Randai, the popular folk theater tradition of the Minangkabau ethnic group in West Sumatra. which incorporates music, singing, dance, drama and the silat martial art. Randai is usually performed for traditional ceremonies and festivals, and complex stories may span a number of nights.
It is performed as a theatre-in-the-round to achieve an equality and unity between audience members and the performers. Its uniqueness lies in the presentation of the shape of a circular pattern. Closeness between players and spectators, make Randai very familiar with the community. In each performance, spectators may be interrupted dialogues delivered or may be cheering for the players to give passionate players
Randai played by a group, usually, one Randai group numbered 15 to 25 peoples. Technically, Randai performances are a synthesis of alternating martial arts dances, songs, and acted scenes. Stories are delivered by both the acting and the singing and are mostly based upon Minangkabau legends and folktales such as Kati Alam, Samsudin, Siti Bariah, Alam, Saedar Siti Janela and others. Randai originated early in the 20th century out of fusion of local martial arts, story-telling and other performance traditions. Men originally played both the male and female characters in the story, but since the 1960s women have also participated.
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