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Theatre with a Difference: The Jakarta Players

Jakarta Players
Jakarta Players

Breaking the monotonous routine of movie-bingeing and mall-hopping, Jakartans have the opportunity to watch a highly captivating play for a good cause.

This summer, The Jakarta Players – a non-profit, multinational community theatre group that provides English language entertainment for Jakarta’s theatre-loving community – will be performing Annie Baker’s popular, charming and comical play Circle Mirror Transformation from 5th to 7th June.

The universally acclaimed play is set in an artsy small town and traces the lives of an unlikely collection of strangers who sign up for an ‘Adult Creative Drama’ class – the group includes a recently divorced carpenter, a high school junior, a former actress, and the teacher’s husband. Through the awkward, creative and imaginative class sessions, the characters and their relationships unexpectedly develop revelations, which brilliantly mirror their real lives off-stage, both in humorous and heart-breaking acumens.

“I fell in love with Circle Mirror Transformation on the first reading because of how interestingly the characters and their relationships are revealed and reflected through the drama activities,” said Andrew Trigg, Director of the five-person cast play and President of Jakarta Players. “Sometimes there’s a thin line between drama and real life!”

“We tend to choose plays that are more complex and filled with subtle emotions like this one,” adds Marissa Anita, the Executive Producer of the show. “We’re not afraid of complexity because it relates to people’s lives that are generally complex. This play is so funny, but at the same time deep, and at the same time it tears your heart – the emotions of the characters are so relatable, it will be stretched into different directions. I am very sure it represents the feelings of some members the audience.”

The play landed on the Top Ten lists of the New York Times and The New Yorker for 2010 with dazzling reviews, including one from The New York Times calling it “…an absolute feast. Circle Mirror Transformation is the kind of unheralded gem that sends people into the streets babbling and bright-eyed with the desire to spread the word.”

The play’s first-ever performance in Indonesia has a line-up of vibrant and enthusiastic actors; a Brit, an Indonesian Brit, an Australian, an American and a Chinese-French.

“I was so happy when I was told I’d got the part of Lauren,” said 16-year-old Hanliya, the youngest member of the cast. “I read the entire play before my audition and fell in love with it, and I learnt all my lines before rehearsals even began. I can’t wait to play a part in sharing this play with Jakarta audiences. I think it’s wonderful.”

The entire process for Circle Mirror Transformation has taken almost three months of commitment and determination.

“Even though we are a community theatre, we take our process seriously and invest our best efforts to put up a professional play – we want to give the audience the experience they came for,” said Marissa, also one of Jakarta Players’ Board Members.

“When you have a good script and a good cast, you know you’re in for a good show. And that’s what we have with Circle Mirror Transformation,” said David Knowles, a Jakarta Players veteran, who plays the teacher’s husband, James. “Rehearsals are going very well and there’s a real atmosphere of collaboration and sharing as we work together with the Director to put on a great show. Please come and watch!”

Continuing the proud tradition of Jakarta Players, all the proceeds from the play will be donated to Taman Bacaan Pelangi, a non-profit organisation that has established 29 children’s libraries in 14 remote islands across Eastern Indonesia. “We realise the importance of education and are keen to do what we can to make a direct difference to these children’s lives,” added Marissa.

“By nurturing the love of reading and providing quality books, we want to help kids in Eastern Indonesia to reach their potential and become agents of change and help break the cycle of poverty,” said Nila Tanzil, founder of Taman Bacaan Pelangi, which was established in 2009. “To date, we’ve provided over 50,000 storybooks, touching the lives of more than 6,000 children aged between 5-13 years.”

The Jakarta Players conducts regular play readings and a minimum of two public shows per year. “We want to encourage more people to be a part of our community and explore their creativity! All kinds of theatre enthusiasts of any age, from all backgrounds are welcome!” said Marissa, a member of the community since 2005. Currently, The Jakarta Players have about 600 members registered, including expatriates and Indonesians. Those who are interested to join can register on the day of the play, or via their website.

Grab the chance to watch this brilliant play for a gentle, fascinating mix of laughs, longing and heartache, while making an important difference to Indonesian children’s lives.

June 5th at 7.30pm

June 6th at 2pm and 7.30pm

June 7th at 2pm

Pavilion Apartment Clubhouse, Jl. KH Mas Mansyur Kav. 24 – right across from Citywalk Sudirman, Jakarta.

Those who are interested can buy tickets for only Rp. 200,000 (adults) and Rp.150,000 (students) from

Circle Mirror Transformation 5-7 June 2015

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