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‘Black Umbrella Theater’ from Bandung, Indonesia on stage at UW

January 20, 2016

Teater Payung Hitam was founded by Artistic Director Rachman Sabur in 1982 in Bandung, Indonesia. Now in its 33rd year, the group has established itself as one of the country’s foremost modern theatre companies. Their creative work is stimulated by the problems of people and society. They desire to stand at the forefront of idealism, voicing what they believe to be for the good of human progress. However, for Payung Hitam the body is a living text which speaks more than simply the verbality of words. After the fall of the New Order regime, they began to focus more explicitly on nature and the destruction of the world’s ecosystem. The group’s fascination with metal and stone, which alludes to their desire to rebel with a massive force, dates back to the first iteration of Merah Bolong in 1997. (Adapted from

On December 11, 2015, Teater Payung Hitam was joined by Seattle residency artists to perform two pieces at the Hughes Penthouse Theatre on the University of Washington campus:

“Tubuh, Bunyi, Kesakitan”

(Body, Sound, Suffering)
Performed by Seattle residency artists: Mary Barnes, Ariel Burke, Katia Chaterji, Janelle Smith and Hendri Walujo

“Merah Bolong”

(Red Emptiness)
Performed by members of Teater Payung Hitam: Rusli Keleeng, Fajar Okto, Tikka Sears and Nugraha “Bazier” Susanto, with Seattle residency artists

Residency Program Director:

Tikka Sears

Set Design:

Otong Durahim

Lighting Design:

Evan Merryman Ritter

Stage Manager:

Avril Martinez

The performance was followed by a panel discussion titled Islam, Politics and the Performing Arts in Indonesia:


Michael Bodden – Pacific and Asian Studies, University of Victoria
Mark Jenkins – Drama, University of Washington
Laurie Sears – History, University of Washington
Christina Sunardi – Ethnomusicology, University of Washington


Laurie Sears, Director, Southeast Asia Center


Ulil Amri, Mary Barnes, Ben Moseley, Desiana Pauli Sandjaja, Tikka Sears and Hendri Walujo


Southeast Asia Center

University of Washington School of Drama

Mayor’s Office or Arts and Culture

Memory War Theater