‘Mega Mega’, the musical: A triumphant revisiting of a classic – Art & Culture

I’ve always been fascinated by theater and by extension, musicals.

Whether it’s dramatic plays that rely on clever dialogue like Agatha Christie’s long-running The Mousetrap, or energetic musicals that leverage witty lyrics like Hamilton, there’s something magical about watching a story unfold through a live performance.

The cast in Teater Keliling’s fresh rendition of Arifin C. Noer’s Mega Mega, in my humblest of opinions, perfectly captures the essence of that magic in a package that is at once hilarious, moving and deeply rooted in Indonesian culture.

Teater Keliling dates back to 1974, making it one of the country’s oldest theater communities. Since its inception, the troupe has toured far and wide and earned critical acclaim for its performances in Australia, Egypt, South Korea and Germany, to name a few.

The special showings of Mega Mega on Feb. 24 and 25 were especially poignant, marking the theater company’s 50th anniversary with a contemporary revival of its inaugural production. Originally a surrealist drama, Teater Keliling reimagined the play as a musical, cleverly transforming the script into songs.

“As we approach half a century of theater, we asked ourselves, what do we want to make? And we thought, ‘What if we did the first-ever script that Teater Keliling used?’” cofounder Rudolf Puspa told me before the press show on Friday, Feb. 23.

Dery Syrna, Rudolf’s wife and the troupe’ cofounder, added that Mega Mega was a perfect fit because of its timelessness.

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