Srimaya's Fall: a work of Javanese theatricality and intercultural arts in practice

Karen Elizabeth Schrieber

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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This Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) project critically evaluates two performance recitals and one lecture-demonstration. Initially aimed at facilitating my transition from Javanese performing artist in Indonesia to multicultural arts practitioner in Perth, Western Australia, the creative portion of this work explores the issues of authenticity,multiculturalism and cultural identity. The research has drawn from anthropological and ethnomusicological studies pertaining to Javanese music, dance and art. These studies, also highlighting current trends toward auto-ethnography, have contributed to my recontextualisation process, both geographically as well as professionally. Following the retrospective, ritual-as-performance first recital, In the Demon’s Circle: Love, Lyrics and Lotus Flowers, performed in 2012, the reflective practices of performance as research provided insights from which the more sophisticated and syncretic second recital, Srimaya’s Fall from the Demon’s Circle, developed and was subsequently performed in early 2013. In addition to devising these creative works, the project also addresses a significant gap in contemporary research vis-à-vis intercultural artistic practice. The ways in which the two recitals present Javanese theatre, dance and music ‘texts’ raise significant issues concerning artistic authenticity, particularly as articulated by what I describe as the ‘demon’s circle’ (lingkaran setan), the eponymous inspiration for both recitals. Based on a Javanese folk saying, the demon’s circle refers to the kinds of vicious circles and no-win situations that are absurd because they have no easy solutions. The contributions of this research pertain as well to the work of artists who develop embodied skills in one culture and subsequently mediate these learned techniques for audiences in new spaces and new cultural contexts.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Publication statusUnpublished - 2014


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