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Tobacco: An Intercultural Crankie Shadow Play with Gusti Sudarta and Rumput

Friday, March 27, 2020
7:00pm – 8:30pm

Storrs Campus
Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry

Shadow master Gusti Sudarta from Bali, Indonesia and the string-band group Rumput from Richmond, Virginia collaborate in an intercultural performance involving traditional arts from Indonesia—specifically wayang kulit (shadow puppet theatre) and keroncong (string-band music)—with crankies, or moving panoramas, at a performance to be presented at the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry on March 27. This production will focus on the history of the global tobacco industry, with an emphasis on Virginia and western Indonesia.

When the American tobacco industry was hit with lawsuits in the late 90s, companies rebranded and reoriented towards international markets such as Southeast Asia. In Indonesia, tobacco is poorly regulated, ads regularly target children (remember the “smoking baby” on Youtube?), and lung cancer deaths have gone through the roof. Cigarette taxes are now an important source of national income and politicians receive regular kickbacks from the industry. The story of tobacco is a tale of global exploitation in which American capitalists have benefitted wildly from the suffering of Native Americans, African American slaves, blue-collar labor, and the engineered addiction of billions of smokers across the globe. This new “crankie” and shadow play about the story of tobacco, shows how Richmond, Virginia and, today, Indonesia are two of the most important chapters of tobacco as a global industry.

Tobacco: A Crankie Shadow Play will feature shadow puppetry by the renowned Balinese shadow master Gusti Sudarta. In addition to the main feature, there will also be several traditional and new works for keroncong (Indonesian string band music) and several other crankies included in the program.

Sponsored by the UConn Asian and Asian American Studies Institute, Puppet Arts Program, and Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry


Dramatic Arts (primary), Asian American Cultural Center, Asian American Studies Institute, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, School of Fine Arts, UConn Master Calendar

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