The Total Actor
24. March 2019
Balinese singing, dancing and theatre techniques, with I Wayan Bawa.
I Wayan Bawa begins the performance with an offering and an excerpt from Gambuh, the oldest Balinese form of dance-drama dating from the 15th century. He enacts the character of the strong king in full costume introducing the spectators to the intense richness and connection between the Balinese religious ceremonies and the stage art forms.
Then he makes a short autobiographical presentation and explains some of the basic principles of Balinese theatre, dance, music and vocal techniques: posture, steps, right and left position, manis and keras (soft and strong), composition and feelings in both male and female characters.
The main part of the performance is dedicated to Topeng, the well-known Balinese mask dance. First I Wayan Bawa gives a short explanation of the characteristics of each mask: the silent full masks, the speaking half masks, the penasar who has the task of explaining the story to the audience and the comic bonres (clowns) who interact with the spectators. Then he performs a sequence of fixed forms and improvised dialogue which traditionally starts with the Topeng Tua (the old man) and ends with Sidya Kharya (the divinity who ends the dance) by sprinkling blessed water and holding a white cloth as protection against evil spirits.