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Featured Artist & Alumna: Annie Reynolds


11781731_10206971417903299_5276974775599452086_nAnnie Reynolds has studied traditional performing arts at the Indonesian Arts Institute in Denpasar, Bali in 2004–05, and has since taken regular trips to Bali to undertake intensive study of Balinese music and dance. While in Bali, her primary focus was studying gender wayang and the music of the traditional shadow theatre; she was an active musician performing accompaniment for various dalang (puppeteers), as part of many local ceremonial performances, and in new collaborative projects with Balinese artists In 2009, she assisted in reestablishing the UHM Balinese Gamelan Ensemble, and she is its Assistant Director. As an Asian Theatre PhD student with a focus on Balinese performing arts, she spent 2013-14 in Bali conducting dissertation research and fieldwork on Balinese legong dance.

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In our current Indonesia Focus Year the UHM Asian Theatre Program will present a WayangListrik shadow-puppetry productionThe initial period of instruction started in January, 2015 with Balinese guest artist Madé Widana and doctoral student Annie Reynolds in residence at UHM overseeing classes and workshops. They introduced students to Balinese dance, puppetry, and gamelan music.

For the show, students will be trained as dancers, actors, shadow casters, puppeteers, singers, musicians, and designers.  For the second phase of training (Fall 2015), two additional artists from Bali will join the production team to collaborate during the rehearsal period. Mr. Ketut Wirtawan, a master dancer and puppeteer, and Mr. Madé Moja, a well-known designer and painter, will be responsible for creating the puppets, masks, and overall stage design.

The year-long training and rehearsal period will culminate in a Balinese Wayang Listrik show presented in January 22-31, 2016, at the UHM Kennedy Theatre. Outreach performances in the local community will follow the theatrical run.

What is Wayang Listrik?

Wayang Listrik is a modern Balinese theatre genre based on traditional shadow puppetry (wayang kulit) with accompanying dance and music, all transferred to a large 30 x 15 foot screen. The show comes alive with traditional carved leather puppets, shadow-actors, dancers, and gamelan music. The story we selected is entitled Subali-Sugriwa – Battle of the Money Kings, and is based on episodes from the Indian Ramayana, which has long been an important source of story material for Balinese theatre.

A new script has been composed by guest artist Ketut Wirtawan, who draws upon many years of experience as a traditional wayang kulit puppeteer and dancer.

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