It is highly probable that in theatrical performances aspects of visual arts merely have a subordinate position, which means that they only contribute in the decorations or the artificial setting of the stage, with the director having the first and last say.
In such situation, it is understandable that almost all theatrical performances have been presented with rather monotonous atmosphere, while actually the development of technology can provide opportunities in terms of artistic explorations, contributing to the enriched creativity in the construction of illusory and suggestive spaces in theatrical performances. Based on this idea, video artist Krisnamurti, visual artist Dianto, and Ugoran Prasad from Teater Garasi met in a discussion held in Jakarta Theatre Festival at the lobby of the Teater Kecil in the Taman Ismail Marzuki Arts Complex on Wednesday, December 24, 2008. The theme of “Visual Arts in the Theatre” was chosen as the event was part of the series of events leading to Jakarta Biennale 2009.
Krisnamurti, a video artist, explained how important it was today to introduce elements of visual art in theatre productions, amid the declining interest on the part of the public to go to watch theatrical performances. “The visual arts aspects enabled theatrical performances to be more modern and dynamic,” he said to open the discussion. Krisna, however, regretted how elements of visual arts had been used in theatres today merely as appendices instead of forming a unified scenographical whole. Admittedly, elements of visual arts have so far been used in theatres merely as appendices. Ugoran Prasad from Teater Garasi explained that although artistic director had been hierarchically restricted under the dominant role of the director, the role of the artistic director would grow to be increasingly significant in each theatrical performance.
“In relation to the scenographical development, visual arts have a determining position as well as the capacity to intervene the directorial approach. In this case, the artistic director will no longer be hierarchically bounded by merely realizing the vision of the director, but also have the chance and authority to make interpretations and offer ideas,” Ugoran explained. Therefore, he went on, theatre performances might appear more vibrant, with more dynamic effects. Were this to happen, then the world of theatre would again enjoy another golden era as it had in the seventies.
In conjunction with the Jakarta Biennale 2009, the following theatrical performances will take place:
· A performance by Teater Studio Indonesia on February 7, 2009, at 6 pm at the Plaza of the Taman Ismail Marzuki Arts Complex
· A performance by Teater Sahid, on February 8, 2009, at 4 pm, at the Senayan City
· A performance by Teater X Kilometer on February 9, 2009, at 4 pm, at the Senen Train Station.