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Democracy, Culture, CatholicismVoices from Four Continents$
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Michael J. Schuck and John Crowley-Buck

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780823267309

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823267309.001.0001

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The Performing Art of Kethoprak and the Democratic “Power to Will” in Indonesia

The Performing Art of Kethoprak and the Democratic “Power to Will” in Indonesia

(p.123) The Performing Art of Kethoprak and the Democratic “Power to Will” in Indonesia
Democracy, Culture, Catholicism

Albertus Budi Susanto

Fordham University Press

Kethoprak—a popular form of the performing arts in Indonesia—is both subversive and satirical. It looks to the social, political, and religious elites and holds up, before them, a funhouse mirror of post-modern distortion that, not without irony, often exposes their shortcomings and failures to the wider public. More than this, however, kethoprak is about an interior orientation, about a way of subjectively perceiving and processing the external world. It is about the methodological practice of attuning oneself, and one’s audience, to seeing things differently. In this way, kethoprak becomes a popular form of participatory democracy. It also shares many characteristic elements with Ignatian Spirituality via Roland Barthes interpretation of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola. Susanto identifies in both kethoprak and Ignatian Spirituality a process whereby one learns to see more clearly and to attend to one’s surroundings more critically. As a result, both kethoprak and Ignatian Spirituality tap into the internal movements, and the external experiences, of not only the performers and audiences at a show, but of all Indonesians whose lives take place outside the elite circles of power.

Keywords:   Roland Barthes, culture, Ignatian Spirituality, Ignatius of Loyola, kethoprak, participatory democracy, performing arts, post-modernism, satire

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