I La Galigo: about a dream held by Rhoda Grauer and Restu Imansari
Sitting with Rhoda Grauer and Restu Imansari, you are quickly
caught up in their fascination for the story of creation upon which
I La Galigo is based. This epos from centuries ago was written
down on palm leaves two hundred years ago. Rhoda became enthralled
by the beautiful story and accompanying dance and music when she
was researching old dance rituals. She and her friend Restu decided
to approach theatre maker Robert Wilson. Restu had worked with
Wilson came to Indonesia, in part to see more of the country,
its traditional and modern dance, its light and smells, architecture
and colours. Restu explains: 'Together we went to conferences and
talked with older people to learn more about the high priest cult
of the period, about the mystical aspects of the story and about
the dance and music.'
The preparations took years. After all of the researching of traditional
movements and musical instruments, dancers and musicians had to
be found. Restu: 'We organised workshops and auditions on Sulawesi.
Most of the dancers and musicians we selected therefore come from
Sulawesi and Irian Jaya. For many of them, this was the first experience
with their own cultural heritage. One of the dancers discovered,
for example, that her own grandmother had performed as a dancer
in this story at the Sulawesi court. Even then dance was the narrative
medium for this epos.'
The Prince Claus fund will support the performance of I La Galigo
in Sulawesi in 2005.