Sumarsam Speaks on Javanese Puppet Theater at Museum of Puppetry

Olivia DrakeOctober 29, 20151min

On Oct. 28, as part of its Fall Puppet Forum Series, the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry at the University of Connecticut hosted Javanase musician and scholar Sumarsam for a presentation on “Javanese Puppet Theater and the West.” Sumarsam is the University Professor of Music at Wesleyan.

Sumarsam’s talk included discussion of the complex nature of Javanese wayang kulit shadow theater in the context of his recent research into the history of Javanese gamelan culture.

Professor Sumarsam’s work analyzes adaptations in gamelan art as a result of Western colonialism in 19th century Java, showing how Western musical and dramatic practices were domesticated by Javanese performers to create hybrid Javanese-Western art forms, such as with the introduction of brass bands in traditional court music and western theatrical idioms in contemporary wayang puppet plays.

The event included a book signing for Professor Sumarsam’s newest work, Javanese Gamelan and the West, hosted by the UConn Co-op Bookstore.