Calonarang Performance on Tanah Lot Art Festival 2009 PDF Print E-mail

Active ImageThe calonarang performance will showed on Opening Ceremony Tanah Lot Art Festival 2009 on May 30, 2009. It may be the bewitching hour on the first night of the full moon, when long shadows spread like phantoms on the ground, that village crowds gather round a clearing near the temple of the dead to watch the drama of Calon Arang, the widow-witch of Girah. Every Balinese knows the legend of Rangda as CaIon Arang, a favorite in local folklore.

Long ago, when Airlangga was king, there lived a widow, Calon Arang, who gave birth to a child in the jungle. The child grew up to be the famed beauty Ratna Menggali. Caion Arang wanted tier daughter to marry a prince from airlangga's palace, butdespite herbeauty, no prince came. Angefed by this, the widow learned the art of black magic and practiced it against the kingdom, causing many people to die. When Airiangga heard of the epidemic in Girah, he consulted his high priest, Mpu Bharadah. The priest sent his son to ask for the hand of Ratna Menggali. Calon Arang was pleased by the offer. The plague subsided, and the couple wed.

Calon Arang had in her possession a lontar (palmleaf book) of black magic teachings. Her son-in-law one day found it and gave it to his father, who then deciphered the formulas to the widow's secret powers. When Calon Arang discovered Mpu Bharadah had learned her secrets, she was enraged and declared war upon him. The priest had no choice but to fight and, in a deadly struggle of sorcery, destroyed the widow by casting a spell. Before she died, Calon Arang asked forgiveness. Mpu Bharadah absolved her deeds and showed her the way to heaven

The story has many variations, and no two Calon Arang plays are exactly the same. Essentially, the play is a drama of magic that serves as a powerful exorcism of evil spirits aligned with the witch-queen Rangda. By dramatizing Calonarang as Rangda atthe heightof hermagical powers, it is hoped the performance will gain the witch's favor and appease her appetite for destruction.