Tikungan Iblis

Tikungan Iblis (Devil Twist) was performed elegantly and inspiringly by Teater Dinasti in a fully packed theater hall of Graha Bhakti Budaya, Taman Ismail Marzuki, Jakarta, on the evening of December 30, 2008. A couple of minutes earlier, Rangga and I visited a bookstore at the corner of the GBB building and for the first time in my life I bought Horison, a once respected literary magazine. I might not be the only one.

At 8 p.m. sharp the familiar sound of Gong was heard, and Novia Kolopaking suddenly appeared from the entrance door, exactly on my right side and I was a bit late to realize it, accompanied by a boy on her left and a girl on her right. She started singing the theme song of Tikungan Iblis, while walking slowly towards the right side of the stage where she was involved in a brief chat with the kids.

Sepinya hati Garuda (The loneliness of Garuda's heart)
Dijunjung tanpa jiwa (raised without spirit)
Menjadi hiasan maya (becoming artificial decoration)
Oleh hati yang hampa (of the empty heart)

Dendam rindu tiada tara (the immense sense of yearning)
sangat mendalam perih luka (so deep the sorest wound)
Disayang tanpa cinta (cared with no love)
Dipuja dan dihina (praised and yet humiliated)


Garuda is the state symbol and the pride of the Indonesian people. The song reflects people's feeling of what is currently happening with the ailing country. Garuda was once a very strong and powerful creature, well respected by foes and allies alike, cruised the sky to far away lands, but then the Garuda was caged and oppressed for a very long time and finally transformed to a small emprit bird (Lonchura punctulata).


There lay the body of Khabal who was murdered cowardly by Khabil with the help of a big stone. They are both sons of Adam, the father of all human beings. That was the first killing in the history of mankind which continues until today. As time goes, killing are performed in much more complicated and brutal ways.


The three angels, Maula Hasarapala (played by Fajar Suharno), Maula Hajarala (Bambang Sosiawan) and Maula Jabarala (Tertib Suratmo) feel very sorry for what has happened to Khabal. They questioned God's decision why created human beings who will only do destructive acts on earth, kill each other, and commit other evil deeds. But Smarabhumi, the Devil (played extremely well by Joko Kamto), criticizes the angels.




Prawiro (played impressively by Novi Budianto) was furious on knowing that the Garuda has become a mere small emprit bird. Garuda has lost its genetic legacy.


The story of the once strong respected Garuda is being revealed.


Smarabhumi, the devil, challenges and rejects people's pathetic behavior as they always put blames on him for every wrong doings that they are committed. All the destructions and rottenness on earth are of not the devil's works but because of the stupidity of human beings for not being able to control their desires.


Prawiro is getting advise when selecting keris to get the most powerful one to eliminate Smarabhumi. There were refreshing dialogues that satirize, among others, DPR - the tainted legislative body.


Prawiro says that man is similar to the blade of a keris and its warangka (sheath). The soul of a keris lies in the pamor (pattern) on its blade, while sheath is only casing that is less of importance.
Many people, unfortunately, forget the pamor and only concern with the beautiful casing, and therefore they lose their souls, their very reason of being and becoming, and hence become weak.
Human has transformed to become just tapel, a terminology which means superficial or bodily form.


Smarabhumi involves in contemplative debates with the three angels about human roles as khalifatullah - ruler of earth, on behalf of Allah. Smarabhumi who does not believe from the beginning that human can be the khalifah has proven that he is right. Human's life only rotate among three key words, i.e. greediness, destructiveness and killings.





Novia Kolopaking in a colorful bright costume played as Siti Majenuna, literary means a crazy woman, who was sent by Smarabhumi but she voices out philosophical values of life instead.






The tapels can be controlled easily by Smarabhumi as they already lost their conscience and soul.





Declaration of the common people. It throws critics to politicians and educated people who think that they know everything.


Prawiro finally realized that he has been surrounded by Smarabhumi accomplices in all these days, and he was defeated easily by Smarabhumi as the most powerful keris that he has carefully chosen meant nothing to the Devil.


Smarabhumi involved in a deep contemplative monologue. This was definitely the best and the most inspiring part of the performance.

The Devil was so frustrated as there's no more real challenge left for him. Human beings do not need him anymore, as they are on their way to self-destructions already. There's no more great man left in the world after Muhammad, peace be upon him, whom he could genuinely pay respect.

In a heartwarmingly scene, Smarabhumi hums the shalawat Nabi:
Ya nabi salaaam 'alaika (Salutations on you, O Prophet)
Ya rasool salaam 'alaika (Salutations on you, O Messenger Of Allah)
Ya habib salaaam 'alaika (Salutations on you, O Beloved)
Sholawaatullah 'alaikaa (Blessings of Allah be upon you)


In a deep emotional state Smarabhumi threw away all of his once favorite attributes and wailing, crying, begging for a retirement.


Smarabhumi finally sujud, his forehead touches the floor as a sign of surrender to Allah, an act that later was followed by the tapels.

The script was brilliantly made by Emha Ainun Nadjib, a religious but earthly person who is probably already on his way up to Sufi’s path. The directors are Jujuk Prabowo and Fajar Suharno.

Teater Dinasti was established in 1977 by Fajar Suharno, Tertib Suratmo and Gajah Abiyoso in Yogyakarta with members of mixed back grounds, from intellectuals to parking attendants, from businessmen to thieves, and more.

Tikungan Iblis is definitely an inspirational work that may last long in the mind of those who watched it. I do hope that more people around the country, and even abroad, can get the opportunity to see this performance. I even wouldn't mind to see it for the second time. A four and a half stars out of five.
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