THEATER AND MARTIAL ARTS IN WEST SUMATRA: RANDAI AND SILEK OF THE MINANGKABAU by Kirsten Pauka. Athens: Ohio University Center for International Studies. 288 pp. Paper $26.00 Scholars of Asian theatre will welcome Kirsten Pauka's detailed introduction to the West Sumatran form randai in her book Theatre and Martial Arts in West Sumatra. Since most writing on Indonesian performance centers on a limited number of Javanese and Balinese forms, it is illuminating and refreshing to read about an equally complex yet relatively unexamined performance genre from West Sumatra. Pauka's book considers the relationship between randai and the indigenous martial arts form silek, placing randai in the same category as other martial arts forms such as Indian kathakali, Javanese sandiwara, or Thai khon. This is the first book-length treatment of randai in English, and it is a significant contribution to our understanding of the form. The book begins with a brisk introduction to randai as the principal folk performance genre of the West Sumatran Minangkabau people. Pauka's approach to randai is systematic and thorough. She provides basic background information about the matrilineal Minangkabau culture, its customs, and its syncretic blend of Islam and animism. The author describes randai as
Asian Theatre Journal – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: Sep 1, 2000
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