Brilio.net – The uniqueness and beauty of wayang cultural arts made an 18 year old teenage girl interested in becoming a puppeteer. The teenage girl was named Bernadetha Astri Putri Nugraheni, a teenager from Sleman, Yogyakarta who had been involved in the world of puppetry since childhood.
Even though she was known as a female puppeteer since childhood, Astri admitted that she actually had no ambition to become a puppeteer. Never even thought about becoming a puppeteer.” “Actually, I’m just interested in watching it,” said Astri when met by brilio.net, yesterday.
Moreover, he continued, neither of his parents had a background as a puppet artist. The second child of a Yogyakarta-Palembang couple admitted that he often accompanied his father to watch wayang performances.
photo: brilio.net/Personal Documentation
Well, it was this habit that little by little gave rise to Astri’s curiosity about the culture of wayang performances. “Yes, it’s a girl, the habits that the father likes are sure to be liked by the daughter, right? I also like watching movies because my father often invites me,” he explained.
This interest in wayang art received full support from his parents, who also loved art and culture. “I am the first child to practice the art of puppetry,” continued Astri.
While in elementary school, Astri also took part in the extracurricular karawitan (gamelan art) to accompany the wayang ‘wahyu’. These moments of meeting with puppeteers in elementary school made him even more curious about wayang art.
Moreover, the universe brought Astri Nugraheni together with a little puppeteer. So, he realized that puppetry could also be performed by small children. In fact, initially he thought that puppetry could only be done by adults.
Astri admitted that this meeting was one of the things that inspired her to become a puppeteer. “At first I didn’t know that puppeteers could be played by little children, when I saw the little puppeteers, I realized, ‘Oh, so it turns out that puppeteers can be played by little puppeteers,'” he stressed.
photo: brilio.net/Personal Documentation
After learning that wayang could be played by young puppeteers, Astri immediately looked for information about puppetry studios. “At that time, I was having trouble finding a studio community, so I asked the little puppeteer I met,”
Various obstacles and challenges for Astri, who was 11 years old at that time. Even though he is part of a studio, he has no friends in his class. Most of the puppeteers are younger or older, so they have had difficulty adapting, especially as the seniors mostly come from puppeteer family backgrounds.
Astri explored puppetry alone without taking any other formal courses. He only had to watch senior puppeteers perform and practice for several months. Astri also had to get used to it and try twice as hard as her colleagues.
The difficulty of training and not having a partner in the same boat made him experience his lowest point and broke down playing puppeteer. He also had the desire to stop being a puppeteer. However, thanks to encouragement and support from her family and those closest to her, Astri finally got up and started again as a female puppeteer.
After joining the puppetry studio for a month, Astri was trusted to take on the role of performing as a child puppeteer. Unexpectedly, her first performance at the age of 11 was successful in making her known as a young female puppeteer. He also participated in various puppetry festivals.
Astri said that when she first joined the studio, she and her father often ‘hunted’ for wayang cultural festivals or watched wayang performances in various places. While watching the wayang, his father began to introduce himself to many people, especially the organizers of the wayang performance, that Astri was also a young puppeteer.
My father’s efforts to introduce Astri to senior puppeteers bore fruit. She is also trusted to host various cultural festival events, making her even better known as ‘Astri the little female puppeteer’.
As a result, she was able to excel by winning third place in the Middle School Puppeteer Festival in 2018. Astri also won the First Runner-up category in the Youth Puppeteer Festival at the Sleman Arts Building in 2021.
Astri is also involved in a number of performances at various festivals and cultural activities in Jogja. In September 2021, he collaborated with the Yogyakarta Cultural Festival (FKY) in staging the play Sang Krincing Wesi at Sanggar Gita Langen Budaya.
This year, Astri won the Sleman Youth Puppeteer Festival competition and won second place in the DIY Youth Puppeteer Festival.
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