Papermoon Puppet Theatre was founded by Maria Tri Sulistyani (an illustrator, writer and a former theatre performer) and Iwan Effendi (a visual artist). Based in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, a country with world-renowned puppetry traditions, Papermoon creates a mixed-media production: a theatre play through visual art installations, which imaginatively explore identity and society.

Papermoon has toured around the world for many occasions such as Hochschule fur Schauspielkunst, Berlin, Germany 2014; Darwin Festival 2013, Australia; AIR Koganecho, Yokohama, Japan 2012; Asean Puppetry Festival 2012, Singapore; Ishara Puppet Festival 2011, New Delhi, India. They have collaborated with worldwide artists such as Volksoperahuis (Netherlands), Cake Industries (Australia), Issui Sachi Minegishi (Japan), and Jae Sirikarn Bunjongtad (Thailand).

About the show


When a representative of the people tries to defend the interests of the nation,

Who are the victims?

When the army attempts to fight off evil,

Who are the victims?

And when we will only seek the safe path,

Who are the victims?

Children, brothers, sisters, loved ones, parents, neighbours, friends

They, who are not guilty

Two small wooden houses were erected in the stage’s corners. 10-year-old Moyo and 4-year-old Tupu are siblings, living in the first house with their father Baba a hard working man with one hand. They are a happy family, live harmoniously with their neighbour, Haki, who lives with his wheelchair-bound daughter, Lacuna. A trivial incident that starts from a reckless red triangle drawing in front of the Baba’s house leads all these characters plunging into the dark reality many Indonesians experienced in silence in this era of after a failing coup d’état from the communist party. The wrongful seizure of Baba by a group of armed people was quickly followed by the disappearance of Moyo, leaving to look for his father—then leaving the little Tupu that would also soundlessly cease to exist after losing everything she held dear.

Mwathirika, a Swahili word for “victim”, is told through the movements of puppets performed by a group of puppeteers who were visible to the audience. Intimacy was intensely built from the silence spread all around the stages and the absence of dialogue or language, leaving only whispering gestures that provided universal understanding—for everyone to be able to learn the ‘history of loss’ as well as the ‘loss of history’ from the long history of Indonesia.

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