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Sahadewa Barong and Kris Dance, Bali, Indonesia – part 1 of 3

By on September 2, 2015 in Indonesia

Any early start this morning and I was on the road with my taxi driver just before 9 am as we had to get to Sahadewa Barong And Kris Dance show, which started at 9:30 am.

Entry to the Sahadewa Barong And Kris Dance cost 100,000 Indonesian Rupiah (£5 GBP; $7.50 US), and yes it was worth it.

The show was a traditional Balinese theatre production and was a story of good versus evil. The show was clearly aimed at tourists, but it was genuinely interesting and gave some insight into Balinese culture. Strangely it reminded me of the traditional British Christmas pantomime and even had some rude bits in it involving a monkey’s tail.

In the play, a mythological animal called a Barong, which is a lion-like creature and the king of spirits, represents a good spirit, whereas the Rangda is an evil demon queen.

In the overture of the play a tiger appears, followed by his friend, a monkey. Three masked men appear (making palwine – I think this is a mistranslation in the text describing the show and they mean palm wine), and a child is killed by a tiger. This causes the masked men to attack the tiger, who is supported by his friend the monkey. During the fight a nose of one of the three men is bitten off.

The first act open with two girl dancers, the servants of the evil Rangda, appearing. The dancers are looking for the servants of Dewi Kunti who are on their way to meet the Prime Minister (Patih).

In the second act, it starts to get complicated as one of the dancers turns into a witch and possessed two of the servants to make them angry. Dewi Kunti servants continue on to meet the Patih, and then they all (including the Patih) return to Dewi Kunti.

Now things get really complicated, and if I am honest I stopped trying to follow what was going on halfway through the second act.

The third act (according to the leaflet I was given) – Dewi Kunti and her son, Sahadewa, arrive, and for some reason Dewi Kunti has promised her son, Sahadewa, to the evil Rangda (I was wondering at this point when the Barong was going to arrive, and whether to not I had missed it). Another (or possibly the same) witch appears and enters Dewi Kunti, which makes her angry so she orders Patih to take Sahadewa into the forest. This he does as he has now also been possessed by a witch, and hence has no concerns about taking this action. In the forest, Patih ties Sahadewa to a tree.

In the fourth act the God Siwa appears, and unbeknown to Rangda, gives Sahadewa immortality. This mean that when Rangda tries to eat Sahadewa he survives. This causes Rangda to surrender to Sahadewa, who she asks to kill her so she may go to heaven.

In the fifth act Kalika, a servant of Rangda, comes to Sahadewa and also asks to be killed. However, Sahadewa refuses and as a result, Kalika turns into a boar and attacks Sahadewa. She is defeated and then turns in to a bird, which is also defeated by Sahadewa. Finally Kalika turns into Rangda, and still, Sahadewa cannot kill her.

At this point of the fifth act, after a period of meditation, Sahadewa turns into Barong, and he is still unable to kill Rangda. At this point, supporters of Barong appear and help him fight Rangda.

And all of this was accompanied by music…

Basically, as I have said above, I was following along with all of this until about halfway through the second act…

The first photograph below is of the Barong, which is a lion-like creature and the king of spirits.

Barong - a lion-like creature and the king of spirits

Barong – a lion-like creature and the king of spirits

I found the costume of the Barong to be amazing… Such detail and colour.

Close up of the Barong - a lion-like creature and the king of spirits

Close up of the Barong – a lion-like creature and the king of spirits

The Barong and the monkey…

The Barong and the monkey

The Barong and the monkey

The monkey part was very well played.

The Monkey

The Monkey

Not too sure who the men the white masks were… The servants of Dewi Kunti or the men making the palm wine. As they attacked the Barong (which might also be a tiger) I suspect they are the wine-makers.

Servants of Dewi Kunti or the men making the palm wine?

Servants of Dewi Kunti or the men making the palm wine?

Has the red faced character below lost his nose?

The fight scene

The fight scene

And then the servants (dancing girls) of the Rangda appear…

Servants (dancing girls) of the Rangda

Servants (dancing girls) of the Rangda

Again, fantastic costumes.

Servants (dancing girls) of the Rangda

Servants (dancing girls) of the Rangda – fantastic costumes

And I guess these guys are the servants of Dewi Kunti on the way to meet the Prime Minister (Patih).

Servants of Dewi Kunti

Servants of Dewi Kunti

Servants of Dewi Kunti

Servants of Dewi Kunti

FourSquare: Sahadewa Barong And Kris Dance

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Nick's continued wanderings can be followed on Twitter: @nickswanderings.
 

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