Travels in Malaysia and Indonesia

Matt Welsh

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One night in Yogyakarta we attended a wayang kulit (shadow puppet) performance. The dalang, or puppeteer, sits behind a large screen and moves the puppets against it while acompanied by a large gamelan orchestra. Of course the dialog is in Indonesian or Javanese, and was impossible to follow -- the show was utterly perplexing, although beautiful. It's possible to sit behind the screen and watch the dalang and orchestra at work. It's very informal -- amazingly, the orchestra spends most of their time smoking and chatting while the dialog is going on!

Photograph Copyright (c)2000 by Matt Welsh. All rights reserved.