I had written my experience of attending Pesta Boneka #5 on some messily handmade postcards to my family and friends ....
1. To my beloved cousin, Wisnu
Bandung, December 5th, 2016
What's up, Doc? Healthy and happy, I hope : )
What about me? I'm alright. A couple days ago, I went to Jogja to experience Pesta Boneka. We experienced it together 4 years ago, do you still remember?
This year I attended Pesta Boneka with Ziggy, a good friend I know from my days as an editor at Mizan Publishing House. Ziggy is a writer. We became really closed when we realized that both of us are into snail mails.
We went from Bandung to Jogja a train called Kahuripan. Our ticket is really cheap, only IDR84.000/person. But I wouldn't suggest you to travel that far by night train, economy class. It's nearly unbearable. Without the daytime scenery, it's hard not to feel squeezed and trapped on a crammed train.
Rain greeted us cheerfully when we arrived on Jogja. A taxi driver grabbed us and to Indraloka Homestay of we went. The venue of Pesta Boneka #5, the first and second day, is on your beloved UGM. On the first day we went everywhere by our feet. Always being so thoughtful, we bought a big umbrella on the admirable UGM Mini Market. (Apart from daily necessities, it also sells bow tie and kebaya dress.) But Rain had run out its words for us that day.
The next day, Rain and us jumped on each other once again. Of course we forgetfully misplaced our umbrella. We tried Bus Trans Jogja on our second day.
PS: We fell in love HARD on Jogja, not to a person but to UGM Food Court.
Your beloved cousin
2. To my ex ... coworker and best friend, Teh Risma
The things tought on a 'Mime for Beginner' workshop by Ta and Nging from Babymime (Thailand):
1. How to become a jellyfish ..
2. How to hompimpa with our asses ...
3. How to kill, slow motion-ly
Bandung, December 5th, 2016
Hi Teh Risma!
Yesterday, I and Ziggy arrived in Bandung intact. Our night train trip was brutal. Kahuripan, our train, was so full of passengers that it's hard to straightened our knees. Ziggy had to sandwiched between two passengers. When we finally stepped our feet on Bandung, she said, "I felt like a right triangle."
Of course, the only thing that makes this trip tolerable is that we did it to experience Pesta Boneka! : D On the first day, when we went to get our presale tickets, we met a long queue. Apparently, enjoying a puppet show is attractive NOT only for toddler. The ticket to the anticipated Papermoon Puppet Show, The Old Man's Book, was sold out in less than half hour. There were so many sad faces because of that ...
But other than the Papermoon Puppet Show, there are so many things to ease our ached body. For example: a mime workshop by two handsome men from Thailand! I don't know which one of your boyfriend whose faces are resembled theirs. Ta and Nging taught us how to imagine with motion, to read other's body language. The workshop is free, but the enjoyment we got is priceless! We finished it completely pain-free!
3. To my favorite writer and best friend, Sundea
Bandung, December 5th, 2016
Dear Dea : ) How are you? I wish you and Fauzie are happy and healthy.
Yours truly is alright. This morning I had written some postcards, to tell my family and friends about Papermoon Co's Pesta Boneka on Jogja. I had became a little bit boastful, hahaha.
This time, Papermoon Puppet Theater performed a show about newspaper folders, a girl, a boy, and a very naughty dog! The play was opened by the life of newspaper folders. Some young men and woman work on a room, their job is folding newspaper. They are not forget to have some fun. They folded the newspaper to become puppets. Someone made a person with gun, some others made a superhero puppet. Suddenly it's a war zone! They work AND play hard.
There are also a story about a girl, a boy and a dog, who like to play together and to tease each other. They live near an old men who brings book everywhere in his rollator. Once upon a time, the girl borrowed the old man's book. She read it to the boy and the dog passionately, but rather tediously. The boy and the dog slowly lured to sleep, and then walked away silently. When the girl finished reading, she was so ready to be appreciated, but then found out that she was the only one. She got really angry to her friends!
The other day, they played together near the old man's house, near his window. They see his shadow. He was reading a book peacefully, et voila! Suddenly there are magical creatures emerged from the book. Apparently the old man WAS NOT simply READING, he INSERTS MEANING to his reading material. It's magical.
I was really moved.
Pieces of paper, piles of newspaper, grains of word, slices of life ... they would be blown away by the wind if no one cares about them.
But if someone gathers, assembles, and inserts some meaning to them, they can be something magical.
Even though, it looks 'messy'.
Life is messy.
4. To my brilliant best friend, Farida
Bandung, December 5th, 2016
I'm glad to receive the news that you got the opportunity to cover the news around the world. And I was moved to know that even though we are far away, we do remember each other. I hope both of us would find some peace everywhere we go, would find the 'home' in which we are accepted for being just as we are.
Coincidentally, 'home' was also the theme of Pesta Boneka #5, a magical festival I experienced a couple days ago. I want to tell you the some things I found out there.
The party lasted for three days. The first two days took place in UGM, the last day was held in Desa Kepek, Bantul. For financial reason, I decided to come only for the first two days. Even though it is said the last day IS the PEAK of the party. ("A fiesta in village," said a veteran party-goer.) But I found more than enough enjoyment on my limited partying.
This time, in addition to watch the puppet show, I had the opportunity to join a mime workshop. The teachers do not look like Charlie Chaplin or Buster Keaton, they look like handsome doctors from Asian TV Series. Our teachers are from Thailand. Their group is called Babymime. They taught us how to deliver messages with eyes and gestures. The goal is to make others also see the picture in our heads. We enjoyed some role-playing. We tried to create an image from specific places, like a museum or a beach. We 'killed' the killer of our parents with imaginary weapon in slow motion. It was really fun! All the malaise we felt in the morning was forgotten (well, the exact word is forgiven). Like I tell you before, I was partying with Ziggy.
After the workshop, we had our lunch in the sensational UGM Food Court. It is so comfortable, and the foods are cheap and delicious. We channeled our inner pig, and ate bakwan, gado-gado, lumpia Semarang, mie ayam jamur, steak ayam crispy--all in less than two days. UGM Food Court had became an ice breaker on the conversations with our new friends, because really ... it is important not to have an empty stomach when you are going to see a lot of puppet shows a day.
On the first day, after being moved to tears by watching Papermoon Puppet's The Old Man's Book, I was moved in different ways by a couple of plays. A puppeteer called Tim Spooner, from U.K., came with his friends and performed a play which has a sweet title: The Assembly of Animals. By the title, Ziggy and I thought about a play with these kind of characters:
Girl, we could not be more wrong!
The play is about some scientists who did a series of experiments to make 'the best' animal. The setting was dark. It was like a cold laboratory which have a lot of mechanical sounds in the background.
At first, their creation was still resembled an animal. But then, some of them was like robot, the others made from plastics, and the sound was getting more and more disturbing! After enjoying a heartwarming play, our heart was taken by Tim Spooner & Co. to a spooky place. Thank god it had been warmed before!
I think this is the magic of a puppet show. Even though puppet has a harmless reputation, actually they can be used to tell dark stories. Sometimes we experienced a sadness that is hard to explain, we try to explain it to the other by metaphors. Maybe puppets are also metaphors. By using metaphors, we process our feeling by make connections to the nature of other things. I think puppeteers use puppets because it is the only thing that makes their storytelling possible.
Tim Spooner was not the only one that 'playing' on dark grounds. There was also a play about immigration; about people who lost their home. The last show on the first day was performed by Frigg, from Netherlands. They told us a family's secret.
Frigg's show is unlike any other puppet show. Besides working with puppet, one of them was working with video camera. (S)He filmed the puppeteers in action, and the result was projected on a screen which was placed on the center of the stage, real time. The audiences were not only get a puppet show, but also a film. We were in between 'the scene' and 'behind the scene'. Even though the story was sad, I didn't get carried off emotionally, because I was aware that it is a story.
Suddenly, there was a surprise in the middle of play. It was unexpected by everybody: the electricity went off! The show was interrupted for a couple of seconds. When the light went 'on', the projector was still off. A puppeteer was trying to switch it on. The screen went blue. I think everyone were questioning whether the play would went on or not. And suddenly, the audiences gave Frigg a warm applause. We cheered and clapped our hand. Again, I was really moved.
Frigg put their 'behind the scene' in front of the audiences. When the electricity went off, it was one of the thing that happens 'behind the scene'. Coincidentally, it became a part of their show. I believe the warm applause from the audiences has made the puppeteers calm. (I remember one of them was smiling.) The show went on until its end. A sad one, but I was really happy because of the new experience.
That night my bed felt really comfortable. In the morning, Ziggy and I talked about how much we enjoyed the first day of Pesta Boneka, that we didn't have any expectation on the day after.
On the second day, after a lazy morning, we were back to UGM to buy tickets for an afternoon play. Then we decided to go to a 'neighbor festival', Jogja Asian Film Festival. We went to Empire XXI by taxi. (We accidentally left our blue umbrella there.) We watched a film from Singapore, about conversations that happens in safe rooms, when someone can fully be their own. Some of the conversation theme tiringly repeated and made me relieved that I was not in that room. Ironically, I was in a movie theater which is kind of a room! : (
We went back to UGM by Trans Jogja Bus. It was quite cheap and comfortable ride, but we have to wait for awhile until our bus arrived.
The rain was pouring when we nearly arrived on UGM. We ran for our dry clothes. The rain was still pouring during and after our show. Thankfully the amphitheater is a good place for any show. There is open area in the roof. The fresh air can come easily, so do the birds. A bird indeed came in during several puppet show, I suspect there was its home.
I am really grateful that I experienced Pesta Boneka, and the night train trip with Ziggy. After all these years, it still is not easy for me to get close to a new friend. I often think that sometimes I am just too much, that people will leave right in the moment they realized my weaknesses. On the other hand, after all these years, I found out that some people do stay. Some people make the extra effort to stay in touch, even though we are going through some different paths. There are people who didn't give up on conflicts, and still be appreciative when things turned out not as expected.
I think, my so-called best friends, are parts of what I called 'My Home'. I must accept if there are things that put a distance between us in the future. But inside, there would be unmeasurable closeness between us. I think, friendship helps us realized the good thing in ourselves, something we bring when we build a bridge with other people. We might be far away from each other, but our friendship makes me believe that I can find a best friend wherever I go; that I can find a home wherever I go.
Ziggy and I left Pesta Boneka, through the rain. She hummed. "So it's not so sad," she said. "Goodbye Pesta Boneka!" I said. Ziggy pulled an exaggerated sad faces. "Goodbye UGM Food Court!" I said. "Brother!" exclaimed Ziggy.
Even though little by little I have some believe about what I called a home. I still have a lot of questions. I am still following my curiosities. I am trying to find out how to use my capabilities to live and participate in our society.
The train is called Kahuripan. Every time it would stop on a station, there would be an audible announcement on English and Bahasa Indonesian. Ziggy likes the sound of Stasiun Sumpiuh. I like Stasiun Wates, if pronounced quickly, it will sound like "What's?".
Kahuripan is arriving at Wates.
Life is arriving at What's?
5. To my fellow Pesta Boneka lover, Kahuripan survivor, and best friend, Ziggy
After Frigg's play, The Big Unknown ...
... my shadow, yours, and our lost umbrella's.
Bandung, December 5th, 2016
I just want to tell you how happy I am to spend our time together. We have gone through the bad Kahuripan, and the good Pesta Boneka AND the UGM Food Court. I am so grateful for that.
I apologize on our last day together, you have to spent a lot of money on me. Financial planning is not my strong point. I wish I could be more honest with you when my money was getting short, so that we could had chosen to do something cheaper.
On our trip together, I realized the way you hum under the rain to 'huss' away the sadness. You feel the pain without being a pain. You share kindly with some(chosen)one you just met.