Pamulangan Dalang Mangkunagaran.

Mangkunagaran Traditional Schooling of Dalang (Dalang – wayang kulit leather puppet master).

Needless to argue that wayang kulit performance is one of the favorite traditional shows in Java and in places with Javanese lineage. All levels of society like it very much. It can be seen in a remote village or in the luxurious halls of dignitaries’ mansions, or in the court Palaces, or even in the Presidential Palace.

The P.D.M.N. guru of dalang, the late R.Ng. Wignyosutarno (Pak Bei Tarno) was a famous puppet master in the 1950 – 1960. The first President of Indonesia, Soekarno liked him very much, notably the way he manipulated Gatotkaca, Soekarno’s favorite wayang figure.

He was a maestro-dalang, with high skill mastering perfectly the wayang story telling, gamelan and literature, humorous and attractive manipulation of wayang puppets. Pak Bei Tarno was a ,successful student’ of Sri Mangkoenagoro VII. He was diligent in learning and as a traditional Javanese he was serious in ‘laku’ (spiritual deed to achieve his goal).

To accomplish the dalang profession, he did meditation in the cave of Panggung for 100 days. It was the late Sri Mangkoenagoro VII, who initiated the learning of wayang puppetry within Mangkunagaran Palace in 1930.

All dalangs have to know well:

Literature, language, grammar, good conduct, politeness, puppetry, gamelan and singing (Sinden) as basic requirement to be dalang of Mangkunagaran style.

The teachings have been conducted thru strict discipline and it was successful, several dalangs had been produced, among other Pak Hardjo Bardjan, Pak Gondo Ngulomo, Pak Hardoko etc.

Since 1950 – the PDMN moved to Punggawan, Jalan. R.M. Said 111. Among the students were Budihardjo, the late, ex Minister of Information, Ir. Muljono, the late and Drs. Djiteng Suparman, Suyatno, his complete name, now is R. Ng. Suyatno Wignyosarono, a Mangkunagaran court employee, in charge of PDMN.

At that time, the length of study in PDMN was 6 years. There were gurus for history, Mahabarata, old Javanese language and gamelan. Nowadays is only 3 years, the lesson is thrice a week, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays afternoon. Every Tuesday Kliwon, as a tradition, there is a gathering for discussion.

All the puppets, the gamelan set and the place, in very simple condition are belonged to Puro Mangkunagaran. Pak Hadi Sudjarwo, was the school assistant. The 68 years old, Pak Wignyosarono is also busy as a dalang teacher in School of Performing Arts, SMKI – Solo and ISI (Institute of the Arts – Yogyakarta).

He is very much concern of the wayang kulit development. As a Mangkunagaran dalang, he remains faithful to ‘Paugeran’ (Doctrine) that wayang performance is depicting a guide to learn and at the sametime a good entertainment. He asks all dalang in performance to use a polite language, avoiding dirty jokes.

( Suryo S. Negoro )

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