Jakarta. The Norwegian Embassy in Indonesia is working with Institut Ungu, a cultural foundation focusing on women issues, on a play called “ Subversif ” to address the impact of shifting from a traditional to a modern society.
“Subversif” is an adaptation of the 1882 play “An Enemy of the People” by renowned Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen, which revolves around a doctor who tries to speak out against the town’s health baths that have — in part due to the town’s corrupt officials — become contaminated with pollutants.
“Subversif” will be performed in Indonesian and is scheduled to raise its curtain on Oct. 23 and 24 in Palangkaraya, Central Kalimantan, and on March 12 to 15 next year in Jakarta.
“What we’re trying to do with culture is to relate it to other issues. Only, promoting Henrik Ibsen to the [Indonesian] people will be very hard, but it’s relevant with the other work we’re doing,” said Norwegian Ambassador Stig Traavik.
“The interesting thing about Ibsen is that he writes about the tension brewing in a town which is moving away from its traditions toward a modern society, something which is happening in Indonesia right now.
“You can see the tension rising with modernization. The country still has a traditional way of thinking, while some [of its people] are adapting to more modern ways.
“This is very relevant in Palangkaraya, where some [groups] are destroying the environment for their own benefit, but they make it look like they are doing it for the [community]. But some people are trying to speak up about this; that’s what happens in the play.”
“Subversif” producer Faiza Mardzoeki deliberately asked for local actors to participate, to provide a deeper connection with the people of Central Kalimantan.
“We are all very enthusiastic. I’m hopeful. I think Indonesia’s artistic community is becoming more dynamic,” she said.
The play will also feature actress Dinda Kanya Dewi, singer Sita Nursanti, musician Kartika Jahja and actor Teuku Rifnu Wikana.