University of Pittsburgh
January 26, 2005

Pitt to Hold Book Signing Event for Power Plays: Wayang Golek Puppet Theater of West Java

Author to donate portion of proceeds to tsunami victims

Sharon Blake


Cell: 412-277-6926

PITTSBURGH—University of Pittsburgh Professor of Music Andrew Weintraub will be available to sign copies of his book, Power Plays: Wayang Golek Puppet Theater of West Java (Ohio University Press, 2004), at 4 p.m. Feb. 12 in Room 309 of Bellefield Hall, 315 S. Bellefield Ave., Oakland.

To help create the ambiance of the traveling puppet shows, a popular art form on the Indonesian island of Java, members of the University Gamelan Ensemble will be on hand to perform the gamelan—an ensemble of gongs, drums, and xylophones that creates the music that accompanies the puppeteers. Refreshments will be served, and the event is free and open to the public.

Weintraub, who has been researching the culture and people of Java for 20 years, hopes the book and accompanying interactive CD-ROM will help educate others about the role puppet theater plays in Indonesian culture. The puppeteers weave into their plays issues important to a particular village, be it family planning or a recent drought. The catastrophic Dec. 26 tsunami that caused heavy destruction in northern Indonesia will likely be among the subjects eventually addressed by the puppeteers.

"An Indonesian puppeteer would try to interpret such an event for the villagers and help them make some sense of it," says Weintraub. "The performance is a powerful form of communication."

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the book will go to the tsunami victims. For more information, call 412-648-1453.