Ketoprak Tobong Kelana Bakti Budaya


Prak! Prak! Ke-tho-prak!  A Javanese form of costume drama named onomatopoeically after a percussion pattern played on a hollow wooden box or keprak by a wooden mallet. It emerged suddenly in Yogyakarta in the mid-1920s in a time of political confrontation and involved the adaptation of cosmopolitan culture (Hollywood toga dramas, Chinese operas, Malay musical theatre) into local idioms.

Currently situated at Dusun Brayut, Wukirsari, Cangkringan, Yogyakarta, Indonesia. The Ketoprak Tobong Kelana Bakti Budaya is one of the last remaining theatre troupes in Yogyakarta, Java, Indonesia. The Tobong is a temporary building with no walls, constructed from bamboo, that can moved from place to place. It frequently combines stage, group of dwellings, and auditorium. Ketoprak Tobong today can no longer live independently as globalisation, technological development and modernisation has made it too economically difficult.

In the realm of the Javanese arts however, a Ketoprak is a community theatre performance featuring actors in traditional costumes. As for the stories themselves, well they can often be rather unorthodox, although there are a number of standard rules which are usually adhered to. Actors speak their lines in Javanese, for example, and the accompanying music is played on the traditional Javanese gamelan. As with other theatrical styles though, Ketoprak comes in many flavours and elements of action, drama, romance, politics and humour all feature.



Indeed, it is this broadness of artistic vision that is the reason behind ketoprak being so well loved. A national television station even broadcasts a show entitled “Ketoprak Humor”, which is aired every Saturday night and which attracts huge viewing figures, despite going toe to toe with live football. Through Ketoprak, people from all levels of society and walks of life can talk about issues which have long been dominated by the mass media. It has thus become a discussion forum that remains free of censorship.

Ketoprak Tobong Kelana Bhakti Community is one of the last remaining nomadic theatre troupe in Java. About 15 players remain in Yogyakarta itself, before they settled at the site, they travelled through villages. Each time they wander it costs 18-20 million rupiahs, which is dependent only on the donation of a number of people who care about the preservation of cultural arts. Risang Yuwono’s family are patrons of the community and Risang himself has been involved for more than a decade. Ketoprak Tobong began their wanderings from Kediri, East Java; some of the cities they have visited include Magetan, Cepu, Ngawi, Nganjuk, and Tulungagung. About 7 years ago, they decided to travel to the city of Yogyakarta, which is the cultural heart of Java.

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Making Up Ritual Behind The Scenes

Another day in the life of Ketoprak Tobong

Sustainable Via Via Ecotour that was created as part of the Residency

A Day in the Life of the Ketoprak Tobong

Ketoprak Tobong