Musyawarah Burung El Nama

After watching Anekdot Idiot, we enjoyed es beras kencur at a food stall inside TIM compound, ordered tahu pong gimbal, also tempe mendoan. But the tempe were not mendoan (half-fried tempe) at all, they were too crispy. Mendoan Sroto Eling-eling at Lapangan Roos Raya, Tebet, is still probably the best tempe mendoan in Jakarta.

At about 7.15 p.m., Albert, Ramdan, Dewi and I went to Teater Studio TIM to watch Musyawarah Burung, played by Teater El Na'ma. The ticket that we bought to see Anekdot Idiot, Rp.10,000 each, could be used again to see the play. Without a strong sponsor, it's just not possible to survive with such a small ticket fare. Thanks to Djarum Super as the main and the only sponsor.

As usual I took a position at the last row near the judges of the festival, took out my camera from the bag, installed it at a tripod, and I was ready for action. It's quite unfortunate that I left my f/2.8 telelense at home.

Musyawah Burung, The Parliament of Birds, tells a story of all kind of birds in the universe, known and unknown, that gather to have a consultative discussion. There are Burung Bul-Bul (played by Ulil eL Na'ma), Burung Humay (Safrianto), Burung Hantu (Hayyu Citra), Burung Kuau (Julung Zulfi), Buruk Merak (D.F. Niesa), Burung Ayam Hutan (Vinnie S).

The birds are not happy since they do not have a strong, wise, clever and all kind of good traits of a bird as their king.


In their confusion and frustration, the wise bird of Hud-hud (played by Lalu Kartawijaya) joins the group and shares information on the existence of a great and noble king of all birds.


The king of bird, by the name of Simurgh, lives far away behind Kaaf mountains. The bird is a creature taken from Persian mythology, whose name has been translated as "30 birds". They have to pass seven valleys to reach the place. The birds feel that they need to select a leader for the long and dangerous journey. Hud-hud is selected after succeeding in lifting up Salomon crown.


The first valley is the valley of search.


The second valley is the valley of love, and some birds are seduced with the promise of love and can not continue the journey.


The third valley is the valley of awareness.


The fourth valley is the valley of freedom


The fifth valley is the valley of genuine oneness


The sixth valley is the valley of amazement


The last valley is the valley of dispossessment and nothingness, and only thirty birds survive to meet Simurgh (si-murgh = thirty).
They are so amazed when they meet Simurgh. They just realize that they are actually the Simurgh and the Simurgh is in each and all of them, and finally they merge happily into it.

"And silently their shining Lord replies:
'I am a mirror set before your eyes,
And all who come before my splendor see
Themselves, their own unique reality...

...The Simurgh, Truth's last flawless jewel, the light
In which you will be lost to mortal sight,
Dispersed to nothingness until once more
You find in Me the selves you were before.'"
Mantiq al-Tayr, taken from Khafif.


The above photo was a beautiful whirling dervish dance by Zawiyah Rabbani Whirling Dervishes of Indonesia, performed by Lanang Kelana, Mikky and Vani'ang, who got a big applause from the audience.

The play is based on Fariduddin Attar works, Mantiq al-Tayr, a famous Sufi poet who was born in Nisyapur, Persia, in 1136. However, I could not get the soul atmosphere, except in the marvelous dervish dance, and sometimes I had a feeling that it's plain, shallow in the self interpretation and a little too slow.

The lighting by Deny Sunandar, however, was good and the stage arrangements was just okay. The music, arranged by Cephe SWG, was not bad but I think he should be able to make it better. I appreciate very much, however, their hard works to materialize such a long exhaustive performance which I believe were full of challenges and struggles during the preparations.

The play was directed by Echo Chotib, one of eL Na'ma founders. The other founder is Lailatin Na'ma. The group was established on June 20, 2000, when they were both still active students of IAIN Syarif Hidayatullah Jakarta. It's an 8.7 out of 10.
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