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Inventing the Performing ArtsModernity and Tradition in Colonial Indonesia$
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Matthew Isaac Cohen

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780824855567

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824855567.001.0001

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Hybrid and Popular Entertainments

Hybrid and Popular Entertainments

(p.41) Chapter 2 Hybrid and Popular Entertainments
Inventing the Performing Arts

Matthew Isaac Cohen

University of Hawai'i Press

Hybrid arts and popular amusements emerged in the nineteenth century against a backdrop of global capitalist modernity and the routinization of labor. Traveling circuses, acrobatic outfits from Japan, monkey acts, and freak shows amazed and connected spectators to the wider world. Novel object and puppet theaters, such as sigale-gale in Sumatra and wayang golek in Java, came out of ancient rituals and venerable dramatic traditions to entertain tourists and respond to modern desires for illusionism. A community of forms of popular Malay-language theater, including bangsawan and dulmuluk, developed in western Indonesia starting in the 1870s with the spread of education and printing. In this way, popular literature was disseminated. The bankruptcy of the Mangkunegaran freed up court-trained performers in 1888 to teach the courtly arts and a commercial form of courtly drama, known today as wayang wong panggung, became a veritable craze in western Java.

Keywords:   Indonesia, circus, acrobatics, topeng monyet, wayang golek, bangsawan, dulmuluk, wayang wong panggung, popular entertainment, popular culture

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