I La Galigo: about a dream held by Rhoda Grauer and Restu Imansari

June 2004 -

Sitting with Rhoda Grauer and Restu Imansari, you are quickly caught up in their fascination for the story of creation upon which I La Galigo is based. This epos from centuries ago was written down on palm leaves two hundred years ago. Rhoda became enthralled by the beautiful story and accompanying dance and music when she was researching old dance rituals. She and her friend Restu decided to approach theatre maker Robert Wilson. Restu had worked with Wilson before.

Wilson came to Indonesia, in part to see more of the country, its traditional and modern dance, its light and smells, architecture and colours. Restu explains: 'Together we went to conferences and talked with older people to learn more about the high priest cult of the period, about the mystical aspects of the story and about the dance and music.'

The preparations took years. After all of the researching of traditional movements and musical instruments, dancers and musicians had to be found. Restu: 'We organised workshops and auditions on Sulawesi. Most of the dancers and musicians we selected therefore come from Sulawesi and Irian Jaya. For many of them, this was the first experience with their own cultural heritage. One of the dancers discovered, for example, that her own grandmother had performed as a dancer in this story at the Sulawesi court. Even then dance was the narrative medium for this epos.'

The Prince Claus fund will support the performance of I La Galigo in Sulawesi in 2005.