Ungu Institute to perform theater celebrating Women International Day

Ungu Institute to perform theater celebrating Women International Day

Director Faiza Mardzoeki (center) explaines about creative process of "Nyanyi Sunyi Kembang-kembang Genjer" (NSKG)production during a press conference at Goethe Institute in Jakarta on Thursday (Feb 27). NSKG will be performed to celebrate Women International Day on March 7 to 9, 2014. (Antara / Azi Fitriyanti)

"And of course we stand for these women who could not tell their stories since the repressive regime of New Order banned and threatened them."
Jakarta (Antara News) - Ungu Institute, a womens art and cultural organization based in Jakarta, will perform "Nyanyi Sunyi Kembang-kembang Genjer" (The Silent Song of Velvetleafs Flowers) as part of the Women International Day 2014 celebrations.

Nyanyi Sunyi Kembang-kembang Genjers (NSKG) Producer and Director Faiza Mardjoeki stated during the press conference, here on Thursday, that the story was based on a two-year research about the 1965 molestation survivors (women) in several regions across Java, including Yogyakarta, Solo and Surabaya, and the Indonesian exiles in Sweden and Netherlands.

"But I have chosen the present as its setting, in aiming to share a revelation about another fact of our history that has been denied a part in the history subject that is being taught in our schools for years, " Faiza elaborated.

NSKG will have six actresses playing the parts of old women in the age group of 73 to 83 year-olds, who are from the "Gerakan Wanita Indonesia" (Gerwani) or Indonesian Women Movement members, an organization that was associated with Partai Komunis Indonesia (Indonesian Communist Party) by New Order regime.

All actresses are well known in the national theater world, including Pipien Putri as Grandma Nini (83), Heliana Sinaga as Ming (25), Niniek L Karim as Grandma Sulahana (83), Ruth Marini as Grandma Sunilah (73), Irawita as Grandma Mak Min (76), and Ani Surestu as Grandma Tarwih (73).

Faiza explained that the casting process was a long drawn one, since she needed actresses to play old women. However, Faiza stressed that their character was built on even as the production was underway.

"My actresses are in their late 20s, late 30s and early 50s, hence I had to make sure that they play not just an ordinary old woman, but a woman who has experienced deep trauma and still has to keep living in the present," Faiza explained.

"During the six-month pre-production process, we also interviewed some 1965 women survivors to draw some original inspiration," she added.

Faiza and Ungu Institute stressed that the NSKG performance was simply required in order to share a forgotten fact from the Indonesian history, with the present generation.

"And of course we stand for these women who could not tell their stories since the repressive regime of New Order banned and threatened them," she elaborated.

The NSKG is the eleventh production of Ungu Institute; they have produced successful theater performances, such as "Nyai Ontosoroh" based on Pramoedya Ananta Toers Bumi Manusia (The Earth of Mankind) and "Rumah Boneka" (House of Doll).

The NSKG will be played at Goethe Institute Jakarta from March 7 to 9, at a ticket fee of Rp50 thousand as donation to the 1965 ex-political women prisoners. (*)

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