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Dusk, in the Warm Afternoon

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a daughter's memoir by Rarindra Ratu

This is an Exclusive  Biography-article of world famous Indonesian dance artist, Tetet Srie WD by his daughter,  Rarindra Ratu, Who was fighting on her trauma, revenge, and depression, Rarindra tried to get up and forgive her father who was also her biggest enemy all this time.There is a saying: "forgiving someone is never easy, but "sorry" will always lighten up your step". This writing  is written as a forgiveness and acceptance self-therapy, and also to commemorate the death of our father, who dedicated his life to art, until the end of his time.

“ Ave Maria! Jungfrau mild,
Erhöre einer Jungfrau Flehen,
Aus diesem Felsen starr und wild
Soll mein Gebet zu dir hin wehen.
Wir schlafen sicher bis zum Morgen,
Ob Menschen noch so grausam sind.
O Jungfrau, sieh der Jungfrau Sorgen,
O Mutter, hör ein bittend Kind!
Ave Maria! “


-Ave Maria (Schubert), Maria Callas-

Stand still I stare at the brown coffin, a 63 years old man lying down with a smile embellishes his beauty closed eyes. His stiff hands are tied with a beautiful red rosary which matches the turban and the gloves he wears as he is ready to meet our Father in heaven.  What does he think and what does he look at this very moment. He has found peace, in heaven. Now he might be having a little conversation with his father and mother about me. I am the only daughter, unruly, and also confusing at the same time. That’s my Papa, we share the same character, one’s own flesh and blood. Now, he is gone. His favourite song Ave Maria, is echoing throughout this building accompanying his soul.

Frown adorns my forehead, my little fingers grip my maroon veil that I have been worn since yesterday. All I can do is crying and crying. I cannot take my eyes off of him, and then I recall how beautiful my childhood was. He photographed me a lot, we had argument, and we fought. Top of that, he smiled very proudly at me on my graduation day. He liked to take me to watch theater and painting exhibition in Taman Ismail Marzuki. We used to like enjoying music in the car. We have the same taste on music, we both like Enigma, Enya, Kitaro – Matsuri, instrumental/classic music, and also gamelan (original Javanese music). Time to Say Goodbye by Sarah Brightman feat. Andrea Bocelli is the song that we often play. I look that his eyes would shine so brightly when he heard that song, a passionate and wise kind of eyes. It was like being on a boat accompanied by soft waves and gentle breezes, like in a beautiful dream, meanwhile I imagined myself was standing in a fancy castle balcony wearing Victorian-style party dress and watching the people dance. That was how we sank in each other’s dream when that song was played.



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Funeral ceremony in Maria Kaliori Cave, West Java, August 26th, 2018

I stand long enough beside him. There are a thousand unspoken questions, analysis and a self-conclusion which is spinning in my head. How does my life look like without him? Will anything change? How does my mom’s and my brother’s feelings? Why does he leave my like this? Why is there no last words before he leaves? Do I have to arrange my heart in this kind of situation? Do I have to blame him?

People convey their condolence, and lost my Papa’s figure. Many mourners are amazed by his humility, his perseverance in working, and his tenacity in art. He was never tired to create a new notion or idea. He is to most humble person I have ever known in my life. He helped out a Blok M prostitute to an angkringan merchant (street food) in Yogyakarta. He liked to share his money to his fellow artist friends who are in needs.

               When he was alive, I think that my life is pretty unique. He was an unusual father. When people asked me, what my father do for a living? I will say that he is an artist proudly, and most of them would be amazed. My father was an artist, he danced, he invented dance, he read poems, he created poems, he was a screenwriter, he was an observer and an art analyzer, he was an art unifier, he was an art creator, he was an art critic, he was a creator. He had a signature style, Tetet  Sri WD style. Long hair, glasses, and scarf during his youth, and a turban in his old days.

               Papa was born in Yogyakarta on January 15th, 1955, he was studying art from the Java traditional dance, to theater. The urge to express his self was so strong and he decided to sharpen his ability in IKJ (Jakarta Institute of Arts). At that time, there was an opinion that Jakarta is the place to reach your dreams. Jakarta is a benchmark for one's success. People who can get to Jakarta can be assumed to be successful people. There is a unique thing I've heard from a friend of my Papa. Papa once protested against the government by walking naked in Taman Ismail Marzuki. Hahahaha!. I would burst into laughter if I recall that event. His uniqueness is always there, since he was born perhaps.

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Papa and a friend

As a dance expert, Papa was the authority holder of the international traditional dance committee who has the right to recommend which dance is worth appearing on the world stage. The issue of gender equality, the idea of ​​developing aesthetics and performing arts, and the management of performing arts are some of the essence of the artwork and the ideas that he expressed. He is the one who invented the place not only for learning dancing, music, literature, theater, but also a place for expressing new ideas which is in line with the current situations and conditions. He explored the cultural basis and the underlying Javanese philosophy; which distinguishes between Javanese Literature and Western Literature.

When he was an artist, his opinion was not accepted by his friends. It made him work by himself even though he has created a committee arrangement. He seemed like a workaholic. He felt that he is the only one who has the capacity to do these jobs so that the work produced is in accordance with his idealism standards. This is what cannot be followed by other art workers.

            Papa also was a bookworm. Our home is like an art gallery and a library at the same time. He had a book with a Sanskrit language and a book of modern poems. Some books are gifts from the authors themselves such as Sindhunata, Putu Wijaya, Pramoedya Ananta Toer, and Remy Silado. There are some books that is written by Khalil Gibran, old Macapat books (Javanese traditional song or poem), novel, art history, artist and world political figures biography, art journals, art exhibition catalogs, art scrapbook, and many more. From Punakawan painting (a unique type of character in Javanese shadow theatre) to an artistic tulips painting also decorate our house.

            In recent years, I realized that Papa was trying to maintain his existence in the art world. In the middle of globalization, technological sophistication, and creative youth he felt that he was forgotten and out of date. The world that he had worked in becomes different according to his perspective. I understand it, Papa is conservative, with manual work ethic. He might be surprised with how this world works, and realize that he was on the edge of the gap between existence and backwardness. He could be offended easily, eat irregularly, and smoking which he hated when he was alive. Papa is a workaholic. He spent the days in front of a computer to go online on social media. Maintaining and presenting existence that’s what he did, it is the same reason as people in general. Through social media he can greet fellow artists and connoisseurs of art from around the world, upload poems, post his ideas, comment on pictures, and make a joke. That’s the way Papa can feel that he can still actualize. As a child, I feel that is a natural thing. Not infrequently in my daydream, I think with a smile that artists are also "salesmen". He "sells" or "shows" his work so that people can see and understand what he is saying.

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Den Haag, Netherland, 1986

We rarely have quality time. We never have enough of good conversation ... I mean really good conversation … Like father and daughter … We almost never had that .. Most of the times, we have discussed of my future plans, where I’m going work, in which environment I’m going to hang out, what kind of thinking should I choose, piano class or dance class, French or Mandarin ... But it doesn't continue, so our conversation can be said its "raw". In the end, I used to decide everything by myself. We lack of bonding time because we don’t have enough time to improve the quality of the relationship between father and daughter. He was overly focused on himself and his habit which is almost every day came home late in the morning. Dinner time and going to church with the family that he always wanted only became a dream. Spending time with family becomes the hardest thing for him. In fact, sometimes we as a family also don't know where he is. It can be said that if he comes home we are being so grateful, even if he doesn't go home its normal.

One time, I said that I want to continue my study at IKJ (Institut Kesenian Jakarta – Jakarta Institute of Arts), at his alma mater, but he said NO. Maybe because he doesn't want me, his only daughter, to be in a world that full of glamor and tends to go into negative things. Papa wants me to work in an office with high dignity, like being an Embassy Staff or Ambassador. "You have to work in a stable place. Those that will not close even though the monetary crisis or war is even though," he said. After graduated I work in Sudirman, which many people say that it is a work area for elites only. But, it caused I'm the daughter of an artist, and I have his blood, the desire to participate in art activities still haunts in my head so I'll take the dance classes. Having an art activities is makes me relax. It's like an irreplaceable passion. 33 years ago, he gave me the name Rarindra Ratu Hestungkari which means a beautiful, strong and skilled female leader in solving problems. Regarding this I think I'm not only a woman who is skilled at solving problems but also skilled in making problems, LOL!

In September 2017, we are moving to another house ... but Papa choose to live separately with us, he intended to rent his own residence. He wants to focus more on his career. He needs a place to concentrate more. In those days Papa’s health was not good. Diabetes, heart, plus the habit of smoking and drinking coffee which makes us always worried about him. Indeed there are times when he visits us but still it doesn't eliminate our worries. Sometimes when he felt his breath is short, he asked us to take him to the hospital. There were several times he had to lay hospitalized and we took turns taking care of him.

Until midnight, August 21th, 2018, he complained of shortness of breath then we drove him to the hospital. His heart had swelling and his lungs were submerged in liquid, he had to be treated ... The second day at the hospital, Papa can still talk to me. He complained about his right upper thigh which felt more painful. I also try to find out by using internet and I said it was possible that he had a syndrome of piriformis (a condition in the piriformis muscle, located in the buttock region, spasms and causes of buttock pain). I was shocked, how many years did we not talking each other like this? He asks about my work. He asks Mommy’s condition. He also told me that he planned to run away from the hospital to attend a meeting at the Presidential Palace. Suddenly, we laughed together ... That’s so funny, Pa ... Your breath becomes shortness but you still thinking of your job ... ...........

On the sidelines of laughter, I’m like getting a feeling ….. the way he looks at me ….. his eyes look warmer than before ….. as warm as when we both enjoyed the Time to Say Goodbye song in the car when stuck in traffic .... ....................... But at that time, I could no longer fantasize about standing on a palace balcony with a Victorian dress ... In fact, I feel I have to do something ... something ... but my gaze and mind are blank ... don't know what to do ... It feels like a robot running out of power, like a car running out of gas, like a dimming light ... It feels like dusk in the afternoon ….. Gloaming and a little cold ….. Time is slowing down ... Clockwork does not tick anymore ……


The next day his health didn't improve ... His breathing became more crowded and he could not eat ... He must have a catheter installed and taken to the ICU to install a breathing apparatus. This is a tough decision after I discuss with family …… we have to accept whatever the consequences are ……………

Saturday, August 25th, 2018 at 2:05 a.m. we received a bad news, Papa was gone ... Complications due to respiratory failure, lung infections, diabetes, and kidney problems have claimed his lives ..........

Now …. inside the chocolate coffin ... This superpower man has slept in eternity ... in the Mother Mary's place he always pinned in each of his prayers ... like the Pietta Statue in the Cathedral Church where he always visited ... This superpower-man ... is my Father …… A father who has his own life. A father who always feels lonely. A father who is always confident in his abilities. A father who always survive anywhere and anytime. A father who never loses enthusiasm ………

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Me and Papa

"Dear Papa, Goodbye ...

I don't blame you for everything that happened to us, myself and family ... as you have said so as not to blame the situation, it all depends on our efforts, on our ability to survive and try ... Maybe you have not hold on to loneliness ... Maybe you're tired ... Maybe it's time to stop ... Only God understands and now you return to His house, you return to a place where there is no more trouble and pain ... You go back to the place that understands you the most ...

I only can pray. Prayer that will accompany you on the road to heaven. Don't be afraid of the dark, Pa ... I accompany you ... I'll remember our sweet and bitter memories ... I have received the bad and the sincere ...... Dance in heaven with your pride ... Entertain all the angels there ... Read your poem, chant your poem ... They will decorate you with beautiful tulips ... The clouds will glow silvery blue ... The angels will fly flapping their wings around you ... You will be a heavenly entertainer ... True artists are heavenly artists ... “



With Love,

Your only daughter [ Rarindra Ratu ]

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“We can work anything, pick corn,

do everything we can with our body,

or steal, or whatever. But we cannot create prices.

We don't know how suddenly everything has to be turned into money,

and suddenly we have to find ourselves in the middle of the market.

We are lonely. "


- Tetet Srie WD-

In memoriam of Tetet Srie WD, has passed away at 63 years old on August 25th 2018. He is an Indonesian acknowledged strong solo dancer, a director, and a performing art observer. He also used to becoming both a script writer and a choreographer. He created over 60 choreographies both small and colossal for several national and international forum. Sometimes has performed at a number local theatre in several cities of Indonesia, where always co-worked with other Indonesian choreographers. Since 1975 he has written articles, reviews, and art criticism, especially on the performing arts, dances, and Indonesian cultural for several famous Indonesian newspaper and magazines such as Suara Pembaruan, Sinar Harapan, The Indonesia Times, Jakarta-Jakarta, Kompas, The Jakarta Post, Media Indonesia, Bernas, Terbit, Berita Buana, Pelita, and Sarinah. He regularly ran some choreo-camera program in collaboration with National Television of Indonesia.

1962 – 1978

  • Studied Javanese classical dances (Yogyakarta version), under the teacher KRT. Djojosentiko, Yogyakarta – Indonesia.

  • Studied Javanese classical or Kraton, palace, dances, for 8 years at the Krida Beksa Wirama group, directed by GPH. Tedjokusumo, Yogyakarta – Indonesia.

  • Studied at the Yogyakarta Dances Conservatorium, Indonesia

  • Joined the Bagong Kussudiardja Dances Studio, Yogyakarta – Indonesia.

  • Joined the Wisnoe Wardhana Institute of Fine Arts, Yogyakarta – Indonesia.

  • Joined the Teater Alam Group, directed by Azwar AN., Yogyakarta – Indonesia.


1978 – 1985

  • Studied at the Jakarta Institute of Fine Arts, Dance Department, specializing in Choreography, Jakarta – Indonesia.



  • Winner of the Indonesian Choreography Competition.



  • Winner of the Indonesian Mime Competition.

  • Winner of the Indonesian Choreography Competition.



  • Winner of the Indonesian Choreography Competition.

  • Winner of the Indonesian Mime Competition.

  • Founded the Tetet Sri WD Dances Laboratory.

  • Performed in the Mustika Malaysia Forum, Malaysian Festival of the Performing Arts, Kuala Lumpur – Malaysia.



  • Researched and revitalized the Makyong, an Indonesian Folk Theatre.

  • Researched the Betawinese, Old Jakarta, Folk Dance.



  • Performed at the International Mime Festival, Gaukler forum, Koln – Germany.

  • Comparative studied the Theatre Management in Taiwan.

  • Performed at the Philippines International Conferences and Theatre Festival, Manila – Philippines.



  • Performed at the International Contemporary Festival of Arts, Taipei – Taiwan.

  • Arranged Dances Workshop at the Kaoh Siung Dances School, South Taiwan.

  • Participated at the International Mime Workshop, directed by Milan Sladek.

  • Researched on the Acehnese Cultural Folk Dances, Indonesia.



  • Performed at the International Contemporary Dance Festival, , Paris – France.

  • Arranged Dances Workshop at the Rotterdam Dances Academy, Rotterdam – Netherlands.

  • Performed at the Scheveningen Theatre, Scheveningen – Netherlands.

  • Comparative studied Theatre Management in the Netherlands, Germany, and France.

  • Became Chairman of the Penataran P4 Seniman or Pancasila Orientation Program for Artists, Jakarta – Indonesia.

  • Became member of the National Historic Course Performance, Jakarta – Indonesia.

  • Became member of the First Indonesia’s Cultural Meeting by the Jakarta Arts Council, Pulau Bidadari – Indonesia.

  • Joined with Ki Tan Kawuryan for the Javanese literature in the Radio Republic of Indonesia.

  • Writer of Indonesian Traditional Poem Song.

  • Contributor of the International Dances Dictionary.



  • Participated at the International Peter Brook Theatre workshop, directed by Peter Brook, Paris – France.

  • Awarded the High Choreography Awards by the Grand École University, Paris – France.

1987 – 1991

  • Became Program Manager of the Jakarta Capital Theatre, the Gedung Kesenian Jakarta, Indonesia.

  • Coordinating the Karaton Ngayogyakarta Hadiningrat Music and Dance Concert at the Gedung Kesenian Jakarta, Indonesia.

  • Founded the Gala Budaya World Performance.



  • Researched and revitalized the Asmat Cultural Folk Dances and presented their performance at Jakarta – Indonesia, Frankfurt – Germany, Italy and UNESCO Theatre – France.



  • Performed choreography with I Gusti Kompiang Raka with tittle of Cak Tarian Sang Hyang in the Asian Collection 89 in Kumamoto – Japan.

  • Conducting a comparative study on culture and coordinating some performances in Vietnam.

  • Conceptualized the Jakarta International of the Performing Arts, Jakarta – Indonesia.



  • Coordinating the painting exhibition by Bagong Kussudiardjo at the Jakarta Art Center – Taman Ismail Marzuki, Indonesia.

  • Coordinating the performance Coppelia by Ballet du Nord from France at the Jakarta Art Center – Taman Ismail Marzuki, Indonesia.

  • Coordinating the performance of music concert by Stamic Quartet of the Czech Republic at Gedung Kesenian Jakarta and Surabaya – Indonesia.

  • Coordinating the painting exhibition by Studio 45 at the Museum Gedung Joang ’45, Jakarta – Indonesia.

  • Coordinating the painting exhibition by Treda Mairayanti and Benny Poernomo at the Balai Budaya, Jakarta – Indonesia.



  • Became Program Manager of the Gala Budaya Performance group, Indonesia.

  • Performed at the Cairo Opera House, Cairo – Egypt.

  • Performed at the Alexandria Theatre, Alexandria – Egypt.

  • Performed at the Luxor Folk Dance Festival, Luxor – Egypt.



  • Conducting a historical research on Ratu Kalinyamat in Jepara, Central Java – Indonesia.

  • Performed choreography titled Gusti Kanjeng Ratu Kalinyamat at the Jakarta Art Center – Taman Ismail Marzuki, Indonesia.

  • Coordinating opera by Trisutji Julianti Kamal in collaboration with Věra Soukupová, a soprano of the Czech Republic, at the Gedung Kesenian Jakarta and Yogyakarta Sultan Palace, Indonesia.

  • Winner of the Javanese Traditional Poetic Songs Competition.



  • Participating a workshop and performing at the International Folkdance Festival in Hungary, Berlin – Germany, Czech Republic, and Slovakia.

  • Performed choreography titled Bahana Citra Pelajar Indonesia in Bahana Suara Pelajar Indonesia, Jakarta – Indonesia.



  • Performed choreography titled Sound and Light in Memoriam of Maria Callas – A Journey Between A Century and A Myths at Gedung Kesenian Jakarta and in Yogyakarta – Indonesia.

  • Performed choreography on Choreocamera titled Pracana Pandhudewanata and Dongeng Pandhu-Narasoma at Lentera Budaya Forum, a collaboration with National Television of Indonesia.



  • Performed Cinta Negeri Cinta Bahari for the Hang Tuah Foundation, Indonesia.

  • Performed choreography titled Ajisaka in the form Macapat (a kind of six-lines Javanese verse form) in the Jakarta Performing Arts Fair, Indonesia.

  • Participating in the 1st Indonesian Arts Congress, Jakarta – Indonesia.



  • Holding the Greece Culture Exhibition at the Jakarta National Museum, Indonesia.

  • Performed choreography titled Semar Mbabat Jagad at the Jakarta Art Center – Taman Ismail Marzuki, Indonesia.



  • Performed choreography titled Gumiliring Karma at Gedung Kesenian Jakarta, Indonesia.

  • Performed choreography titled Semar Mbabat Jagad for National Television of Indonesia.

  • Performed choreography titled Gendari di antara Bunga Merah dan Jingga for National Television of Indonesia.



  • Performed colossal choreography titled Sketch of Indonesian History – A Century on National Television of Indonesia.



  • Participating in a Seminar on the Indonesian Culture Festival, Jakarta – Indonesia.

  • Performed choreography titled Berburu Jangkrik Berkepala Rembulan in the Makassar Arts Forum, Ujung Pandang – Indonesia.



  • Performed choreography titled Sketsa Kota Jakarta for National Television of Indonesia.

  • Coordinating the Karaton Ngayogyakarta Hadiningrat Music and Dance Concert and the Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono X’s Cultural Speech, at Hilton and the Jakarta Art Center – Taman Ismail Marzuki, Jakarta – Indonesia.



  • Coordinating performance of the Gema Nusantara Forum, Los Angeles – USA.

  • Participating in the World Folkdance Festival, Palma de Mallorca – Spain.

  • Participating in the International Seminar Contemporary of the Performing Art in the Indonesia Art Summit II.



  • Coordinating the painting exhibition for the Jakarta Painter Organization, Indonesia.

  • Founded Persaudaraan Masyarakat Seni Kontemporer Jakarta.



  • Coordinating the performance of choreography in Medan – Indonesia.



  • Coordinating the performance of choreography in several cities of Indonesia.

  • Nominator Indonesian Film Script Writer Competition titled Asmara di Balik Tembok Keraton

  • Coordinating the performance of Solo Sans Frontier, Indonesia.

  • Performed drama titled Renungan Malam Penari Malam for National Television of Indonesia.

  • Performed drama titled Kisah Syailindri for National Television of Indonesia.

  • Performed drama titled Kutang Adipati Karna for National Television of Indonesia.

  • Coordinating the performance of Renungan Akhir Tahun 2004, Indonesia.

  • Founded the Script Writer Indonesian Film Association.



  • Coordinating the performance of Solo Sans Frontier, Indonesia.



  • Coordinating the congress of PARFI (Persatuan Artis Film Indonesia).

  • Coordinating the Seminar of Arts in Lemhanas (National Resilience Institute of Republic of Indonesia).

  • Coordinating the performance of Solo Sans Frontier, Indonesia.

  • Founded the Bersih Desa Indonesia.



  • Writer for the Indonesian Education Script Film for 30 episodes.



  • Writer for the Indonesian Education Script Film for 9 episodes.



  • Coordinating the International Sindhen Festival.



  • Performed opera-colossal Panca Wira Satya, followed by more than 2000 dancers in National Monument, Jakarta – Indonesia.

  • Holding Seminar Wayang and Festival Dalang.

  • Became Director of Gedung Kesenian Wayang Orang Bharata



  • Performed opera-colossal for Anti Narkoba Internasional with 4,870 musicians in National Monument, Jakarta – Indonesia.

  • Performed in Festival International de Dance Populaire in Sidi bel



  • Organizing Music & Dance Concert Karaton Ngayogyakarta Hadiningrat at Jakarta’s Taman Ismail Marzuki Art Center, Jakarta.



  • Establishing the Blue Shawl Art Association.



  • Performing the Selendang Biru Poetry Concert at Indonesian Kaya Gallery and at RRI Semarang, Central Java.



  • Presenting and appearing at the Indonesian-Malaysian Poet Meeting in Bandung, West Java.

  • Organizing a performance of BASIR and ZULEHA plays; women’s story of defending the country, Jakarta Arts Building.

  • Presenting and appearing at the Art Expression fotum; International Poet and Poetry Meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.


  • Performing literature of Macapat and Geguritan in Kebumen, Tegal, Yogyakarta, and Jakarta.

  • Organizing International Seminar on Indonesian-Malaysian Literature in Yogyakarta.



  • Presenting and appearing at the International Poets and Poetry Festival in Romania.

  • Presenting and appearing at the International Poets and Poetry Festival in Mongolia.

  • Presenting and appearing at the Indonesian Literature International Seminar in Banjarmasin-Indonesia.


Srunthul Menak Modern Dance

Patih Logender

The Birth of Jesus Christ

Waktunya Sudah Dekat (It’s Almost The Time)

Roda Pembangunan (The Development Gear)

Firdaus Yang Dipulihkan (The Recovered Heaven)

Busur-Busur Merantama (The Merantama Bows)

Geguritan Majapahit

Putri Petani (A Farmer’s Daughter)

Asmat Manusia Sejati (Asmat : A True Man)

Cak Tarian Sang Hyang

Pracana Pandhudewanata

Kipas-Kipas Nagasaki

Dongeng Pandhu Narasoma (A Tale of Pandhu Narasoma)

Gusti Kanjeng Ratu Kalinyamat

Sound and Light in Memoriam of Maria Callas

Bahana Citra Pelajar Indonesia

Cinta Negeri Cinta Bahari (To Love The Maritime Country)

Dongeng Dora Sembada (A Tale of Dora Sembada)

Semar Mbabat Jagad

Dras Sumunar

Sandiwara Basir dan Zuleha

Romansa Tali Kutang

Himpunan Lakon-Lakon Wayang Orang

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In Kebumen, Indonesia, 2016

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