Epic of Ramayana Main Character – UNESCO Intangible cultural heritage ” Wayang Wong from Tejakula “

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Choreographies of Wayang Wong from Tejakula all tell the stories taken from the epic of Ramayana. Created stories are about: Kidnapping Sita, Vali and Sugriva, Massenger Hanoman, Massenger Anggada, The death of Prahasta, The death of Kumbhakarna, The death of Megananda, The death of Rahwana, The Expelled Anggada, Pratapa Naksi.

Masks used in Wayang Wong are all made from wood and decorated with leaves and hibiscus flowers.

The main characters:

RamaRama is the main protagonist of the epic Ramayana, and believed to be the seventh avatar of the Hindu God Vishnu. Besides Krishna, Rama is considered to be one of the most important avatars of Vishnu.

Being the oldest son of Kausalya and Dasharatha- the king of Ayodhya, he was the righteous successor of the king. The other wife of King Dashartha conspired and Rama had to go to exile. Respecting his father’s honor, Rama started of his journey to fill the duty of being in exile for 14 years. Even though Rama had to pass many temptations, he stayed true to his virtue. He represents the perfect human, ideals without compromise. Rama married Sita, who joined him in exile.

LakhsmanaLaksmana was Rama’s younger brother, with amazing skill of archery being able to loose five hundred arrows in one shot. When Rama married Sita, Laksmana married her sister Urmila. But, when Rama went to exile from Kingdom, Laksmana decided he would join him. He considered Rama would need help in the wilds of the forests. He left his wife Urmila in the kingdom, while he was accompanying his brother to exile. Laksmana is defined as a character of unconditional loyalty, love and commitment to his brother Rama.

Laksmana and Rama went to many quests together. The crucial moment for a twist in Ramayana story is when Rahwana abducts Sita, by deceiving Laksmana, to whom Rama entrusted Sita’s safety.

During the big battle with Rahwana’s army Laksmana killed Megananda (Indrajit) and Atikaya – two sons of Rahwana.

Sugriwa and Subali are twin monkey brothers. By the legend, they were twins born by the same mother, but from a different father. Subali evicted Sugriwa from Kiskenda Kingdom to Pencawati forest. When Hanoman met Rama and Laksmana he asked them to help his master Sugriwa return to his throne and kingdom. Rama was willing to do that, and in return Sugriwa and his army of Vanara would help him in freeing Sita from Rahwana. Since Rama succeeded in helping Sugriwa, Hanoman was so grateful that he served Rama uncompromisingly. Sugriwa and Subali look completely the same, so during the battle against Subali Rama had to put a certain sign on Sugriwa, so he could be able to distinguish the two brothers.

HanomanHanoman is devotee of Rama and played very important role in saving Sita from Rahwana. In the epic of Ramayana Hanoman is shape shifter, he has magical, clairvoyant powers and he can fly, as he is the son of Bayu- the God of the Wind. One of the theories of his name is that it’s derived from Sanskrit and that it means: “The one whose pride is destroyed”. This selfless character draws his strength from serving Rama, and this is what makes him so brave. On the way to rescue Sita, nobody could cross the vast sea in front of them. Hanoman gathered his powers, enlarged his body so much that he could go over the sea. He used many other tricks to come to Sita in her captivity and encourage her saying that her husband Rama is on the way to save her. In this occasion Rahwana’s army captured Hanoman and tried to burn his tail, but he escaped using his magical powers.

TualenTualen (or Malen) is advisor of Rama. His appearance is somewhat grotesque, with a big dusty dark cape, bamboo hoop skirt giving him appearance of a heavy man. In most of the villages the mask of Tualen has special magical attributes. In the puppet tradition of Bali, Tualen is one of the clown figures, and one of the most popular and favorite ones. Even though his appearance is unpresentable, of an old and ugly man, with black mask, his behavior is noble and good, polite. Tualen is always there for Rama to give him wise advices.

Meredah is one of the clown figures in the tradition of Bali. Depending on the region, Meredah is considered to be son or brother of Tualen (Malen).

Meredah and Tualen always appear together on the stage, they are full of jokes, bringing the comic relief, but in the same time explaining what has happened having the role of storytellers, or giving advices to their Lord Rama.

These two characters are similar to the fools in the Elizabethan theatre, and western culture in general. Their role was to say the truth that nobody else had courage to say, and since they’re fools they can say anything and would be forgiven for that.

anggadaAnggada was a member of the Vanara troops who helped Rama in war against Rahwana. As a nephew of Sugriwa, he was the one to reconcile Rama with Sugriwa, after Sugriwa failed to free Sita. Anggada was one of the messengers that Rama has sent to Rahwana. He tried to explain to Rahwana that it would be beneficiary for both sides to release Sita and avoid war. But, Rahwana was very persistent and stubborn and didn’t accept any term. He was firm in his conviction, and was not interested in anything else but getting ready for the war.

Jembawan was also part of the Vanara army who was helping the Rama to bring back the Sita from Rahwana’s hands. He was the one to remind Hanoman that he can cross the sea when nobody else could do that. Jembawan was an old monkey who had ability to hypnotize people, and to put them to sleep. This talent of his, he used in seducing Trijata the first time when they met. This was still during the war. The next time Jembawan went to meet Trijata she was already promised to Hanoman. He passed the guards by putting them to sleep, and met with Trijata. Only Anggada witnessed this and that’s why Anggada and Jembawan fought each other. After many misunderstandings and consequences the truth was found out and Jembawan was punished. He had to go to exile, together with Trijata.

Rahwana is the demonic King that ruled in Alengka. Laksmana offended Surpanaka, his sister, a female demon. She wanted revenge and told all about it to Rahwana. Laksmana cut Surpanaka’s nose, and Rahwana got mad about this event. He wanted to revenge. Surpanaka told Rahwana about Sita- Rama’s wife, and that’s when Rama decided to abduct Sita and take her as his prisoner in the land of Alengka. He wanted that Rama feels hurt, like he felt by offending his sister. By deceiving Rama and Laksmana, Rahwana succeeded in kidnaping Sita. This is how the big war started. Rama and Laksmana decided to take on the quest to free Sita from the hands of demonic King. At the end he had to pay with his head, since nobody can escape or win over the great warrior- Lord Rama.

Megananda (or also known as Indrajit) was the oldest son of Rahwana, a giant with great powers. Rahwana was sure that he would win the battle over the Rama, believing in the great strenght of his son. But, Rahwana underestimated Rama and his powers. During the battles of the war Laksmana and his arrows killed Megananda.

Wibisana is the younger brother of Rahwana. As Wibisana had completely different nature from his brother, he didn’t approve the actions of Rahwana. Wibisana tried to persuade Rahwana to return Sita to her husband Rama, and stop the war, but Rahwana denied listening to him. When he saw the stubbornness of his brother, Wibisana joined the Rama’s army, and help them win over the good cause. After the victory, Rama proclaimed Wibisana as the ruler and King of Alengka. His brother Kumbhakarna also didn’t agree with Rahwana’s actions, but still fought on his side.

Kumbhakarna is other brother of Rahwana, a giant of great strength. He loves to sleep, and that’s why Rahwana always has to come up with ideas how to make him awake.  After loosing the battle, Rahwana decided he needs the help of his brother Kumbhakarna. In order to awake there had to be thousand elephants walking over him. Kumbhakarna didn’t agree with Rahwana’s reasons for fighting the war, and he had tried to convince him to step back. Rahwana insisted and convinced he can win, succumbed to anybody’s persuasion. Kumbhakarna decided he will fight for his brother anyhow. Rama killed this great giant in the battle. When Rahwana heard of the death of Kumbhakarna, he realized that he is doomed, and he’ll loose the war against Rama.

Trijata was assigned to take care of Sita, while she was in captivity of Rahwana. She was the daughter of Wibisana, and same as him, she didn’t agree with Rahwana’s actions. After meeting Sita, she was supporting her, and encouraged her in every critical situation. She also stopped Sita from killing herself. When the war was over, she received the great gratitude from Rama, who wanted to marry her with Hanoman. In the end this didn’t happen because Trijata and Jembawan fell in love secretly, and after this was found out, two of them were expelled from the Kingdom of Alengka.

Delem is servant of Rahwana. The mask of this character is with bulged eyes that show his demonic nature.  His goiter is emphasized with the costume, as his big belly. He speaks always big and like he knows everything, acts arrogantly, cocky, and pompous. He also serves as translator, but masters the deception. He appears together with Sangut on the stage, they are humorous, like other clowns, but their advices are questionable. When he is around king or other royalties he acts submissive, while around younger people shows his true arrogant nature.

Sangut is younger brother of Delem, and like his brother he serves to Rahwana. As quite opposite to Delem, Sangut is pure heart, and loves his brother greatly. He is a very wise figure in the story. The only thing is that he would prefer to be on the side of the good. Sangut always acts together with Delem, with amusing dialogues and gestures according to their clown nature.

Written by Jelena Vuksanovic

Author: Akar Media

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