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Book Review

09 maret 2008 00:07

Mamanda Tale, Your History Now

Mamanda Tale, Your History Now

Mamanda Sebuah Teater Eksodus (Mamanda an Exodus Theatre)
Center for Research and Development of Malay Culture-BKPBM and Adicita, Yogyakarta
1st edition, 2007
xiii + 89 pages

The word ‘mamanda‘ is often associated with ‘mama‘ or ‘ibu‘ (mother) of which derivation became ‘mamanda‘ or ‘ibunda‘. However, the meaning is false, especially when we look at the grammar of the most society in Sumatra and Kalimantan Islands. Etymologically, ‘mamanda‘ comes from the word ‘mama‘ that means ‘uncle, or ‘pak cik‘ or in Banjar language called ‘mamanda‘. The word ‘nda‘ bears the meaning as ‘respected‘. In this context, ‘mamanda‘ means ‘respected uncle‘.

Mamanda is a traditional art from Banjar, South Kalimantan province, as a folk theatre that is performed from classical poem and hikayat (tale), supported by the ‘must exist‘ characters such as King, Mangkubumi (Malay supreme administrator), Wazir (minister), Prime Minister, Military Commander, Harapan I and Harapan II, Khadam (servant) and Sandut (princess). Each character has their own central role in every plays.

Historically, Mamanda was born from Badamuluk art performance brought by Abdoel Moeloek group from Malacca in 1897 A.D. that previously named Komedi Indra Bangsawan in South Kalimantan province. The combination of local art in Banjar with Komedi Indra Bangsawan created a new art performance called Ba Abdoel Moeloek or commonly recognized as Badamuluk which is now famous as Mamanda (p.32). This traditional art was brought by Banjar immigrant to Indragiri Hilir, Riau province since the exodus movement as the result of war against the Dutch that tortured the life of Banjar people.

At a glance, this folk theatre is similar to lenong or ketoprak having character in emotional contact between the actors and the spectators. In both lenong and Mamanda performance, the audience can directly respond to the play that livens up the play. No wonder, the respond of the audience determines the success of this performance. The performance of Mamanda is greatly depends on the ability of the actor in performing their own performances as long as they stick to the scenario. It makes the Mamanda show seems spontaneous. Ketoprak, lenong, and Mamanda have the similar order of stages, started by overture followed by introduction by songs or dance.

Nowadays, folk theatre is being threatened. The appreciation for traditional folk art is ground by Indonesian sinetron offering various themes such as love story, tragedy and emotional drama containing hatred and revenge. Recently, Indonesia sinetron is even dominated by the theme of vying over wealth. In fact, traditional folk art contains a lot of wise substance like history, mores, critics of social distortion, and exemplary behavior to people.

The society‘s preference for art is being constructed by the domination of electronic media in the modern life. Furthermore, the shifting lifestyle to pragmatic and hedonic life strengthens the existence of Indonesian sinetron that serves brief, economic, modern and prestigious entertainment. Their unearthly stories, in fact, touch the heart of Indonesian people who loves to dream a lot. In contrast with modern arts, Mamanda as a folk theatre from Indragiri Hilir, Riau province is getting more marginalized by its own components; conventional technology, lack of creativity and its boring themes because it always takes it from classical poem and hikayat (tale). Being both unable to avoid suffer and get any benefit, the lack of innovation in the performance technique as well as the plot, cause the youth of Indragiri Hilir no longer pay attention to this folk art.

In the end, the maintenance of culture indeed needs supporting component, which is the society itself. How a cultural performance becomes interesting depends on its package as a marketable matter. Compare with lenong and ketoprak which is more innovative, Mamanda has not yet able to restructure itself into a new form that can be accepted by Indragiri Hilir people.

This book, as a result of the research, states that Mamanda seems not to have significant changes unlike other innovative folk arts like lenong and ketoprak. In addition, Mamanda does not involve electronic media therefore its selling price in young generation becomes relegated. Just like Mamanda, ketoprak and lenong were only performed in public folk stages. While Mamanda still keep on performing its original version ketoprak and lenong innovate themselves into modern forms which are not only intended for the specific societies or culture, but also for any cultural background.

This book brings the reader to a consecutive understanding about Mamanda art that starts to fade away in the modern era. The readers will be able to trace its history, supporting society, plot, story and its development nowadays. In this book, the readers are persuaded to understand the context of Mamanda performance so they will be able to criticize and give positive suggestion in order to maintain this culture. The lack of bravery to have an innovation is a specific burden for the maintenance of Mamanda theatre. In essential, the metamorphosis of Mamanda requires bravery, especially for the plot that can be taken from other resources. Hermansyah, the author and also a lecturer at the Faculty of Letters Lancang Kuning University Riau, peels all of these ideas in this book. Enjoy the reading!


By Nanum Sofia

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