A brand-new production of Teater Koma, Warisan, is the company's 147th production and will run for 10 days from August 10-20 at vintage playhouse Gedung Kesenian Jakarta. The show conveys the clear message about how social gaps and post-power syndrome could tear apart a nursing home.
Warisan (Inheritance) is set in a nursing home that serves citizens from all walks of life. They all live happily together in peace and harmony until government subsidies decrease and the serene atmosphere changes as residents are split into two groups separated by a high wall. One side is reserved for the rich who can afford to pay, while one side is for the poor who rely fully on state funding.
Conflicts between the two camps start to boil, and in no time the injustice climaxes when government subsidies totally stop. Those who live in the poor area are soon neglected, forcing some of them to move to another nursing house, while those who lack the money to relocate simply became outcasts. As living costs at the place become higher, the area for the poor shrinks to nothing.
"Yes, at the end there is no more nursing home for the poor," explains Nano Riantiarno playwright and director of the dramatic piece. "The nursing home is only for the rich—it is reserved for those who can pay expensive nursing fee. Does it portray contemporary Indonesia? I do not know."
Warisan is an original piece written in January 2017 in response to Nano's incessant craving to create a play rooted in concern about corruption. Quite separate from his customary productions, this time Riantiarno created a "silent" scenario. "There are no lyrics in Warisan; no music or choreography; there are only verbal expressions and pure acting," the 68-year-old playwright adds.
There are 27 characters in the play, most of whom are portrayed by senior citizens in their 70s and 80s who love to talk about corruption, politics and imagination. "All day long they just talk and talk, because they cannot do anything [else]," explains Riantiarno, "Even though, I must admit, possibly in their prime time they have committed corruption."
Presented in the middle of the country's month of independence, Warisan puts focus on corruption and current issues like foreign debt. Corruption, according to the Cirebon-born dramatist, in its many manifestations, is always an interesting subject for a play. "And a nursing house is the most ideal place, where residents, the leading roles, can talk about it for hours and hours and for days and days without having to face serious consequences: after all they are they are oldies who can talk and talk."
Warisan is one of three productions designed by Teater Koma to mark the company's 40th anniversary this year. The first was Opera Ikan Asin, staged at Ciputra Artpreneur in March, Warisan is the second, and in November, the third production will be staged at Graha Bhakti Budaya Taman Ismail Marzuki. A string of potential stage artists acts out the intriguing play that will run for 180 minutes, including Idris Pulungan, Ratna Riantiarno, Rita Matu Mona and Ohan Adiputra. Showtime is 8pm and tickets start at Rp100,000.