Hanuman's Jump

Updated: Jul 5

From the epic The Ramayana, with Indonesian rod puppets, for children.

The Wind god will help Hanuman cross the sea to Alenka

Above: Hanuman and his father the Wind God.

I learned wayang golek, the traditional rod puppet theater from Sunda in West Java, as a student in UCSC ( University of California at Santa Cruz) back in the late 80's. My teachers were Professor Kathy Foley, Pak Undang Sumarna and Pak Nano S.

I brought to Israel two shows: "Hanuman's Jump" from the Indian epic the Ramayana, for children and which became part of the repertoire of the Train Theater of Jerusalem, and the other was "Sanghyan Rancassan" from the other epic the Mahabharata, for adults, part of the repertoire of the Bamah Theater of Jerusalem.


Puppets: Original, handmade in Sunda, West Java, Indonesia

Direction and Text: Professor Kathy Foley

Recorded music played by the UCSC Gamelan Orchestra directed by Pak Undang Sumarna

Puppeteer: Patricia O'Donovan

I introduced the Indian epics through puppetry to Israeli children. There was one person telling stories from the epics, but there was no theater and for the great majority- if not for all-it was the first time an Israeli audience saw wayang puppets in action. Some wayang golek puppets exist in private collections, the puppet museum in Holon has a few, but old ones, they stand there with no names to accompany them. Mine were new, absolutely beautiful with their beads and pompons, the excitement of the children after the show was amazing. They would come up to me wanting to watch them closely and begging me to let them hold them.

I also liked the idea of exposing them to a different way of telling stories.

The Train Theater had difficulty selling the show, so I did not perform it very often, perhaps once a month. When I felt my technique was becoming rusty I decided to stop.

Watch my teacher explain the basics of wayang

To read about learning wayang at UCSC and how it influenced my work click here