Faiza Mardzoeki

Ibsen’s A Doll’s House (Rumah Boneka) comes to Aceh

Norwegian dramatist Henrik Ibsen’s classical drama about women’s position in society was performed in front of an expectant (and sold out) audience in Banda Aceh 30th and 31st of August.

The play, written by Ibsen in 1879, has been translated into Bahasa Indonesia, and adapted to the Indonesian context by Faiza Mardzoeki of Institut Ungu. Mardzoeki and Institut Ungu are among the Norwegian Embassy in Jakarta’s long time partners in the field of culture and women’s rights. The play still generates debate and reflection upon women’s rights and roles in society all around the world. So too in Aceh.

To fully harness the opportunity cultural events such as the staging of Rumah Boneka give us to better understand the dilemmas of society, Institut Ungu and Komunitas Tikar Pandan organized a seminar on women’s rights prior to the premiere in Banda Aceh. Entitled ‘Women in Aceh: From Personal to Political’. The seminar sparked a lively discussion and featured female keynote speakers from the Acehnese parliament, the religious council Ulema and civil society activists and. The Norwegian Ambassador to Indonesia gave a speech, in which he emphasized the importance of gender equality for the society as a whole. “I believe a the question of women and politics is a key issue for the development of Aceh, as well as a key issue for the image of Aceh, in Indonesia and in the world”, said Ambassador Traavik.

Judging by the enthusiasm with which Rumah Boneka was met in Banda Aceh, Ibsen’s drama seems to have sparked not only enthusiasm about Norwegian theater, but also contributed towards an important discussion about women’s rights.