This Week in Southeast Asian Studies (TWISEA)
November 24, 2015
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“The body is the living text which is born on the stage and which speaks so much more than simply the verbality of words,” Rachman Sabur, Artistic Director, Black Umbrella Theater, Indonesia.
The experimental performance group Black Umbrella Theater (Teater Payung Hitam) from Bandung, West Java is coming to town. Four members of the company will be in Seattle for a 10-day residency as visiting lecturers at the Southeast Asia Center (SEAC). During their residency they will collaborate and perform with SEAC, Memory War Theater and the Undergraduate Theater Society at UW.
To kick off the residency, the Black Umbrella Theater Group will have a discussion on Islam, politics, and performing arts in Indonesia on Thursday, Dec 3rd. They will offer a free workshop on Tuesday, Dec 8th. Finally, on Friday, Dec 11th, the residency will culminate in a public performance and symposium
The Black Umbrella Theater Group, though cutting edge, is not new. The company “was founded by Rachman Sabur in 1982, in Bandung,” writes Silvester Petara Hurit of Kelola. The group "has produced more than 80 performances and established itself as one of the foremost modern theatre groups in Indonesia. Payung Hitam has performed across Indonesia and also at a number of prestigious festivals” in Germany, Holland, Taiwan, Australia and Japan.
The theater piece that the Black Umbrella Theater Group will perform on Dec 11th is titled Merah Bolong. It is loosely translated as “Red Emptiness.” Tikka Sears, who was instrumental in bringing the group to UW, explains that the word bolong is hard to translate because it can also mean a hole, void or perforation. But fixating on this is missing the point. For Rachman, “the body is the living text which is born on the stage and which speaks so much more than simply the verbality of words.” The performance will be a non-verbal “exploration of different mediums and a fascination with metal and stone… allud[ing] to Payung Hitam’s desire to rebel with a massive force, like that of metal and stone, full of mystery inside the intricacy and complexity of bodies of terror.”
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Upcoming Events (5)


Islam, Politics, and Performing Arts in Indonesia


Thu, Dec 3, 1:30 - 3:30 PM

UW, Thomson Hall, Room 317

Join members of Black Umbrella Theater Group (Teater Payung Hitam) in an informal discussion of Islam, politics and performing arts in Indonesia. You're invited to come for all or part of the two-hour session. Bring your questions, or just come to listen. All welcome!

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Tue, Dec 8, 4:30 - 6:30 PM
UW School of Drama, Hutchinson Hall, The Cabaret Theater - Room 205

The Undergraduate Theater Society will be hosting a FREE physical theater workshop led by the members of the Black Umbrella Theater Group (Teater Payung Hitam). The workshop will focus on explorations and improvisations around the performer's body in relationship to self, others and the natural environment. This workshop is open to those who are beginner movement artists and those with more experience. It may appeal to students with interests in suzuki, viewpoints, butoh and other movement-based forms of theater.  

Performance and Symposium
Red Emptiness: Islam, Politics, and Performing Arts in Indonesia

Fri, Dec 11, 6 - 8:30PM

UW Hughes Penthouse Theatre

The evening will include a performance by Black Umbrella Theater Group (Teater Payung Hitam), followed by a panel discussion between theater director Rachman Sabur and scholars of Indonesian theater and, finally, an open public discussion.


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Democracy in Myanmar? Response to the Elections

Mon, Nov 30, 12 - 1:30PM
World Trade Center Seattle
2200 Alaskan Way; Suite 410; Seattle, WA 98121

On November 30, join the World Affairs Council for a timely Member-to-Member Lunch on the recent election results in Myanmar. The conversation will be led by Larry Dohrs, Chairman of the Board of Directors for the U.S. Campaign for Burma, and visiting scholar in Southeast Asian Studies at Texas Christian University.


Online Information Session

M.A. Southeast Asian Studies
UW Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies


Thu, Dec 3, 10:00 - 11:00 AM (Pacific Time)

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Recommended Resources

This section lists news items and other recently-published resources that have been recommended by faculty and grad students over the past week. To submit an item for next week, email

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Jobs (1)

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Fellowships and Funding (1)

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For general information on funding sources, including FLAS, visit the SEAC website
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Conferences and Calls for Papers (3)

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