For the first time ever, a festival of Indonesian plays can be found in London’s Oval House from 7 to 9 May 2019, showing off a combination of classic and contemporary shows that captivates its audience with their many breath-taking performances. From a mythical world of magic and fairy tales to the different sides of Bali culture and customs, and through the exploration of the lesser known parts of the Muslim community of Indonesia, and more, the audiences are enlightened to a new discovery of the many secrets Indonesia holds.


With only a limited time to show off these talents, each evening hosted two different plays, making the ‘one night only’ affair, that much more enticing of performance to its audience members, as it gives it a special flare. With only a one time showing of untold stories, once considered unobtainable due to language barriers, these translated play readings are one of the first and only chances for a wider audience to sight a glimpse of the larger intricate culture of Indonesia, hidden from the common eye. Therefore, it’s fair to say that the festival has been a success in showing off Indonesia’s rich and beautiful heritage.


On the 8th of May, the play reading ‘Cut out’ by Riyadhus Shalihin (translated by Alfian Sa’at) was performed, capturing its audience’s attention with a detailed account on the historical developments of Indonesia’s culture, politics, and development. A history that was once thought dead and irrelevant, has finally been brought to life with its quick-witted narrative and entertaining recital.


Read like the epics of the old ancient Bards of Greece, the actors have the audience entranced as they spin a tale of the woes and struggles of the people that helped fight for the independence of this great nation, and the many movements that push the country forward into the future we know today.  The play reading, reveals the unsung accounts of the Indonesian people and their great leaders, putting to rest the ‘old dusty history book’ perspective, instead putting a limelight on the struggles of the Indonesian people and an insight into the conflicting cultures and politics between Indonesian’s and it’s past conquerors through a glimpse of real person accounts.


With its true accounts, and factual points that helped thicken the plot of history, it’s only fair to call this entertaining play reading an enriching experience, as it casts a shining light on the new angles of Indonesian history; educating its audiences on the influences of the world on the nation, and the large global impacts Indonesia has on the world.


‘Cut Out’ is only one, of the many fascinating shows that were performed during the festival of Indonesian plays, all of which have successfully presented itself as another insight to the deep and hidden beauty of Indonesian culture and heritage. (VB/ODP)