Indonesian tsunami benefit set for Feb. 12 at UC Santa Cruz

The UC Santa Cruz Theater Arts Department will present a special benefit performance for the tsunami relief effort in Indonesia on Saturday, February 12, from 3:30 to 5 p.m. at UCSC's Second Stage Theater.

The event will feature a dance performance by visiting Indonesian choreographers Irawati Durban and Bulan Djelantik, plus Bay Area gamelan players led by UCSC Music Department lecturer Undang Sumarna, and local dancers who have performed extensively in Indonesia.

Santa Cruz resident and Sumatran scholar Sjamsir Sjarif will also speak briefly about conditions in Aceh--Indonesia's tsunami-battered province that was one of the most devastated areas affected by the Dec. 26 disaster that killed more than 150,000 people and left thousands missing throughout southern Asia.

"That part of Indonesia is one of the hardest places to get into because of the insurgency of the last five years," noted UCSC theater arts professor Kathy Foley, who is coordinating the benefit. "Outsiders have been banned for some time because Americans had been going in and writing negative things about the national government. So it has been a complicating factor in relief efforts."

"Getting aid to where it needs to be dispersed is not always a straightforward path in Indonesia," Foley added. "From what I've heard from people in Jakarta, the government is doing everything it can, but the infrastructure is just not set up for the true flow of aid that we would have if it was Florida."

Foley said that proceeds from the benefit will be directed to organizations such as the Indonesian Lions Club International, Doctors Without Borders, and World Vision.

"Our intention is to set up a table that identifies these organizations and allow people to donate in whichever direction they desire," she said. "Because I personally know the individuals involved in each of these organizations, we know the money will definitely get there."

The benefit was organized in conjunction with a student theatrical production that is scheduled to run on campus in February. Titled The Ghostly Goddess and the Sinner Saint: How Islam Came to Java," the production is directed by Foley and features choreography by the guest Indonesian artists. Performances will take place at 7 p.m. (Sundays at 3 p.m.) on Feb. 4-6 and 10-13 at the Theater Arts Second Stage.

"People wanted to do something and we had this opportunity to utilize these guest artists who were already here choreographing and directing a dance/drama for the Theater Arts Department," Foley explained. "And because I was directing the production, I had access to the performing space. So we hope to bring together the campus, Indonesian, and Santa Cruz communities."

Durban, a senior lecturer at Indonesian College of the Arts (STSI) in Bandung, has performed internationally since 1964. A visiting artist at UCSC this winter quarter, she recently presented a seminar for the UCSC Arts Division that included an exhibit of Southeast Asian masks, which are now on display at the East-West Center on the grounds of the University of Hawaii.

"The Indonesians will be very thankful for all the Americans who helped and tried to collect money for the Tsumami victims-not only in Indonesia, but in other countries as well," Durban observed. "Young children were even making cookies and selling them in malls to raise money. We are very impressed and grateful."

"It's a drop in the ocean, but it's doing something," added Djelantik, who has taught Balinese dance nationally and internationally since the 1970s. "It's helping to make the image of Americans in Muslim countries like Indonesia more popular."


The Feb. 12 benefit at 3:30 p.m. is limited to 200 people and seating will be first-come, first-served. Donations are requested. It will be followed at 7 p.m. by a performance of The Ghostly Goddess and the Sinner Saint--tickets for the evening performance are available at the UCSC Ticket Office: (831) 459-2159.