A Musical: Happening Theatre: Only Death Faithfully Waits
Director: Agung ‘Leak’ Kurniawan
Performers: Frau, Gunawan Maryanto, Budi ND Dharmawan, Yosep Anggi Noen, Hahan, Mlenuk Voice
Today, 15 May 2015, at IFI Jogja.
Only death faithfully waits..
The title sounds sad, melancholic, and rather gorry. In this performance, Agung Kurniawan presented a mass rehearsal (the catholic way) for his own death. Sounds even more scary.
This performance was split into two parts: rehearsal for a rehearsal, and THE rehearsal.
When we entered the performance venue, we were given this book.
A lithurgy for Agung’s own death.
This whole performance is structured in a way that totally resembles a catholic mass, and Agung forced us all, the audience, to be the actors. Well, we were trapped. But we should already know about this, since this is a habbit of him brought over from his past performances. Agung loves to laugh at us who obediently plays along with his tricks.
In this ‘rehearsal for a rehearsal’, Agung gave direction to us on when to read the lines in the lithurgy, and Frau taught us to sing the songs in the lithurgy. And Agung warned us that he will strip down naked during the second half of the performance.
This was a sort of a bribe for us to come back to the performance after the short interval. Sort of, because then we came back into the venue, read along and sang along to Agung’s mass death rehearsal, and he didn’t strip down totally. He left his briefs intact with him.
And this scene, is the sum of this whole performance.
Well, we came into this performance, played along very well with Agung, we were led into feeling the grieve, the sadness, the melancholia of Agung’s death through Frau’s tunes and Maryanto’s poems and Agung’s own description about death. Those are just cosmestics.
Agung might cover up his own fear very well with those cosmetics saying thay death is beautiful and peaceful, but he couldn’t run away from his own obvious fear that noone will attend to his dying body in the future and noone will take care of his own death ritual.
Agung only presented us and forced us to see the cosmetics of death, but he still covered up that tiny bit of fear inside him. Nevertheless, that was fair. Everyone has the right to keep his own personal thoughts to himself.
After the performance, Agung gave out 47 of his own original sketches to the audience. All the sketches can be seen in instagram, just type #bukuberhimpun.
To sum up, this performance provided a different experience for Agung’s new audience and if we want to judge a performance based on audience participation, Agung managed the audience very well.
However, for Agung’s routine audience, they might find the pattern of this performance as a mere repetition from his last performance but in a bigger scale. And to me, Agung’s performance was half-half. The issue was very personal, but he failed to let us trust him fully, because he only gave us the cosmetics and covered up his deepest fear.
On a lighter note, let us remember that this is a ‘play’. And in a ‘play’, we play. And we did play happilly and faithfully with Agung.
Thank you, Agung Kurniawan, for the experience. We will remember our promise to come to your death mass when the time comes. But may you remember, death is not to be rehearsed; death is to be embraced with all vulnerability. That’s the beauty of death.