Shadowbang

2001, 80-minute puppet opera for Balinese dalang and chamber ensemble

1) Head 1
2) Head 2/Scene 1
3) Angkat
4) Ocean
5) Meditasi/Pesta Raksasa
6) Frogs (I Wayan Wija)
7) Forest/Tari Subali/Quiet Battle/Loud Battle/Priest's Curse
8) Tabuh Gari
 
All compositions except "Frogs" by Evan Ziporyn, ©2001 Airplane Ears Music (ASCAP)

Shadow Bang is a theater piece combining aspects of Balinese traditional shadow puppetry with western stage design and music.  Like all Balinese wayang, it is based the Hindu epics, in this case a very tangential episode from the Ramayana.  In keeping with tradition, Pak Wija embellishes and digresses, creating stories within stories and focusing on Balinese folk characters who have been inserted into the original Indian story over the years.  While the gods and heroes of Hindu mythology sing and speak in stylized Kawi language, the Balinese characters - Twalen, Merdah, Sangut and Delam - speak in everyday language (in this case, English) and serve as a bridge between the cosmic and the mundane.  This is a live recording, trimmed of sections that require dialogue or visuals to be enjoyed.  A brief synopsis:
SCENE 1 - the brothers Sangut and Delam philosophize and insult one another while waiting for their master, the demon Dundhubhi.
ANGKAT - Dunhdubhi's army goes forth, seeking suitable enemies to conquer.
OCEAN – Arriving at water’s edge, the brothers stand in awe, waiting for Dundhubhi to challenge the Ocean itself to battle.  Ocean declines the challenge: its liquid form and ebb-and-flow make it too passive.  It suggests Mountain as a more worthy opponent, and the demon departs.
MEDITASI/PESTA RAKSASA - A hermit wanders atop the mountain, preparing to meditate.  He is interrupted by Dunhdubhi’s army, who throw a party.  Mountain also refuses battle, claiming immobility, and sends Dundhubhi to fight Subali, the Monkey King.
FROGS – Sounds of the forest, a solo chorus by Pak Wija.
FOREST - Twalen and his son Merdah , servants to the Monkey King, cavort with various animals while waiting for Subali’s arrival.
TARI SUBALI - Subali dances, and Dundhubhi challenges him to battle..
QUIET BATTLE/LOUD BATTLE/PRIEST'S CURSE – The demon and monkey do battle in various incarnations; Subali finally vanquishes Dundhubhi, casting his body atop the sacred mountain.  Priest Matanga, caretaker of the mountain, curses Subali for despoiling his land.
TABUH GARI - The story ends, the puppets are purified and go home.
 
Produced by Evan Ziporyn
Recorded live, October 14, 2001 - Kresge Little Theater, MIT, Cambridge, MA
Recording Engineer: Joel Gordon
Mix and Edit: Evan Ziporyn and Christine Southworth
Final Mix, Edit and Mastering: Rob Friedman
 
The creation of Shadow Bang was made possible in part with public funds from the National Endowment for the Arts and the generous support of the Rockefeller Foundation.  The premiere was co-sponsored by the MIT Office for the Arts, Music and Theater Arts, and MassMoca.  The recording was made possible by a grant from the Aaron Copland Foundation.  Special thanks to Kenan Sahin, Philip Khoury, Maureen Costello, Erin McCoy, Leo and Ava Ziporyn. 
 
to Leonardo
 
personnel:
I Wayan wija, vocalizations
BANG ON A CAN ALL-STARS
Robert Black, bass
Eduardo Leandro, percussion
Lisa Moore, keyboard
Mark Stewart, guitar
Wendy Sutter, cello
Evan Ziporyn, soprano saxophone and clarinets
 
Production directed by Paul Schick, lighting by Barry Steele, produced by Kenny Savelson

Recording

Score