The field research for this book was supported by fellowships from
the Social Science Research Council and the American Council of
Learned Societies (s s
s) and Fulbright Hays. I spent five months in
Leiden at the beginning of the research period reading Dutch sources, at-
tending Dr. Stuart Robson's advanced Javanese classes at the State Univer-
sity, and playing in the gamelan group connected to the Tropenmuseum in
Amsterdam. I left for Indonesia in May of 1982 and was settled in the city
of Solo in Central Java by June of that year.
In early 1983, with the encouragement of Dr. Terry Bigalke, a program
officer with the Ford Foundation in Jakarta, I served as the coordinator for
the Lakon Carangan Documentation Project sponsored by the Ford Foun-
dation and the Academy of Performing Arts in Solo [Sekolah Tinggi Seni
Indonesia (STSI)]. The intent of the project was the documentation of
branch stories
(lakon carangan)
of the Solonese shadow theatre
repertoire. Branch stories are those considered to be among the
most fleeting in the repertoire, although our research overturned this
definition. I was active in the design and research stage of this project.
Worried that our efforts might standardize as well as document the tradi-
tion, I made sure that the emphasis of the research would be the collection
of numerous tellings of particular stories. During the period in which I
worked on the Branch Story Documentation Project, about fifty interviews
were carried out, eight performances were sponsored, and a conference
was organized and held. Of the eight performances, five were different
tellings of the same story and three were tellings of another story. When I
had to leave Java in the summer of 1984, the data was turned over to Alan
Feinstein who had agreed to oversee the editing of these materials. In
turn, Dr. Mary Zurbuchen had taken over the Ford Foundation supervi-
sion of the project, and she has remained a supportive friend and critical
colleague. After two years of painstaking work, the results of this project
were published under the direction of Alan Feinstein by the Academy in
See Alan Feinstein et ai., eds., Lakon Carangan, vols. 1-3 (Surakarta: Akademi Seni
Karawitan Indonesia, 1986).
Previous Page Next Page