Contributor: Brenda Laurentia Dago (@brendadago)
On November 29, 2019 even the rain and terrible Friday night traffic would not stop me and Ovie from attending JPAC’s production, Company, in Salihara Theatre. What I love about this theatre is that it is very intimate with only about 250 seats, and you get the best view wherever you sit. It’s a new experience for us with blackbox theatre. This Tony-winning Sondheim musical comedy revolves around Robert, a 35-year-old single man who is unable to commit to a steady relationship, let alone marriage.
Other than Robert being the highlight of the story, there are 5 couples — his best friends who light up the stage with their own quirk and charisma. In addition to that, we will see 3 of his girlfriends, each with their own life story and experience. Everything is linked in a celebration of Robert’s 35th birthday.
Getting married has always been some people’s life achievement since the older days. Even in this modern world, you are still expected to get married or you will be pitied upon. It’s very interesting to see how a serious prolonged matter is being presented in a comedic way. Leave it to Sondheim to package the whole thing so brilliantly unique (but totally expected!). The plot does not follow any particular chronological order, which leaves the audience to their own imagination and interpretation. It keeps the audience thinking while being entertained at the same time.
Perfect for a blackbox performance, the props and setting were minimalistic and versatile which enhances the efficiency of the stage space. It can describe the situation or Bobby’s feeling perfectly within a small space. A box platform can turn into a bed, acrylic panels sometimes used as doors can be rearranged into a building scenery. Nevertheless, it does not give you a sense of lack of detail, in light of the fact that the props are dynamically moving to the music or while the audiences are hysterically laughing at some peculiar actions. The lighting fills the set with colors diffused by the acrylic panels which gives balance and focus to the casts. Honestly i think they can perfect their 90% score if it weren’t for the black men and the time it took to install some of the sets.
The cast members are very well picked, suitable for each character and their chemistry are undeniable. Each couple is eccentric in their own way it’s so hard to pick a favorite. I love Sarah for her Karate Chops, Joanne for her constant cynical face, sweet Kathy, rapper Amy and April for her dumbness. However there are some characters who stand out for me. Jenny for instance, played by Angelica Heidy. Her acting was unquestionable, she looks as if she really was stoned on stage. Susan played by Nuraini Cynthia Dewi was also a gem of the show with her Javanese accent and warm personality. And there was Marta played by Micha Pardede, spiced up the night with a twist in “You Could Drive a Person Crazy”. The boldness really caught my attention and every scene Marta’s in, was memorable.
Most of the cast are familiar faces, but not Jhony Johannis who played Robert. It was his musical debut, but he gave a very calm and smooth performance. His expressions and reactions were very promising and natural, just like what an experienced actor would do. The casts’ accents and pronunciation are very clear for the audience to understand and enjoy the complex storyline.
I must raise my glass to JPAC’s Company performance, cast and crews. It is well-delivered involving perfect amount of joke that has been altered to Indonesian market without any noticeable technical issue. A memorable show it sure was.