been harassed by a warrior in Dandaka forest, who was accompanied by a beautiful woman.
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Rahwana's interest in the woman is roused and he leaves with his servant Kalamarica in order to find her.

In Dandaka forest

Rama Wijaya, crown prince of the kingdom Ayodya is in voluntary exile in Dandaka forest, together with his beautiful wife Shinta and his faithful brother Leksmana (below).
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They meet a group of rabbits and a herd of deer and Shinta plays with them.
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Rahwana’s ruse

But then a more wonderful, golden deer appears and tempts Shinta. Shinta asks her husband to catch it for her, and the latter obliges leaving Shinta in the care of his brother, Leksmana.
However, the deer really is Kalamarica in disguise, who has been sent by Rahwana.
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When Shinta and Leksmana are alone they hear a cry for help, and Shinta who thinks her husband is in danger, urges Leksmana to go to his aid. After some hesitation Leksmana leaves, but not before having drawn a magic circle around Shinta to protect her.
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Shinta now being alone, soon Rahwana himself appears and wants to kidnap her. At first he is baffled by the magic circle. Therefore he disguises himself as an old Brahmana priest, and Shinta intending to give him some alms steps out of the circle. Then Rahmana grabs her and takes her away.
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Rama and Leksmana return to the spot where they left Shinta. They are at a loss what has happened and Rama reproaches Leksmana.
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The eagle Janaya and the monkeys

However the abduction of Shinta has been witnessed by the good eagle Janaya, who now attacks Rahwana in an attempt to rescue her.
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Unfortunately he is overcome by Rahwana and mortally wounded.
Rama and Leksmana run into the dying bird and with his last breath Janaya informs them of what has happened.
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Janaya dies in their arms and his soul rises to heaven (by way of the stairs).
Then the monkey army with their four leaders appear on the scene: Sugriwa (red), Hanuman (white), Hanila (blue) and the venerable Jembawan (yellow).
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Sugriwa begs Rama to aid him recovering his sweetheart Dewi Tara, who has been lured by his - Sugriwa's - elder brother Subali.
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In the ensuing fight between Sugriwa and Subali, the latter is shot with an arrow by Rama.
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Sugriwa thanks Rama and in return for his aid the monkeys are now ready to assist Rama in his quest to get his wife back.
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Posted by theo1006 07:41 Archived in Indonesia Tagged theatre ballet Comments (0)

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