Good Morning Jogja - Theatre, Musical and Literature with Sociolinguistic Themes

By: Nadia Ashila

Good Morning Jogja was first staged on the 20th of April 2019 in Singapore at The Play Den, The Arts House at The Old Parliament. The production then travelled to Solo, Indonesia as a participating act for World Theater Day, SALAHATEDU 2019 at Institut Seni Indonesia on the night of the 23rd of April 2019.

Rising up to the challenge of being a producer, musician, monologue writer as well as an actor in theater, award-winning Singapore musician and composer Art Fazil joined forces with prominent Jogjakarta-based Singaporean television personality, poet, scriptwriter and artistic director Rafaat Haji Hamzah.

According to Rafaat, who won literary awards in poetry from the Malay Literary Council (Singapore) as well as awards in acting and directing, Good Morning Jogja gave him the opportunity to become a cast member, director as well as a scriptwriter for the first time in a full play.

(Art Fazil and Rafaat Haji Hamzah in a scene of Good Morning Jogja at The Arts House, Singapore. Photo by: Muhammad Sufri ©Nusantara World Music.)

The Indonesian actress, author and poet Annisa Hertami, who won best supporting actress and best newcomer awards for her performance in the movie Soegia, collaborated with Art Fazil and Rafaat Haji Hamzah for the first time. She was not only a cast member but a co-writer of the script as she provided her own monologues and dramatic poetry reading.

Annisa's prowess and talent in acting is featured in her role in the movie Nyai – A Woman From Java. The entire film was shot using only a single camera and the performance which lasted 90 minutes was filmed in only one shot and one single take without any cuts. Good Morning Jogja is Annisa's first theater performance in Singapore. 

 

(Annisa Hertami in preparation of the show at The Arts House, Singapore. Photo by: Muhammad Sufri)

Set in a café in Jogjakarta, Good Morning Jogja explores sociological and sociolinguistic themes as the story line delves into the sense of belonging of each individual character.

The characters discussed on the extent a country's socio-political climate could have on influencing one's sense of ethnic identity and one's desire for freedom from nationalistic boundaries.

Discussions about immigration and the comparisons between the Malays from Singapore and the Javanese from Indonesia as well as the demographics of the entire Nusantara geographical region were made.

The character, Art, played by Art Fazil who completed post-graduate studies from the prestigious London’s Guildhall School of Music and Drama, portrays a cultural enthusiast from Singapore, visiting Jogjakarta. The character Chip, played by Rafaat Haji Hamzah portrays an artist who has already left Singapore and has moved to Jogjakarta to work there.

Both male actors provided the point of view that their overall quality of life might be better leaving their home country behind to move to Jogjakarta in their thought provoking debates in the form of monologues.

 

(The cast in a monologue scene at The Arts House, Singapore. Photo by: Chegu Thamrin ©Nusantara World Music.)

"Aku pindah ke Jogja pasal aku suka dengan Jogja, bukan pasal aku benci dengan tanah tumpah darah aku sendiri” 

Translation:

"I moved to Jogja because I like it here in Jogja, not because I hate the land where my own blood has spilt." - Chip in Good Morning Jogja.

Annisa Hertami, who played Ann, a local Javanese café owner provided the contrasting and optimistic point of view about Singapore as the Indonesian persona. Her character looks up to and is impressed by Singapore in her monologues and dramatic poetry reading.

(Annisa Hertami's dramatic poetry reading scene at The Arts House, Singapore. Photo: Chegu Thamrin ©Nusantara World Music.)

On top of acting and monologues, Annisa also showcased her ethnic roots by performing a traditional Javanese Ronggeng dance.

(The Javanese dance scene at The Arts House, Singapore. Photo: Muhammad Sufri ©Nusantara World Music.)

Art Fazil, who won multiple awards in songwriting competitions also provided the musical aspects of the song as he wrote and performed a number of original songs during the performance.

The theme song for the the play which shares the same title as the theater production named Good Morning Jogja was aired on Mediacorp radio station Warna 94.2 FM live during an interview session regarding the play on the 18th of April 2019 and then on live stream on Coffee Talk with Hafeez Glamour & Dee Dee Mahmood on the same day.

(The Good Morning Jogja cast at Mediacorp Radio Warna 94.2FM. Photo: Author)

 

(The Good Morning Jogja segment on Coffee Talk with Hafeez Glamour & Dee Dee Mahmood. Photo: Author)

Another song which Art Fazil wrote and performed specifically for the theater production is a duet with Annisa Hertami titled Cinta Made In Jogjakarta or Love Made in Jogjakarta in English.

As this is a theater production of many firsts, Good Morning Jogja features Art Fazil singing a duet for the first time and the first time Annisa Hertami is featured singing in any of her performances.

 

(The duet scene in Good Morning Jogja, The Arts House, Singapore. Photo: Muhammad Sufri ©Nusantara World Music.)

The theater ended with a video montage which was made by Rafaat Haji Hamzah showing scenes of Art and Chip in Jogjakarta as well as Chip and his friends in Jogjakarta. The video was accompanied by music of the closing song titled Selamat Malam Jogja or Good Night Jogja in English.

The script is written in a manner that no conclusion is given for the monologue debates as it is meant for the audience to decipher and interpret the underlying message of the play for themselves after the show.

(The cast of Good Morning Jogja with the attendees after curtain call at The Arts House, Singapore. Photo: Chegu Thamrin)

(The cast and attendees with the Good Morning Jogja banner displayed at The Arts House, Singapore. Photo: Chegu Thamrin)

(Cast members mingling with fans and autographing merchandise after curtain call at The Arts House, Singapore. Photo: Chegu Thamrin) 

During meal breaks, Kava has generously sponsored food for the cast and crew during the Singapore run of Good Morning Jogja on the 20th of April 2019 as well as the 19th of April 2019 during full dress rehearsals.

Menu 

19 April 2019

Dinner
Classic Aglio Olio

20 April 2019

Lunch
Handcut russet potato + sweet potato fries and Kava Chicken Drumlets

Dinner
Tomato Cheese Ricotta (Pasta con la ricotta)

(Tomato Cheese Ricotta displayed backstage at The Play Den, The Arts House, Singapore. Photo: Muhammad Sufri)

(Backstage photo of the cast during their dinner break at The Play Den, The Arts House, Singapore. Photo: Author)

For the attendees, Kava Singapore provided ethically-sourced grounded coffee beans as an apt door gift item as the slogan of Good Morning Jogja is 'Ada Apa Dengan Kopi' or 'What's up with coffee' in English since the play is set in a café where Ann is the café owner serving Art and Chip coffee as the scenes unfold.

The variety of coffee provided is the Kava Single Origin Sumatra Mandheling from Indonesia (named after Sumatra’s Mandheling people – an ethnic group and not exactly after the region) which is an exclusive treat as all of Kava's Single Origin coffee beans are roasted in small batches.

Mandheling is highly sought after for its low acidity and yet earthy and intense taste with a herbal aroma which often exhibits tones of sweet chocolate and licorice. The flavour of the coffee develops well due to the fact that it is grown in rich volcanic soil. 

(Ground Kava Single Origin Sumatra Mandheling Coffee Beans as a door gift for attendees of Good Morning Jogja in Singapore. Photo: Author)

(Ground Coffee Beans by Kava as a door gift item displayed backstage at The Arts House, Singapore. Photo: Muhammad Sufri).

Overall, Good Morning Jogja can be considered a success as the play received positive response in terms of turnout rate and media coverage in both Singapore and Indonesia. Feedback from attendees has been positive as the audience reacted well to the concept and content of the play.

"Thank you to everyone who came to watch Good Morning Jogja. Due to overwhelming positive feedback, we are planning to re-stage Good Morning Jogja in the very near future. InsyAllah (God Willing)". - Art Fazil, producer on behalf of the cast Chip Par Aat & Annisa Hertami Kusumastuti & the rest of the production team.

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