The Plays of Lois Achimovich

Eugene & Carlotta | John Boyle O'Reilly | Sukarno | Meekatharra | Red Silk

Sukarno (1987)

Lois Achimovich © 1986

Dr Sukarno was a notorious figure on the world stage in the 50s and 60s but little was known of his political ideas and development.  The West preferred to think of him as 'The  Playboy of the Eastern World'.   He was in fact an activist of considerable sophistication whose convictions remained unshaken throughout his fifty years of struggle.  The play shows the development of his philosophy, his struggle for independence and his eventual downfall. LA.

Prevailing world opinion today would have us believe that the real source of international tension and strife is ideological conflict between the great powers.   I think that is not true.  There is a conflict which cuts deeper into the flesh of man, and that is the conflict between the new emergent forces for freedom and justice and the old forces of domination, the one pushing its head relentlessly through the crust of the earth which has given it its lifeblood, the other striving desperately to retain all it can, trying to hold back the course of history.

President  Sukarno
Belgrade Conference 1961

CAST
MAJOR ROLES

THE DALANG - THE STORY TELLER
SUKARNO - FIRST PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF INDONESIA
MOHAMMED HATTA - DUTCH EDUCATED SUMATRAN NATIONALIST
SUTAN SJAHRIR - DUTCH EDUCATED SUMATRAN NATIONALIST
INGGIT - SUKARNO'S FIRST WIFE
ADMIRAL MAYEDA - JAPANESE NAVAL OFFICER IN CHARGE OF JAVA, 1945
GATOT - SUKARNO'S FRIEND AND COWORKER
BOS - DUTCH GUARD
IDAYU NYOMAN RAI - SUKARNO'S MOTHER
RADEN SUKEMI SOSRO
DI HARJO - SUKARNO'S FATHER
SARTONO - SUKARNO'S LAWYER, 1930
FATMAWATI - SUKARNO'S SECOND WIFE
JAPANESE GENERAL
AMERICAN DIPLOMAT

ACT 1 SCENE 1

THE STAGE IS BARE EXCEPT FOR THREE SCREENS, ONE IN THE MIDDLE AND ONE ON EITHER SIDE. THESE SCREENS ARE TRANSLUCENT, AND SHADOWY FIGURES CAN BE SEEN THROUGH THEM DURING VARIOUS PARTS OF THE PLAY. AT THE BEGINNING, THE KAJON IS IN THE CENTRE OF THE MIDDLE SCREEN. GAMELAN AND ANKLUNG MUSIC PRECEDE THE APPEARANCE OF THE DALANG AND ACCOMPANY THE MOVEMENTS OF THE WAYANG ORANG FIGURES. THESE FIGURES ILLUSTRATE THE DALANG'S WORDS IN MIME.

DALANG: Oh, Great Serpent, who supports the earth. Oh, Spirits all here gathered, I ask your help. Let not the onlookers disperse until I have finished my act. In the beginning, King Djojobojo made these prophesies. Java will see happy times, then unhappy times in equal measure. Then the white seafarers will come to Java to engage in trade. They will soon become involved in a family quarrel between the princes of Mataram and will finally lay siege to the kingdom and divide it in the eighteenth century. A time of disorder will begin. The wrath of God will descend on Java, the wealth of the land will disappear, and great disasters will follow. God's anger will increase from year to year, the nobility will be cursed and the people will suffer want. Truth will vanish. The judgments of the princes will be uncertain, wavering and without strength. Their command will bring the people to ruin.
         The end will be near. Then natural disasters will announce the arrival of the Ratu Adil, the Holy One. He will be poor and unknown, but God will do battle for him and destroy his enemies. Then justice will reign. But a new age of self seeking will replace this golden age, then another, until the year 2000, when the kingdom of Java will come to end.

LIGHTS DOWN, THEN UP ON A FIGURE SLUMPED IN A CANE CHAIR CENTRALLY, FACING REAR. MIDDLE SCREEN HAS BEEN REMOVED. TWO GUARDS WITH RIFLES IN AT-EASE POSITION STAND ON EITHER SIDE OF THE STAGE, FACING AUDIENCE. DEWI AND HARTINI ARE PLEADING WITH THE FIGURE WHO DOES NOT RESPOND. THEY COME TO STAGE FRONT.

DEWI:       I'm sick of this. We're getting nowhere.

HARTINI: Maybe if I bring the children ...

DEWI:       You may as well face it. He won't listen.

HARTINI: But he's sick. Maybe he can't ...

DEWI:       He can hear us. He just won't give in. For what? For what? (SHE MOVES BACK TO THE CHAIR.) What do you think this is proving? Won't you even speak to me? (FURTIVELY). The P.K.I. is dead, dead forever! Can't you get that into your stubborn head?

HARTINI: Dewi! Stop!

DEWI:       I can't wait forever. He'll have to give me a divorce. I am a young woman. (TO GUARDS.) What are you staring at? This is nothing to do with you.

HARTINI: Please Karno. Let me take you to Europe. There are good doctors, you have many friends ...

DEWI:       I'm going. He's treating us like concubines.

SHE STRIDES OUT, WITH HARTINI RELUCTANTLY FOLLOWING.

HARTINI: He's going to die like this?

DEWI:       It's on his own head.We've done all we can.

HARTINI: I'll never give up, he must ...

THEIR VOICES FADE AS THEY EXIT. GUARDS RELAX.

FIRST GUARD:  They're wasting their time. He's past it.The young one is so beautiful. Have you ever seen ...?

SECOND GUARD:      He can't last much longer.

FIRST GUARD:  It's like guarding a beached turtle.

SECOND GUARD:      Why don't they just let him go?

FIRST GUARD:  Then he might talk. I suppose they could....

HE MAKES A SLIT THROAT MOTION.

SECOND GUARD:      Oh, Allah, no!

FIRST GUARD:  Of course not. They'd be worried about a revolution ...

SECOND SOLDIER:   No, the people are too frightened. Some still keep his picture - hidden, of course.

FIRST GUARD:  Those people are very foolish. It's not wise to be tainted with the pink brush in these times.

SECOND GUARD:      I don't know why they worry. Words are no longer powerful. This speaks louder.

AS THEY TALK THE FIGURE OF THE SPIRIT OF SUKARNO'S MOTHER IS REVEALED,WEARING MASK. THE GUARDS RELAX AND DOZE AS SOFT GAMELAN PLAYS. SHE IS INVISIBLE TO THEM, ALTHOUGH THE SECOND SOLDIER IS AWARE OF THE SPIRITS THROUGHOUT THE PLAY.

I.N.R.:        (TAKING OFF THE MASK) Ah, Karno. You are so swollen. What have they done to you? Oh, my poor son! (WASHES HIS FACE AND HANDS) And your feet - the sores! Where are your nurses? Guards! Guards!

ENTER YOUNG SUKARNO.

SUKARNO:        They're asleep.

I.N.R. LEAVES OLD SUKARNO AND JOINS YOUNG SUKARNO CENTRE STAGE.

I.N.R.:        Darling Karno! Let me look at you! Have they hurt you? Come here to me!

SHE HUGS HIM AND SHE SITS DOWN WITH HIS HEAD IN HER LAP.

SUKARNO:        Tell me the story, mother.

I.N.R.:        The story of your big ears again?

SUKARNO:        Yes, again!

I.N.R. LAUGHING:     Ah, well. One day, while playing in her garden, a beautiful princess was seen by the Sun God, who immediately wanted to make love to her. He enveloped her and caressed her with the heat of his love rays. And so she became pregnant, although still a virgin.
         Naturally, it was cruel for the Sun God to have made love to this pure young maiden and this created a big problem for him, how to deliver the baby without destroying her maidenhood? He did not dare deflower her by bringing forth a child in the normal way. What to do ...? What to do ...? Oh, such a big problem!
         Finally the baby was born - through the ear of the princess! Thus, the great Mahabharata hero was called Karno or 'ear'. You shall be ... Karno - a great patriot and fighter. My child of the dawn.

SUKARNO:        More like your child of the dungeon!

I.N.R.:        Like poor Nehru. He went to gaol eleven times. 'Am I a man or am I a shuttlecock?' he said. When you were in Bantjeuj prison, your father was so afraid I would be rude to Mr. Bos.

SUKARNO:        I liked him. I wonder if he is still alive. Bos. Ha Bos!

ONE OF THE FIGURES ENTERS. SUKARNO LEAVES HIS MOTHER. LIGHT FADES ON HER.

BOS: You again, Sukarno. Do you think I am your personal servant? What is it this time?

SUKARNO:        Gatot and me. We would like to stretch our legs. You know - maybe a few minutes out of the cell? Oh my friend! Your eye! Let me see.

BOS OPENS THE CELL DOOR.
        
It is very swollen and red. Do you have something in it?

BOS: No! Three days ago, I went with a prostitute. Afterwards, I wiped myself with a handkerchief. Then, without thinking, I must have wiped my eye.

SUKARNO:        Ah Bos, poor man. I am worried for you.

BOS: Ah, what shall I do?

SUKARNO:        Bathe it in salty water.

BOS: Will that help?

SUKARNO:        It won't do any harm.
There is a dukun on Jalan Kartini, a friend of mine. Number 4.

BOS: Number 4.

SUKARNO:        Tell him Bung Karno sent you. He will help.
And Bos - my friend - could I spend 10 minutes outside the cell with Gatot - exercise our limbs - you understand?

BOS: It's against the rules.

SUKARNO:        Rules are for fools. Right, Bos?

BOS: I don't know. Is that a joke?

SUKARNO:        Ten minutes.

BOS: UNLOCKING GATOT'S CELL. I will be back in fifteen. If you are not back in your cells, it will be solitary for a week.
Do not think I am a soft one.
 
GATOT ENTERS. BOS LUMBERS OFF.

SUKARNO:        I hope the prostitute wasn't one of my spies. It could ruin our friendship.

BOTH MEN STRETCH AND JUMP AROUND AND HUG EACH OTHER.

SUKARNO:        Mostly I miss the movies. Tom Mix, Mary Pickford!

GATOT:     I sit behind the screen.
        
SUKARNO:        Who can afford to sit in front?

GATOT:     It only matters in the boxing - can't tell a right hook from a left.
Eight months already!

SUKARNO:        Hah! It is worse for me! I am a man of the senses. I need fine food, the love of a woman, good conversation.
Listen.
I am preparing our defence. It will be a great speech, the ultimate indictment of colonialism.

GATOT:     Oh,then they're sure to release us!
        
SUKARNO:        What have we got to lose?
 
GOES TO CELL AND GETS PAPERS.
        
GATOT:     They think we're terrorists!

SUKARNO:        Remember Danton - 'L'audace, Danton, toujours l'audace' - have faith,have courage- on the way to the guillotine?
         Tell me the story of Gatut katja!

GATOT:     No!

SUKARNO:        Why not?

GATOT:     You never let me finish!

SUKARNO:        I promise! Tell the story!

AS GATOT AND SUKARNO ARE TALKING,THE WAYANG ORANG  FIGURES APPEAR - FIVE SHARP RAPS - THEN GAMELAN PLAY VERY FAST SAMPAK MANJURA ACCOMPANYING THE BATTLE  BETWEEN BARANDJAWA - FROM BEHIND THE LEFT SCREEN - AND GATUTKATJA - FROM THE RIGHT. TO LOUD RAPPING OF  METAL PLATES THE TWO FIGHT.GATUTKATJA IS  INITIALLY BEATEN, THEN WRENCHES BARANDJAWA'S HEAD FROM  HIS SHOULDERS WITH HIS BARE HANDS. GATUTKATJA FLIES  OFF. BARANDJAWA'S CORPSE IS TAKEN OFF.

GATOT:     Yes, Bung. Well, Gatutkatja has come up against the evil giant, Barandjawa. He is losing the battle and he has fallen. It seems that all is lost. Gatutkatja is defeated. There is no hope for the hero. Then ...

SUKARNO:        Yes, but that is just for a time. He will get up again. He will win once more. You cannot keep a hero down!

GATOT:     Who is the dalang, Bung? Me or you?

SUKARNO:        Sorry. I love that part. Go on.

GATOT:     The people tremble. There is no one to protect them from the giant. But suddenly - can it be - Gatutkatja is up again! Gatutkatja is on his feet. He has slain the demon. He ...

SUKARNO:        Hah! I knew it. What did I tell you? A hero who only wants good is never down for long! Go on.

GATOT:     You never let me finish.

SUKARNO:        I know. I know. It is my favourite.

GATOT:     I will never stop fighting, Bung, but I hate gaol as much as you - and your speech won't make any difference.

SUKARNO:        Not to our sentences. But the world will know that we are not a nation of submissive coolies. Oh, Gatot, I feel such anger when I think of it, the rivers of sugar, tea and coffee bleeding from our country into the cups of the rich.

GATOT      You are so sure of yourself - it's as though you were never...
         ENTER BOS WITH SARTONO
         Sartono! Welcome!

BOS: Five minutes - just remember.

EXIT BOS.

SARTONO:        Sukarno! Gatot!

SUKARNO:        My friend! It is good of you to take the case.

SARTONO:        Here, eggs for you.

GATOT:     Special eggs?

SARTONO NODS.

SUKARNO:        You know we can't pay you.

SARTONO:        I require no payment. We have to prepare a defence. It won't be easy.

SUKARNO:        Dear friend, you know we are only going through the motions. They will find me guilty.

GATOT:     The way he is talking, they're sure to find him guilty!

SARTONO:        There may be some legal loopholes.

SUKARNO:        I may as well tell you now, I intend to prepare my own defence. Look, I have begun.

HE SLIDES A TIN BOX OUT FROM UNDER THE BED. SARTONO  RECOILS FROM THE SMELL.
        
         It is my toilet, this side for urinating, this side for the big one. I sit on the bed this way and write on top of it. I will call it 'Indonesia Accuses' - written on the tin lid of a combination urinal.

SARTONO:        You are accused of offences under Articles 161, 169 and 171 - inciting a riot, advocating violent overthrow of the Dutch government and making fraudulent statement. I don't believe that political arguments will sway the court.

SUKARNO:        We're demanding an end to imperialism and capitalism, not the Dutch Government.

SARTONO:        But here, imperialism is the Dutch government.

SUKARNO:        Pah! If the Dutch went tomorrow, we's still be plundered. l China and Persia rule themselves and even so they are bled by foreigners.

SARTONO:        It's a delicate distinction.

SUKARNO:        Imperialism isn't a civil servant or even a government. It's a lust to rule, to command, to dominate the economy of another people.

SARTONO:        That's legal hair-splitting Sukarno.

SUKARNO:        I don't see why. Dutch socialists are saying the same things I'm saying.

SARTONO:        That's theoretical socialism. You actually want to change the system here. You don't even want to recognise the Dutch queen!

GATOT:     Some woman on the other side of the world for whom we have to stand and sing the Dutch anthem.

SARTONO:        Try to make a few concessions.

SUKARNO:        I can't. Freedom is like death - it is or it isn't.

SARTONO:        They'll say you want to overthrow the government with violence.

SUKARNO:        I have never advocated violence and I never will.
         Listen to me!
         Colonisation is the attempt to exploit the land, its mineral wealth, its flora and fauna, and above all its people, for the economic needs of the colonising nation. It may bring knowledge or progress or civilisation, but its prime motive is profit. It's obvious we are losing resources we might use for our own development.
         And what about our rights. Rights to education, free speech, fair taxation. Political representation? They don't exist. Every Indonesian leader has spent time in shackles, and each of us is labelled a public menace.
         No, I will not modify what I say.

SARTONO:        Good! Then that's settled.

SUKARNO:        Good?

GATOT:     Good? How can that be good?

SARTONO:        As your lawyer, I advise restraint. As a member of the Nationalist Party I am glad you will speak out. God be with you!

SUKARNO: I appreciate your efforts but like all lawyers, you are unswervingly legalistic. BOS ENTERS.
         It is difficult to stage the defence of a revolutionary with solicitors. We require the human emotion. This I shall provide.

BOS: Oh,will you indeed? We'll certainly see about that, my goodness me. You'd better get along now. His wife is here.

 SARTONO EMBRACES THEM , AND HE AND GATOT MOVE AWAY IN CONVERSATION. SUKARNO MIMES WASHING.

BOS: That won't make much difference. You lot smell like rotted garbage. It's the tropics that does it. Even I smell a bit.
         Don't you have any children?
         How long have you been married?
         So? How long?

SUKARNO:        May I see my wife now?

(LIGHTS DOWN. END ACT ONE, SCENE ONE)

ACT 1 SCENE 2

SARTONO, GATOT AND SUKARNO SEATED AT A TABLE FACING THE  AUDIENCE WHERE THE JUDGE AND CLERK OF THE COURT ARE  SEATED. SUKARNO'S MOTHER SITS AT REAR IN MASK.

CLERK:     The court will come to order, on this 18th day of June 1930. Mr Sukarno, you have been talking for days. You are using this court as a political forum. Please conclude your defence with expedience.

SUKARNO:        It is imperative that we explain the important aspects of our political convictions in order that you ...

JUDGE:      Dr. Sukarno, you may continue , but you may not use this court as your private platform for political agitation.

SUKARNO:        Your Honour, the sun does not rise because the rooster crows - the rooster crows because the sun rises.

CLERK:     Do not argue with His Honour!

SARTONO:        Mr Sukarno apologises and begs leave to continue his defence.

I.N.R A time of disorder will begin. The wrath of God will descend on Java, the wealth of the land will disappear and great disasters will follow.
         God's anger will increase from year to year, the nobility will be cursed and the people will suffer want.

JUDGE:      Silence!

CLERK:     Who is that speaking?

I.N.R.:        Truth will vanish.The judgements of the princes will be uncertain,wavering and without strength.
         Their command will bring the people to ruin. The end will be near.

I.N.R. FIGURE FADES.

CLERK:     Silence!

SUKARNO:        It is said that we spread false information by predicting a Pacific war. All you need to do is open your eyes. The entire Asian world is raging against oppression like a seething ocean. Our world is about to become a battlefield of oppressor against oppressed. But worse - the great powers will some engage in an horrendous struggle, with Japan on the one side and America and Britain on the other, fighting for the control of nations and resources which do not belong to them.
         What of Indonesia?     Kingdoms enslaved, economics stifled with monopolies, throttled and utterly extinguished , clove and nutmeg trees cut down, thousands killed in the Moluccas as the East India Company established itself - its evil deriving not so much from its cruelty, but from its small-minded greed.
         'Not always cruel,' I hear you say, 'Not always greedy?' Nevertheless often cruel - and often brutal.
         We have seen the result of the Culture System where Indonesians were forced to grow indigo and coffee when they needed to grow rice for their own use. The whipping post was commonplace in the indigo fields.
         You may say - the East India Company and the Culture System are long gone - why open old wounds? Injustice is long remembered by those who suffer it, quickly forgotten by those who cause it .
         Indonesia is a paradise for businessmen - what a prodigious stream of export surplusses every year! Do the Indonesians suffer? Many say not. I tell you their misery is not the work of agitators - their misery is real!

JUDGE:      Mr Sukarno. Please finish. The point is made.

SUKARNO:        Independence may not arrive this day or tomorrow - it will be for our children and our children's children to see. For we won't use guns, dynamite, bombs. Only words to generate power within the law. We are revolutionary in that we wish to change the system rapidly, not in our wish to use violence and a climate of death.
         We did not incite to riot, we did not make fraudulent statements, we did not advocate the violent overthrow of the Dutch government. If still you find us guilty, then in Tilak's words - 'It may be the will of Providence that the cause which I represent is to prosper more by my suffering than by my remaining free'.
         May our fate be a sacrifice to Mother Indonesia, a fragrant and beautiful offerring to enhance the loveliness of her hair.

LIGHTS DOWN. EXIT ACTORS AS DALANG ENTERS.

DALANG: Gatot Mangkupradja and Sukarno were sentenced to prison. Sukarno's sentence was longest, four years. He spent the first eight months in solitary confinement, because it was thought that he was likely to try to exert a political influence on the other prisoners.

LIGHTS UP ON SUKARNO CROUCHED IN CENTRE OF STAGE, AS IF IN A BOX.

SUKARNO:        Sometimes I am terrified. Sometimes I hear turtle doves, perkutet, perkutet, as clear as a bell. I jump up and look, but there is just my pet lizard come to beg a grain of rice. No turtle dove.
         And sometimes - sometimes I know I've lost my sanity. I feel my right arm swelling until it fills the cell, and finally bursts the walls, and then slowly, slowly it shrinks back to normal. I think I cannot stand this much longer. Maybe they will break me.

VOICE:      'L'audace, Danton. Toujours l'audace!'

SUKARNO:        Marhaen! Marhaen! I won't give in.

VOICE:      The people are with you.

SUKARNO:        Each Indonesian will call his own his hoe, his house, his small plot of land ...

VOICE:      and with gotong royong ...

SUKARNO:        mutual help - will live with his neighbours.

VOICE:      You will have to be careful, Bung Karno, more and more land is going to the big landowners.

SUKARNO:        Oh, I will go mad in here, Marhaen.

VOICE:      Not much longer. There is a worldwide outcry for your release.

LIGHT FADES ON SUKARNO, AS THE VOICE OF OLD SUKARNO IS HEARD.

         'L'audace,Danton,toujours l'audace.'

LIGHTS UP ON GUARDS.

FIRST GUARD:  He's talking to himself.

SECOND GUARD:      Did you see anything?

FIRST GUARD:  No!

SECOND GUARD:      I thought I saw an old woman.

FIRST GUARD:  You'd better ask to be relieved.

SECOND GUARD:      Because I've seen a spirit? They'd lock me up. Guarding a dying man against his ghosts.
         Reminds me of the New Guinea jungle, a ghost in every tree - ghosts of the men who died there.

FIRST SOLDIER:         That's enough! Get me some rice, I'm hungry.

SECOND SOLDIER EXITS HURRIEDLY. FIRST SOLDIER GOES BACK TO SLEEP.

LIGHTS UP ON SHADOWS OF I.N.R., MOHAMMAD HATTA AND SUTAN SJAHRIR. VOICES ARE HEARD BEFORE FIGURES CAN BE MADE OUT. THEY EVENTUALLY COME ONTO THE STAGE.

HATTA:    Ah, madam, we are doing all we can. But you must understand your son is a different kind of revolutionary from ourselves. Without his leadership, his party is powerless.

SJAHRIR:  The success of a revolution should not depend on the personal charisma of one man. We need education and then ...
        
HATTA:    We may not see independence in our time, but in our children's maybe ...

I.N.R.:        Your programme will only make things worse! Education for years and years and then maybe ... forgive me Mohammad Hatta, but you sound more Dutch than the Dutch!

SJAHRIR:  Really?

HATTA:    What!

I.N.R.:        Surely you must know that such words are music to Dutch ears. They too want us to wait until we are 'ready' for independence. And who will decide when? Our best chance is to have the people see open defiance or even long gaol sentences. Then they will gain some self respect - not through some wishy-washy scheme of education.

SJAHRIR:  Your son believes the people should be approached through their art and folklore, the wayang, endless stories of the struggle between the pandawas and kurawas. He cannot drag a feudal people into the 20th century with folk tales. They have to be re-educated.
         Of course, the Javanese will follow him. And the Sumatrans will follow us. But what about the Balinese, the Ambonese, the New Guinea natives, the Timorese. What do they know of revolution?
         His attitude is Javanese. He lives in the past. His shadow puppets offer nothing intellectual no broader culture to the people, just elementary mysticism.
         The West is effervescent, alive, dynamic. Only the West can liberate the beast from its slavery.

I.N.R.:        Fools! Fools! Armchair revolutionaries. You try solitary confinement and see how it feels!

I.N.R.: (AS SHE EXITS) The West will never free us. True, a few Western Socialists support us, but those who run our lives are not socialists, they are businessmen!

SJAHRIR:  Who does she think he is? The Ratu Adil. The Holy One. The saviour of the Javanese people.

HATTA:    He says he wants Per-sat-u-an - unity - but all he'll get is Per-sat-e-an - lots of bits of philosophical meat on a stick. We need a class struggle against both foreign capital and native nobility. He wants to together all Indonesians - Muslims, socialists, priyayi, the peasants, 'Marhaenism' - roast sate is all he'll produce.
         But he has the ear of the people - he is a figurehead - we cannot just dismiss him.

ENTER SUKARNO, LOOKING WEAK, AND GATOT.

SUKARNO:        Hatta! Sjahrir! At last we meet.
HE EMBRACES THEM -THEY REMAIN STIFF.
         My friend Gatot. We have much to talk about. Let us musyawarah, let us deliberate. Where are these insurmountable difficulties? Eh?

HATTA:    We feel that you are, perhaps, somewhat dismissive of the power of the intellect.

SJAHRIR:  You seem to have read the revolutionaries but you do not seem to be acquainted with the art and culture of the West. Goethe, Huizinga, Plato. Only education can free our people. You formulate your ideas around - if you'll forgive me - outmoded legends. Indonesian culture is feudal and will remain so if you have your way. I feel I must speak plainly at this point, you understand.

SUKARNO:        I understand, certainly. I understand that the Dutch have colonised your mind. We will never get on, I can see that. But somehow we must work together.

HATTA:    It helps no-one but the Dutch if we disagree. We must get on. And my first suggestion is that you are very careful what you say. You will be a laughing stock if you speak out yet again and get arrested.

GATOT:     Please do not talk to the Bung in that way. I do not like it.

SUKARNO:        My last imprisonment was a great political victory. I have shown that speaking out does not result in immediate hanging - like Prince Diponegoro when he meditated in the cave - like Bima and Karno when ...

SJAHRIR:  Karno! The great hero of the Mahabharata!

GATOT:     Let's go! I do not like this man.

SUKARNO:        I wish more than anything to unite with you but I fear your dour philosophy will not suit the Javanese and without them, there will be no revolution.
         I despair of your kind. You see the problem as lying in the people. I see it in the system they are forced to live under.
         I will work in the same direction. Let me be clear on my position. This is war - a fight for survival. It is not a question of honour or solidarity with the next generation.It is a matter of power. You two can go on moralising and meanwhile the Dutch will beat you over the head. And I will say what I believe where and when I choose. I am the Mouthpiece of the Indonesian people and I will not be gagged. I will love Mother Indonesia till I die.

SJAHRIR:  Mother Indonesia as a mystical experience is outside the realm of practical politics.

SUKARNO:        We shall see who knows the most of practical politics. I have served a long apprenticeship with the rats and lizards in prison. Call me an egotist! You are right. Call me an activist! You are right. But do not call me a fool.
         Come it is time for you to offer me coffee and refreshments. Somehow I think Allah will make us bedfellows - or cellmates, no matter what we do.

SUKARNO BEGINS TO LEAVE BUT COLLAPSES.

GATOT:     Get a doctor.

HATTA HELPS GATOT. SJAHRIR RUNS FOR HELP.

SUKARNO:        Inggit. Send for Inggit.

AS LIGHTS FADE, VOICE OF OLD SUKARNO CALLS

VOICE:      Inggit. Oh, Allah, put an end to my solitude.

SECOND SOLDIER:   He's calling up his ghosts again.

FIRST SOLDIER:         He's babbling. Let him alone.

LIGHTS FADE. END OF ACT ONE.

ACT 2 SCENE 1

INDICATE PRESENT TIME - HARSH LIGHTING

LIGHTS UP ON HATTA AND DIPLOMAT TALKING

DIPLOMAT:       ... it be possible for you to form a government in Sumatra? This may be acceptable to the rebels and the central government?

HATTA:    It is possible - but I will not do it.

DIPLOMAT:       Why not? It would save a lot of bloodshed.

HATTA:    You are concerned at the prospect of Asian blood being shed? How strange. Asian blood has always been so cheap.

DIPLOMAT:       But these are your people - they are Muslim and Sumatran.

HATTA:    All Indonesians are my people.

DIPLOMAT:       Surely you don't support Sukarno in his Guided Democracy idea? It will just make him a dictator with the powers of a Hitler.

HATTA:    If you cannot distinguish between Sukarno and Hitler - and apparently many of your journalists cannot - then you have no knowledge of the two men. No, I do not approve of Guided Democracy, and no, I will not work with Sukarno to implement it. But I will not work with the rebels either. The unity of Indonesia is vital. If we split we will be easy to manipulate.

DIPLOMAT:       What will you do then?

HATTA:    I shall probably go into political oblivion. Forty years is perhaps long enough to struggle.

DIPLOMAT:       Why doesn't Sukarno retire too! He's passed it!

HATTA:    You may think so. The people do not. No, my friend, you want him to retire because no matter what you do he will never sell us out.

DIPLOMAT (DESPERATELY):     There's Nasution!

HATTA:    Talk to the general if you wish. But I'll save you the trouble. He is conservative, but totally incorruptible. Also - sad to say - he is devoted to Sukarno and to Indonesia. So where will you find your Achilles heel?
        
         You think every man has his price. You do not understand us at all. The Army is a political force, led by generals who fought hard and long for independence. Rightly or wrongly they think they have a right to continue their political influence. The only balance to that power is Sukarno. Get rid of Sukarno and the world will indeed see the rivers of Indonesia turn red with blood.

DIPLOMAT GETS UP TO LEAVE, THEN TURNS.

DIPLOMAT:       And Sjahrir?

HATTA:    A spent force. Some influence with the intellectuals. Sukarno does not trust him. He should return to the West - and so should you!

EXIT DIPLOMAT. HATTA REMINISCES AND LIGHTING AND GAMELAN INDICATES PAST TIME.

ACT 2 SCENE 2

DALANG: Ah, oh, troubled are the times,
         The princes are in exile
         far from their people.
         Demons pursue them,
         But their strength grows relentless as the tide
         The gods sustain them in their suffering
         The land weeps for them and remembers.

ENTER SJAHRIR DRESSED IN RAGS. ENTER WOMAN IN RAGS. (DUTCH NEW GUINEA 1934)

SJAHRIR:  What is the purpose of it all? I only intended to help my family and my country. All doubt is gone - I have been recalled to my people. I have been to abstract, too Western. They have been for me, too inert. I despair at their lack of will and petty faults. But now we are one.

AS SJAHRIR SPEAKS A MAN APPEARS AND WRITES 'MERDEKA' SLOWLY ON SCREEN IN RED

WOMAN:  I have been exiled here for ten years - at least my husband has. I followed him, to look after him, but now - there is no point. He cut his wrists and wrote slogans on the wall with the blood. He is quite mad. I am a true citizen - Hail Queen Wilhemina! - now I must find some money to get back to Java. Where is my family? Sir, do you know? Where are they now? How will I find them now? If the malaria comes who will look after me?

SHE WALKS ONE WAY, THEN THE OTHER ON THE STAGE, THEN SITS DOWN AND ROCKS.
         SJAHRIR RESTS HIS HAND ON HER SHOULDER. HATTA ENTERS.

WOMAN:  Hail, Queen Wilhemina! Hail, Hitler!

HATTA:    Woman, are you mad?

SJAHRIR:  Hush Hatta, she is distracted, raving. What are they doing to our people? It is unthinkable - and yet it is true that all the inmates here are tortured without the torturers knowing what they do. They haven't the least idea of the suffering they are inflicting!

         ENTER WOMAN'S HUSBAND, WRISTS BOUND WITH BANDAGES.

HUSBAND:        I escaped once and walked through the jungle to Australian territory. A policeman called Bintang caught me. He asked me what I was doing. I said, 'I came to meet Stalin and Trotsky, and all I find is Uncle Bintang!' Hah! Hah!

         WOMAN EMBRACES MAN. HATTA STIFFLY EMBRACES BOTH.
         SJAHRIR PUTS HIS HEAD IN HIS HANDS

SJAHRIR:  Boven Digul has convinced me - all men at base are brutal animals.
         We've done nothing illegal! Just exercised our right of free speech.
         I know there is evil in the world and that evil men do evil deeds. What I cannot stomach - what I protest with my whole being - is the knowledge that good men do evil things and pretend to themselves that they are good.

HATTA:    I'm only interested in revolution. Good and evil simple are - and we all have to oppose it the best way we can. What's the point of torturing yourself?

SJAHRIR:  Surely they are haunted by the phantoms of the people they send to Digul, the people who die or go mad as surely as if they were tortured in the Hague.
         Don't you care what the great writers thought about these things?

HATTA:    I have a room full of books on politics and philosophy.

SJAHRIR:  No novels?

HATTA:    I regret to admit - I do have one. It was a present.

SJAHRIR:  What strange revolutionaries we are! Sukarno, with his catchwords and slogans - Nasakom - Nationalism -Religion - Socialism - they mix as well as oil and water and are just as bland. And you with your detached determination. And me - waiting for an intellectual renaissance among people who can't read!

HATTA:    Sukarno is sometimes like a child, but his dedication is as great as yours and mine.

SJAHRIR:  Wayang Kulit! Bima! Ardjuna! Pandawas! Kurawas! Fairy Tales!

HATTA:    Be careful Sjahrir - you are falling into the trap of seeing our people through Western eyes.

SJAHRIR:  I agonise over it. I love Indonesia - and I love Holland. Do you know - I am ashamed to admit this - when I went to Holland at 17, I felt I was returning to my home. I was not at all homesick for Indonesia.

HATTA:    That's Dutch schools for you!
         You are making life complicated and you are giving me a headache.

SJAHRIR:  Hatta, do not dismiss me! Listen. A village is in fear of monsters - the people won't come outside. Why? Because there is a new bridge to be built and the monsters will steal a human head to lay in the pillars of the bridge. Nonsense! But they believe it. It is such unthinking superstition that gets crowds to follow Hitler and Mussolini - or wildly celebrate the wedding of a Dutch Princess they have never seen! What kind of Revolution ...

         THEY LAPSE INTO HEATED ARGUMENT AS LIGHTS GO UP ON SUKARNO IN SOLITARY IN 9' x 9' BLACK BOX.

SUKARNO:        Sometimes I am terrified. Sometimes I hear a turtle dove, perkutet, perkutet, as clear as a bell. I jump up and look, but there is just my pet lizard come to beg a grain of rice. No turtle dove.
         And sometimes - sometimes I know I've lost my sanity. I feel my right arm swelling until it fills the cell, and finally bursts the walls, and then slowly, slowly it shrinks back to normal. I think I cannot stand this much longer. Maybe they will break me.

         L'audace, Danton, Toujours L'audace!

         Hah! Hah! On the way to the guillotine
         Marhaen! Will they hang me? Am I forgotten?

VOICE (SHADOW OF PEASANT):       The people are with you.

SUKARNO:        Each Indonesian will call his own his hoe, his house, his small plot of land ...
 
VOICE:      and with gotong royong ...

SUKARNO:        Mutual help - will live with his neighbours.

VOICE:      Bung Karno - more and more land is going to the big owners. We wait in hope for your release.

SUKARNO:        Oh, I will go mad in here, Marhaen. FADE

HATTA:    I'm not moving to Banda Naire. It's a holiday resort compared to this.

SJAHRIR:  We'll die if we stay. My body shakes with the malaria.

HATTA:    Any relenting on my part will be broadcast and as a victory by the Dutch.

SJAHRIR:  You can't help anyone here. They're sending SUKARNO to Flores. That's better than here.

HATTA:    That's because he can't speak the language.

SJAHRIR:  Hah! That should finally shut him up! But Hatta, seriously ...

HATTA:    Face it - we're stuck - unless the Japanese become adventurous it'll be many years.

SJAHRIR:  Oh Allah, no!

ACT  SCENE 3

SURTIKANTI & KARNO PUPPETS (SPOKEN BY DALANG)

KARNA:    My dearest, my worshiped beloved.
         Pale and melancholy is your face,
         How thin you appear.

SURTIKANTI:    My Lord, revered Prince,
         Pity me
         My tortured heart,
         Extend your strong and loving hands
         Save me from my well of sorrow
         Oh ...

         INGGIT SEEN HOLDING HER MOTHER, WHO IS NEAR DEATH.
         SUKARNO DIRECTING A GROUP OF PEASANTS WITH SIGN LANGUAGE - THEIR COMMUNICATION WITH EACH OTHER IS HESITANT THROUGHOUT.

SUKARNO:        Only three days to go. The whole village will come.
         Usman, you are the peasant. Abdul, you are Dr Setan, Dr Devil. Ali Bambe, you are the corpse.
         USMAN HOES WEARILY
         Usman, you are working happily in the fields.

USMAN:   I never work happily

SUKARNO:        For the sake of the play, work happily.

USMAN:   Hah, hah, hah, I work all day. How I wish the day had more hours, so I could work ...

SUKARNO:        Not that happily! and you, Dr Setan.
         MYSTERIOUS WAVING OF ARMS
         You are going to steal the heart of this farmer to implant in the corpse.
         ALI BAMBE LIES RIGID
         Ali Bamba, that is too rigid. You look like you've been dead for a week.

ALI BAMBE:       I have.

SUKARNO:        Well, I don't want that kind of corpse - like this.

         SUKARNO MIMES REPOSE

ALI BAMBE:       That's not very convincing. All the corpses I've seen are blue.

SUKARNO:        You can't be blue. You have to get up after the heart's implanted. Look like you would if you were in a Dutch death notice - 'peacefully sleeping'.
         THEY ACT OUT THE STEALING AND IMPLANTING OF THE HEART.
         That was wonderful. You see? The lifeless body of Indonesia rises and lives again!
         ABDUL, ALI BAMBE AND USMAN LOOK MYSTIFIED.
         Don't worry about it. Your acting is wonderful. We'll have a hit!

         DURING THE END OF THE PLAY, ENTER DUTCH POLICEMAN - PEASANTS SEE HIM AND LOOK FRIGHTENED

POLICEMAN:    And what are you up to, Dr Engineer Sukarno?

SUKARNO:        We're practising a play, sir, for the festival.

POLICEMAN:    I understand you have been teaching the children to sing 'Indonesia Raya'.

SUKARNO:        I have?

POLICEMAN:    Yes. You are fined 5 guilders. Please go to headquarters.

SUKARNO:        Of course.
         POLICEMAN MOVES OFF
         By the way Superintendent, when your fat slob of a spy is following me, would you ask him to keep the proper distance? I understand it's supposed to be 60 metres, isn't it?

POLICEMAN:    Er, yes. Of course. I will.

         EXIT POLICEMAN. SUKARNO USES SIGN LANGUAGE TO HELP THEM UNDERSTAND.

SUKARNO:        He had to wade along behind me puffing and groaning as he held his heavy bicycle out of the water. Then Susu's dogs chased him. The last time I saw him he was standing on the bicycle clinging to a tree in the rice paddy with the dogs yapping at his heels.
         EXIT PEASANTS
         Five guilders! Where will I get that kind of money?

         SUKARNO GOES TO INGITT WHOSE MOTHER HAS DIED. SUKARNO BEGINS TO BATHE THE BODY.

INGGIT:    How can I go on without my mother?

SUKARNO:        Prepare her way with love, Inggit. Find flowers for her hair. She is in paradise.

INGGIT EXITS. SUKARNO WEEPS

ACT 2 SCENE 4

DALANG: In the 12th century, King Djojobojo prophesied
         Java will be occupied by yellow-skinned conquerors
         They will stay for the lifetime of a maize plant
         When the maize ripens and is ready for harvest,
         The conquerors will leave and Java will be free.

         CLASH OF GAMELAN. MARTIAL MUSIC. SOUNDS OF MARCHING. JAPANESE OFFICER ADDRESSING JAPANESE GENERAL 1942.

OFFICER READING FROM OFFICIAL DOCUMENT:
         'Emphasis shall be placed on the acquisition of resources; economic hardships imposed on the native population as a result of these acquisitions must be endured. Pacification measures against the natives shall stop at a point consistent with these objectives'.

GENERAL:         We have already shown our strength - I wish to bring civilian life back to normal. Some of our younger officers do not adhere to the warrior's code. They must discipline their men - Japanese soldiers will have a hand cut off for stealing, and will be beheaded for murder and rape. Make that clear.

         But also tell the Indonesians that discussion of their independence is prohibited until the war is finished. Let the Dutch continue the administration temporarily. We will gradually replace them. Political speculation must stop. The Japanese flag only must fly and only the Japanese anthem will be sung. We need to contact the nationalist leaders, especially Sukarno.

OFFICER:  He is a troublemaker, sir. My opinion was that he would best be left in Sumatra.

GENERAL:         I know - I have studied the situation carefully. We must sound him out - he seems to have great influence. And Hatta - both useful if they will cooperate.

OFFICER:  They may not.

GENERAL:         If they think it is to their advantage they'll use us. From what I have read, Sukarno is a man of iron will who is obsessed with freeing his people and who will not deviate from his path. But he is a politician and if it is to his advantage he will help us.

OFFICER:  I have ordered him brought here. The press are already predicting his arrival and are heralding it is an event of great national importance.

GENERAL:         It all depends on the man himself; either he will cooperate with us or assume the attitude of an onlooker. However, it is forbidden to attempt something against Japan.

ACT 2 SCENE 5

HATTA AND SJAHRIR TOGETHER. ENTER SUKARNO WITH INGGIT WHO LOOKS EXHAUSTED AND SITS IN A CORNER, NEARLY ASLEEP. HATTA WELCOMES HER.

SUKARNO:        Hah! Hatta! History has reunited us. What did I tell you? I am a great prophet, am I not? EMBRACES A RELUCTANT HATTA.
         Sjahrir, still frowning? Plenty of time to read in Digul, plenty of Plato and Kant. Hah!
CONSIDERS EMBRACING SJAHRIR, DECIDES NOT TO.
         Nehru went to prison eleven times. He said he felt like a shuttlecock in the end.

HATTA:    Digul was no joke! You lose many friends with your stupid sense of humour.

SUKARNO:        I am sorry. It was not very funny. We have lost all those years. I can see by your faces it has not been easy.

HATTA:    Harsono (SUMMONS SERVANT) come and take Ibu Inggit for a wash and some food. She looks very ill. And prepare a place for our visitors to sleep. Do you wish to rest before we talk?

INGGIT:    I have something for you.
SHE TAKES OUT SOME STAINED WHITE AND RED PIECE OF CLOTH THE ORIGINAL MERAH PUTIH.
         I took it to pieces so the Japanese would not find it.

HATTA:    The Merah Putih! You still have it.

INGGIT:    Keep it - for the day of independence.

         HATTA GOES TO HUG HER, THEN SHAKES HER HAND. HARSONO ESCORTS HER OFF

SUKARNO:        Did any man deserve such a wife? Without her, my courage and strength are as nothing. If I appear distracted, just remember we have been at sea in an open boat for five days.

HATTA:    Imamura will want to see you. He has already summoned me and I have agreed to cooperate.

SUKARNO:        What is he like?

HATTA:    A fair man, I think. Believes implicitly in the samurai code. He spent time in England as a military attache and fought in the China campaign.

SJAHRIR:  I will work underground monitoring radio signals. They want to use you for propaganda. We feel you should cooperate as much as possible. We'll get our workers in administrative jobs. Then when the Japanese leave, we can take over. Hatta is already working for them and should continue.

SUKARNO:        I may as well use the opportunity to reach the people. I will have to be more careful with the Japanese. Still, I'd rather have an Asian heel on my neck than a European heel!

SJAHRIR:  Pah! It is better to have no heel.

SUKARNO:        True. And I'll accomplish that for my people - soon.

SJAHRIR:  All by yourself.

SUKARNO:        If it was left to you, we'd be slaves forever. Your head is full of words - where's your heart? You're only a young man.

SJAHRIR:  They should banish you again. All you'd need for company is a mirror!

SUKARNO:        I would prefer that you (APPROACHES SO HIS NOSE ALMOST TOUCHES SJAHRIR'S) were not so open in your hatred of me.

HATTA:    No more of this!

SUKARNO:        I do not like that man.

HATTA:    Go to Inggit, we will join you. You are acting very badly.

SJAHRIR:  He is impossible. He has the ego of a Napoleon and his ideas are geared to appeal to the basest in people.

HATTA:    You must trust him. Our time will come when independence is won.

EXIT BOTH

ACT 2 SCENE 6
        
PUPPETS ON SCREEN

SURTIKANTI:    Oh my Lord, my husband. Long have I awaited your return. How unlucky I am to have been forgotten. How sorrow has tortured me in your absence.

KARNO (TOUCHING HER GENTLY): Dearest, do not cry. Please sit and calm your heart.

SURTIKANTI:    Yes, my Prince. Please forgive my tears.

PUPPETS FADE

INGGIT ALONE, WALKING UP AND DOWN. SUKARNO COMES IN.

SUKARNO:        I am very late. I am sorry.

INGGIT:    You are never with me anymore. I wish we were back in Flores.

SUKARNO:        I have work to do.

INGGIT:    You have never neglected me before. It is because I am old. You think 'Aha, she is 53, I am only 4l. She is too old'. You want to be rid of me.

SUKARNO:        It is not true! I have asked you, begged you. Please accept another wife, someone who.....

INGGIT: (TURNS AND THROWS A CUP AT HIM) Someone who can have children!

SUKARNO:        Yes! I have been a good husband for 20 years - is it too much to ask.

INGGIT:    Yes. It is too much.

SUKARNO:        So. If I insist on a second wife, you want a divorce.

INGGIT:    Yes.

SUKARNO:        It is so unnecessary. I could spend time with both of you.

INGGIT:    No Karno. I know it is your right. But I will not accept a second wife. You have chosen already anyway. It is Fatmawati?

SUKARNO:        Yes.

INGGIT:    I will pack. Tomorrow you must take me back to my village.

SUKARNO:        Inggit. Please stay. No-one can replace you.

INGGIT:    Your unborn children will take away the pain in your heart. Who will take away the pain in mine?

SUKARNO:        Stay, I beg you. You have shared half my lifetime.

INGGIT:    I will go. Do not touch me. I will go tomorrow.

         SUKARNO CRIES, PUTS HIS HEAD IN HER LAP, AS SHE SITS AS STONE.

INGGIT:    No more. I can give no more.

         SHE GENTLY MOVES HIM AWAY AND EXITS. HE SOBS, THEN STANDS, AND SCREAMS.

SUKARNO:        Oh Allah, you ask too much of me. I am not a god. Just a mortal. Am I Karno, proud offspring of the Sun God, destined to have my throat torn out by Ardjuna's arrow? No, just a man. How am I to go on? Shall I become Bima, half man, half ogre, full of pride, who bows not even to the gods? Is this what you want? A caricature of a man? Inggit is my life. Inggit cannot have children. A man must have children. Why have you played this monstrous trick on me? Have I not served you well?

DALANG: Sukarno married Fatmawati a l7 year old Sumatran girl. His parents and followers were pleased - now the fruits of his manhood could be born into the world.

ACT 2 SCENE 7

THIS SCENE SHOULD MOVE QUICKLY USING SPOTLIGHTING.
FIRST SLIDE OF ATOMIC BOMB

DALANG: When the war turned against Japan, Sukarno and Hatta were summoned to Saigon, where promises of independence were made for August 1945. They returned on August 15th.

         SECOND BOMB SLIDE

HATTA AND SJAHRIR - SUKARNO LISTENING.

HATTA:    Something's happened - I think Russia must have entered the war against Japan.

SJAHRIR:  There are rumours of a great bomb - like a volcano.

HATTA:    I heard that too. What can it be?

SJAHRIR:  Never mind! We must move fast.

HATTA:    They said the 24th.

SJAHRIR:  It may be too late - if the Allies assume control, the Japanese will not be able to grant independence to us.

HATTA:    If we declare independence now the Japanese may very well crush us, because the Allies will blame them.

SUKARNO:        I think Admiral MAYEDA: will help.

HATTA:    It is risky for him too. Why should he risk his neck for us?

SUKARNO:        Let' s try him. What have we got to lose?If we can avoid violence ...

SJAHRIR:  Always a brave leader!

HATTA:    This is not the time for petty infighting!

SJAHRIR:  The young will not wait!

HATTA:    You must keep them in check.

SJAHRIR:  We must move fast.

SUKARNO:        Pah! You never trust my judgement. Why do you despise me so? It is HATTA and I who face a firing squad for collaborating - and you call me a coward.

HATTA:    If those young hot heads move against the Japanese with their knives and bamboo spears, they'll be slaughtered.

SUKARNO:        Allah be praised - at last you can see what I mean.

PHONE RINGS, HATTA ANSWERS.

SUKARNO TO SJAHRIR: The Japanese want the 19th. I will see MAYEDA. Delay at least another day. We need to know if the Japanese plan to surrender and when.

SJAHRIR:  I want to make the declaration today. There are thousands of guerillas ready to be trucked in to take over the radio station and the military headquaters. What do you want to do - turn them away?
         LEAVES IN DISGUST

HATTA:    The Chirebon group has been crushed and the leaders imprisoned.

SUKARNO:        Magnificent fools! Fools! At least we know our people will fight now! Even with bamboo sticks. We can bring the announcement forward now, without risk of bloodshed. If the Japanese are told to maintain the status quo - the status quo will be - an Indonesian Republican Government.

HATTA:    We must all act together. We have the Japanese information, we must send word to the youth and underground movements. We must get them to wait.

SUKARNO:        They will wait!

HATTA MAKES TO GO, STUMBLES.

SUKARNO:        You are tired, Hatta. Get a few hours sleep.

HATTA:    I must work on the constitution.

SUKARNO:        You need rest.

HATTA:    You need rest too.

SUKARNO:        Hah! I am more robust than you. I am indefatigable!

HATTA:    I will see you tomorrow.

         SUKARNO CRUMPLES INTO A CHAIR, HAND OVER EYES. TWO YOUTHS BURST IN. KAJON WHIRLS.

YOUTH:    Get dressed! The time has come! You are coming with us.

SUKARNO:        Yes - the time has come - for me to get killed! If I lead your revolt, and it fails, my head will roll.

YOUTH 2: Yes, we are sick of waiting. We do not trust SJAHRIR any more - he is dilly-dallying like you.

SUKARNO:        Oh, this is the wrong, wrong way to act. Your toy mutiny is hopelessly doomed! You have spirit, but that's all you have. You need wise tactics and cool heads! I have no definite word of a Japanese surrender.

YOUTH 2: Surrender or no, you must declare independence. Japanese morale is low, their spirit crushed.

SUKARNO:        Wait, my brother, I have longed for this moment too. Independence is only a short step away.

YOUTH 1: Perhaps our great Bung is scared. Perhaps he sees ghosts in the dark. Perhaps he still awaits orders from the Emperor.

SUKARNO:        I have worked at this business of freedom longer than you children. Do not think you can pressure me.

YOUTH 2: The Revolution is in our hands and we command you.

SUKARNO:        Command? Command? Don't you threaten me! Don't you dare command me! You will do what I want. I will never be forced by your will! The power is invested in me, as in the holy kris!

YOUTH 2: If Bung Karno will not pronounce this proclamation tonight, tomorrow will be murder and bloodshed.

SUKARNO:        Here is my throat! Drag me into the corner and finish me off tonight! Don't wait till tomorrow!
         BOTH YOUTHS LOOK MENACING AND THEN BACK OFF.
         I am a mystic. I cannot rationalise it. We move tomorrow, the 17th. Seventeen feels hopeful to me. My inner self tells me, seventeen is holy, it is a sacred number. The 17th. It is God's will!
         Everyone comes to me. I am pulled in all directions. I am the eye of the storm. 'Hey SUKARNO, you put your neck on the line'. Well, if my neck is to be on the line, it will be done my way!
         Now get out!

         THEY RETREAT IN CONFUSION. PHONE AGAIN. SUKARNO ANSWERS. SPOT UP ON MAYEDA:.

MAYEDA: Take the general's position into account. He has been ordered to return the country to the pre-war condition for the allies.

SUKARNO:        Like a nice Christmas present, all neatly packaged and tied with a bow. It is our country you are talking about. Japan has promised us independence.

MAYEDA: We do not wish to have an armed struggle with you. There can be no official declaration but - if it were declared at my house - not strictly Army property, you understand - perhaps?

SUKARNO:        You are taking a great risk. All we ask is that you turn a blind eye. We do not need your official approval. In fact that would perhaps invalidate the declaration. And you may be punished.

MAYEDA: What does my life matter? My country has been annihilated by war and a hideous bomb. The end of the world had come. There are others who feel as I do - who may be ready to help you - even to divert arms and even aeroplanes. Some who may desert and fight by your side. What we do today will affect the lives of millions who long for freedom.

SUKARNO:        You have made the right decision. History will vindicate you. The rebels have been ordered to declare independence anyway if we are prevented and that will mean chaos.

MAYEDA: This is only the beginning - the Allies will do everything they can to stop you when they know of this.

HATTA:    We know - but it is time. We have been fighting for twenty years. It is time.

MAYEDA: Remember - this is against the will of the Japanese Army.

SUKARNO:        We understand. Against the will of the army.

         LIGHT DOWN ON MAYEDA, UP ON SUKARNO, HATTA, SJAHRIR. HATTA PULLS MERAH PUTIH FROM POCKET AND RAISES IT.
         SHOW SLIDE OF DECLARATION.

SUKARNO:        This will not be a long speech, not rehearsal of pain and suffering and poverty. How can anyone find phrases exquisite enough to communicate the sweet sacrifice of thousands whose bodies lie in the unmarked graves of Boven Digul? The answer is - you don't even try. After 350 years, we demand our place in the sun!

         'We the people of Indnesia, hereby declare Indonesia's independence. The transfer of power and other matters will be executed in an orderly manner and in the shortest possible time.

         On behalf of the Indonesian people, Signed SUKARNO and HATTA, August 17th, 1945.'

         KAJON TO CENTRE OF SCREEN

ACT 3 SCENE 1

HARSH LIGHT DIPLOMAT & SJAHRIR

DIPLOMAT:       Perhaps a brief public statement?

SJAHRIR:  Like what?

DIPLOMAT:       That Sukarno is, well, close to the Communists.

SJAHRIR:  Everyone knows that!

DIPLOMAT:       I mean the Russians - and the Chinese.

SJAHRIR:  What does that word mean: 'close'?

DIPLOMAT:       The rumour is the Chinese are sending 100,000 rifles. That's too damn close for my government. Not with Vietnam busting open.

SJAHRIR:  I don't like Sukarno's confrontation with Malaysia or his posturing or strutting. But I am also averse to another country such as your own determining our foreign policy.

DIPLOMAT:       Surely it is within my mandate to encourage, Sutan Sjahrir.

SJAHRIR:  Of course - if you mean 'encourage' not 'compel'. Like
         the word 'close' - slightly ambiguous in its meaning. I'm sorry, sir, you are too late.

DIPLOMAT:       Too late?

SJAHRIR:  Yes, my house arrest is terminated. I am to go into exile, never to return to this country. You are flogging a dead horse.

         LIGHTS DOWN ON SJAHRIR AND DIPLOMAT

ACT 3 SCENE 2

DALANG SPEAKS AS KAJON SHAKES VIGOROUSLY, THEN FALLS TO RIGHT. UDAWA, HORSE & MARCHING ARMY (IRAWAN'S WEDDING) CONFRONT EACH OTHER. FADE
        
DALANG: Beware, Sukarno
         Your struggle is not over.
         The army of the East is defeated.
         The yellow men are gone.
         But a time of disorder ensues.
         The kingdoms of the West vie for your riches, Oh Java, and the time has come to fight.

         FIGURES FADE. SPOT ON A DUTCH OFFICER.

OFFICER:  'The simple fact is that most of the natives were thoroughly satisfied with the Dutch administration and the minority are using the present acutely difficult administrative period to air their plans. The position is that there are some naughty children in the Indonesian classroom. The schoolmasters - the Japanese and the Allies - are being changed and they are both out of the room. And the naughty children are being naughty. The moment there is authority again, they will behave themselves.
         The Indonesians - that is the majority of them - are like children and like children, they play up when discipline is relaxed.
         My view is that the idea of an independent Indonesian state is equivalent to advocting an independent Aboriginal government for Australia. Dr Sukarno is a collaborator, an opportunist, a flash in the pan, with no real support from the natives. The importance of the whole affair has been greatly exaggerated.

         AS HE SPEAKS SLIDES OF '45 REBELLION ARE SHOWN. LIGHTS DOWN ON OFFICER.

ACT 3 SCENE 3

LIGHTS UP ON SUKARNO, SUKARNO'S MOTHER MUTAHAR AND SOLDIER.

MUTAHAR:       The Japanese have looted everything so I have borrowed silver dishes from the Chinese restaurant and white tablecloths from all the neighbours. White stands for purity, cleanliness, holiness - besides, that's all they had.

I.N.R.:        Get on with it, Mutahar.

SUKARNO:        He's wonderful - my officer in charge of protocol! You would never guess he's a sailor who does not know a 21 gun salute from an oyster fork! How do you do it?

MUTAHAR:       I try to remember what the sultans did - or make it up as I go along.

SUKARNO:        Hah! I devote my life to breaking down a 1,000 year old feudal system and my etiquette expert resurrects it!

MUTAHAR:       I have made a list of where everyone will sit. You will be here like this - and I will be here behind the pillar. You must watch me carefully out of the corner of your eye. when I wiggle my finger like this, it means you should stand up. When I blink my eyes, it means you introduce the honoured guest. When I nod, you make a toast. Is that clear?

SUKARNO:        I think so. I hope His Philippine Excellency doesn't catch sight of you.

MUTAHAR:       And your aide. He can stand behind you. What's your name?

AIDE:        Lieutenant Mochtar.

MUTAHAR:       Queen Juliana only rules over 100 million people and her private adjutant is a colonel. You rule over many many more!

SUKARNO:        How long have you been a lieutenant, Mochtar?

AIDE:        You made me a lieutenant one and a half hours ago, Bung.

SUKARNO:        Good. Well, we are a young country and growing fast - you are now a major!

MUTAHAR        I suppose we will have to give a dinner for some Western diplomats soon.,

SUKARNO:        Ah, yes, and they will come in their homburgs and morning suits and call us 'excellency', through clenched teeth. But not tonight - let us enjoy ourselves. Is there wine for the general?

MUTAHAR:       But you don't drink wine.

SUKARNO:        He does.

I.N.R.:        There will be toast but no wine. Only water. He will understand.

MUTAHAR:       You wish to make a place for your wife?

SUKARNO:        No, she is pregnant again and will stay home. she is not altogether comfortable with playing first lady.

MUTAHAR:       She is very young.

         ENTER HATTA, FOLLOWED BY A WOMAN IN PEASANT'S CLOTHES CARRING A SACK. SHE STANDS TO SIDE AND WAITS.

SUKARNO:        The work of a wife is to look after her husband and children and she is an expert at that.
         Greetings Hatta, doesn't the table look splendid?
         You will join us tonight?

HATTA:    I regret I cannot. I have work to do. Have you a
         moment?

SUKARNO:        Of course.

HATTA:    The news from the guerillas is not good - many losses. I don't know whether they can hold out. The British and the Dutch are throwing everything against us.

I.N.R.:        Stupid dinner party! You should all be out killing Dutchmen! (EXIT)

SUKARNO:        They'll hold out - the Dutch will never be able to follow them through the paddy fields and mountains.

HATTA:    The Dutch are becoming more adept at picking our soldiers from farmers. The Dutch can tell by the callouses on their fingers which have been carrying hoes and which have been carrying rifles.

I.N.R. OFF:         Less talk, more killing!

HATTA:    What about supplies? We can't rely on smugglers forever.

SUKARNO:        The Dutch are having trouble too. the Australian unions are holding up their supply ships and the Americans are squeezing them in Europe. India is behind us. It is not a matter of whether, but when. Come and enjoy yourself this evening.

HATTA:    I cannot. My family is waiting.

WOMAN:  Bung.

SUKARNO:        Yes, my dear, what is it?

WOMAN:  A present for Bung Karno!

SHE PULLS A DECAPITATED DUTCH HEAD FROM THE SACK.

SUKARNO:        Are you mad, woman? Are you an animal?

MUTAHAR & EMISSARY PUSH HER OUT. HATTA FOLLOWS, HORRIFIED.

SUKARNO:        Oh Allah, oh my people!

DALANG: The republic was finallly safe by 1949, but not before many were killed fighting first the British then the Dutch as they attempted to re-establish colonial rule. In the fifties Sukarno walked the political tightrope of the Cold War. (CARTOON) Indonesia was a virgin country, courted by the suitors of the Right and Left, and to the world, Sukarno was Indonesia.

         FIGURES OF PANDAWAS AND KURAWAS THREATENING EACH OTHER APPEAR ON SCREEN

         For a while the Pandawas and Kurawas were at peace. The forces of the Right and the Left were in an uneasy balance. But the giants had not finished with Java.

         ARMIES DISAPPEAR. ARDJUNA AND KARNA FIGURES APPEAR AND CIRCLE EACH OTHER WARILY.

ACT 3 SCENE 4

LIGHTS UP ON SJAHRIR AND SUKARNO

SUKARNO:        You know why I have summoned you?

SJAHRIR:  Yes.

SUKARNO:        The rumours of a coup. Are they true?

SJAHRIR:  No.

SUKARNO:        I think you are lying.

SJAHRIR:  I can't help what you think.

SUKARNO:        ( PUTTING HIS FACE RIGHT UP TO SJAHRIR'S)
         Do not push me too far. I am not a man to be pushed. You do not deny that you opposed Guided Democracy?

SJAHRIR:  No, I do not deny it.

SUKARNO:        Then you oppose me.

SJAHRIR:  I have never opposed your ends. It's your means with which I disagree. Parliamentary democracy is essential to ...

SUKARNO:        Parliamentary democracy is a European sacred cow. It becomes a lot of talk and criticism with the parliament being a verbal boxing ring, mere chatterbox. And what is 50 plus one majority but a sure fire way to having half the population angry with you at any one time.
         Indonesia's democracy is not the democracy of Montaigne or Voltaire or America or the Soviet Union. No! it is the democracy which is implanted in the breasts of the Indonesian people and it is that which I have been trying to dig up again. We are not a nation of copyists! American democracy has become free - fight liberalism - where nothing is spared but freedom itself.

SJAHRIR:  As always you speak louder and longer than anyone else. But you're wrong.

         DEWI ENTERS WITH DRINKS, WATCHED BY THE MEN, THEN EXITS.

         Yet another wife, Sukarno. What will satisfy you? You despise me and Hatta, think we are cold fish. But maybe we know more of happiness than you and our satisfaction costs us nothing.

SUKARNO:        When I stop enjoying pretty girls they can put me in my grave.

SJAHRIR:  It's not just girls.
         You must have power - you must have money....

SUKARNO:        You go too far. Power, yes. I have it and the only question is whether I use it badly or well. But money - no. I have never been bought - and God knows they've all tried.
         Look at the Americans. They say to us, 'Here poor, dear poverty stricken brother, have some money - here poor, little underdeveloped Indonesia, we are going to give you aid because we love Indonesia '.

SJAHRIR:  You still think you can hold back the tide. Economically...

SUKARNO:        Hypocrisy! America tolerates Asian countries for two reasons. One, we're a good market. We pay back with interest. and, two, she worries we'll turn Communist. She tries to buy our loyalty. She treats Sukarno like a spoilt child refusing him candy if he is not a good boy. So I say 'To hell with your aid. You cannot buy me. ' I am Bima, Bima's loyalty cannot be bought!

SJAHRIR:  Always the brave leader. What about your people? Do you think you help them by withdrawing from the UN? You'll have them at war soon in this confrontation with Malaysia.

SUKARNO:        Have you seen the Treaty of Formation of the Malaysian state? It says 'The new country will afford Britain the right to continue to maintain military bases and to make such use of those bases as it may consider necessary for the preservation of peace in South East Asia'. Don't you see what this means? The Americans in Vietnam and the Philippines, the British in Malaysia - we are surrounded. It is the 1930s over again. I cannot allow it it happen without objecting in the strongest manner possible.

SJAHRIR:  You are too provocative. You have to get on with them.

SUKARNO:        Britain and Australia have said out nation is going to rack and ruin because of Sukarno. Have I to love such countries?

SJAHRIR:  You have to get on with them.

SUKARNO:        At what price?
         Over the last 20 years, revolutionary activity has engulfed this planet. The West was spared a hot war - not so the Third World. We have endured atomic bombs, our own national revolutions, the torment of Vietnam, the bleeding of Korea, the agony of Algeria, do you wonder that we demand respite from our pain? Twice within my lifetime the Western system has ripped itself to shreds in bitter conflict and I am determined my nation shall not be the plaything of this corner of the world.
         I still have affection for you, Sjahrir, but you are not a direct man. You are too complicated. I do not trust you. I am placing you under arrest for subversion. After a respectable time I will send you to Europe. It is after all your true home.

SJAHRIR:  For all your faults, you are not small-minded, Sukarno. this is not the way to treat one who has travelled so far with you.

SUKARNO:        You have never travelled with me. You have tried to trip me all the way. I will see you are well looked after.

         HE CLICKS HIS FINGERS. THE GUARDS ENTER. SJAHRIR IS ESCORTED OUT, ASTOUNDED.

SUKARNO:        This is the year for courage, for strength, for daring. This is the Tahun Vivera Pericoloso - the Year of Living Dangerously!
        
ACT 3 SCENE 5

DIPLOMAT PICKING UP PHONE TO PUT THROUGH TELEGRAM:      The situation I am placed in is impossible. We have two courses of action. One is to work with the leader of this country, but that would mean economic aid and agreement to transfer sovereignty over West Irian in return for them cutting the Communists down to size. I favour this action. If however you think he is too involved with the Communists to be rescued, then we could probably get him out of office. I want to make it clear that I am willing to do either, provided Washington will follow one policy or the other 100%. LIGHT FADES ON DIPLOMAT. VOICE FADES
         I will be accompanying him to the Moluccas. This may give me an idea...

         BLACKOUT, THEN SLOWLY DRUMS AND GAMELAN START. THIS SCENE TAKES PLACE IN SEMI-DARKNESS. LIGHTS FLASH ONTO SOLDIERS, FRIGHTENED INDONESIANS, EUROPEANS RUNNING, FOLLOWED BY PEASANTS WITH BAMBOO SPEARS YELLING 'NEKOLIM' 'NEKOLIM'. SOME THREATEN, SOME COWER. BLOOD SPLATTERS OVER A WHITE SCREEN AS MACHINE GUN SOUNDS. A CHILD CRIES. MACHINE GUN. THE CRYING STOPS. WHEN THE LIGHTS GO UP, THERE ARE BODIES EVERYWHERE (SLIDE) SOME GROANING. A SINGLE SOLDIER STANDS CENTRE STAGE, WITH FIXED BAYONET.

SUKARNO:        Stop! Stop! this slaughter must cease! I order you to stop.

         THE NOISE AND EXPLOSIONS CONTINUE.

DALANG: Too late, Sukarno. Your time is over. The story is finished.

SUKARNO:        Who are you to tell me my time is over? It is over when I say it is over!

DALANG: You cannot argue with me. I am telling this story. You cannot change the course of history. You cannot stop the slaughter. 500,000 dead, Sukarno, and they are saying it is because of you. You who are too proud, you who concentrated too much power in yourself, you who...

SUKARNO:        Who are yo to talk to me this way? Are you fate?
         Or God? Or just a storyteller? I am the instrument of my own fate.

DALANG: My mistake! I watch in awe!

         LIGHTS DOWN. LIGHTS UP GUARD STANDS CENTRE STAGE, WITH FEET ASTRIDE AND FIXED BAYONET. SUKARNO IN BACKGROUND.

SOLDIER ADDRESSING AUDIENCE:  The Army which was born in the cauldron of the Revolution has never been a dead instrument of the government concerned exclusively with security matters. The Army as a fighter for freedom, cannot remain neutral towards the course of state policy.
         Military governors have been appointed to 20 of the 27 provinces. This is not a matter of the military taking power as such, but rather the assignment of men of known capabililties, who would know how to feel with a security threat.
         The Army recognises the practical necessity of the U.S. presence in Asia for the foreseeble future.

LIGHTS UPON DEWI AND SUKARNO LOOKING ILL

DEWI        Are you not even going to speak to me? You are virtually imprisoned for supporting a party that doesn't exist. It is not like you, to flog a dead horse. Please, Karno, answer me.

SUKARNO SPEAKS WITHOUT MOVING: Without a socialist voice the people are doomed.

DEWI:       Not so loud, husband.

SUKARNO STANDS UP.

SUKARNO:        Hear me, you powers of darkness, hear me! They will rise again! Sukarno did not invent their will to freedom and it will not die with him. Allah, hear me, where are all the young Sukarnos?

         THE GUARDS TRY TO SHEPHERD DEWI OUT.

         I see the way to eternity, Ardjuna, and the way is swift.

DEWI:       Let me go to him. Karno!
         Get away, you lout. He's dying, can't you see...

SOLDIER PUSHES HER OUT.

SUKARNO:        Do you hear me, oh Dalang of the Universe, who will you send to my people now?

LIGHTS DOWN.

FINAL SHADOW PLAY. DEATH OF KARNA.

ARJUNA:  Now, Brother Karna. Open your eyes and tell me what you see!

KARNA:    I see the way to eternity, Ardjuna!

ARDJUNA:         Indeed it is. And the way is swift. Farewell, Brother Karna!

DALANG: Standing proudly in his chariot, Prince Karna, is slain, his neck severed by the magic arrow Pasopati. The lifeless body of Prince Karna is spread out on the ground. King Salja departs for the Kurawa camp, leaving the royal corpse unattended.

         Oh look
         and have pity,
         A thousand sorrows.
         Oooooooooo ...
         All nature weeps.
         Rain washing
         the blood from his wounds
         Hopeless fury
         so great it shakes the world
         No more can he endure

         END

CAST
MINOR ROLES

INDONESIAN GUARD
JUDGE FOR SUKARNO'S TRIAL, 1930
JUDGE'S AIDE
WOMAN IN RAGS
HUSBAND OF WOMAN
INGGIT'S MOTHER
3 PEASANTS - USMAN, ABDUL AND ALI BAMBE
DUTCH POLICEMAN
JAPANESE SOLDIER
1 AIDE
3 YOUTHS - PEMUDA REVOLUTIONARIES
EMISSARY TO PHILIPPINES
MOUNTBATTEN
GEORGE

(This play can be performed by 8 men and 2 women.)

DOUBLING

- can also play.....
HATTA - SUKARNO'S FATHER [RADEN S.S. DI HARJO]
SJAHRIR - SARTONO, MOUNTBATTEN
INGGIT - ''BEAUTIFUL GIRL '' AND DEWI [SUKARNO'S 4TH WIFE ]
GATOT - EXILED HUSBAND, USMAN, ADMIRAL MAYEDA, MUTAHAR, SOLDIER
BOS - JUDGE, DUTCH POLICEMAN, JAPANESE GENERAL, DIPLOMAT, GEORGE
IDAYU NYOMAN RAI - WOMAN IN RAGS, INGGIT'S LMOTHER, FATMAWATI [SUKARNO'S 2ND WIFE], HARTINI [3RD WIFE]
INDONESIAN GUARD [1ST SCENE] - JUDGE'S AIDE [DUTCH], ALI BAMBE [PEASANT FLORES] 1ST YOUTH, SOLDIER[S]
JAPANESE SOLDIER - ALSO PLAYS ABDUL [PEASANT, FLORES], 2ND YOUTH, EMISSARY TO PHILIPPINES, DIPLOMAT'S COLLEAGUE


New: 28 August 1998 | Now: 18 May, 2018