A co-commission by Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay and Asia TOPA: Asia-Pacific Triennial of Performing Arts
Produced by Performing Lines in collaboration with Fourcolours Films, Komunitas Bumi Bajra, Fraught Outfit and Komunitas Salihara
One day, 10-year-old Tantri comes to realise she will not have much more time with her bedridden twin brother Tantra, who is losing his senses one by one. Grappling with this reality, Tantri finds solace in the deepness and the darkness of night. Under a full moon, she dances, finding herself between reality and imagination, loss and hope. Tantri experiences a magical and emotional journey into womanhood that eclipses Tantra’s fading life.
The Seen and Unseen (Sekala Niskala) is a new performance work, a cross-cultural collaboration between artists from Indonesia, Japan and Australia. Inspired by Indonesian filmmaker Kamila Andini’s film The Seen and Unseen, which has been described as “a truly singular film” (Cinema Scope) and “a haunting and hypnotic interpretation…rooted in Balinese arts and culture” (Variety).
This live theatrical production is a visual feast incorporating dance, live music and song, and features an electronic score, creating a blend of traditional Balinese dance movement with a contemporary approach to theatre. Driving this production is the Balinese philosophy of Sekala Niskala (“the seen and unseen”), a fundamentally dualist spiritual structure that describes what we cannot see as having equal value to what is seen in the world.
Indonesian filmmaker Kamila Andini’s multi award-winning film The Seen and Unseen provided the starting point for this new performance work. Andini’s film is a poetic examination of childhood grief. Inspired by the Balinese myth of the Buncing Twins, it traces the story of 10-year-old twins Tantri and Tantra. When Tantri’s brother falls ill, she enters an underworld of visions, a ritual purgation, and attempted farewell expressed through dance, music and shadow play. The film was created in Bali with Bumi Bajra, a community of children who practice a traditional form of Balinese dance, movement and meditation.