Shadow puppetry (wayang kulit) of Java is known as one of the world’s most complex theatrical traditions. With a multitude of characters performed by a single puppet master (dalang) together with gamelan musicians, and usually lasting all night long, it is an oral form of storytelling of great visual, linguistics, musical and technical complexity. The wayang repertoire is based on Javanese tellings of episodes from the Ramayana and Mahabharata. This performance is called ‘Bima Labuh’, or ‘Bima Sacrificed’.
Bima Labuh focuses on the dignity of the Pendawas, and provides an opportunity for the puppet master (dalang) to present a discussion on philosophical and moral concepts through the varied and rich voices of the characters.