A new website has been launched for Kritika Kultura at https://ajol.ateneo.edu/kk . This site will be archived on 31 May 2022.

From Bertolt Brecht to Nano Riantiarno: Corruption in The Threepenny Opera and Opera Ikan Asin

Isti Haryati


This article examines corruption in two plays: Bertolt Brecht’s The Threepenny Opera (Die Dreigroschenoper) and Nano Riantiarno’s Opera Ikan Asin (The Salted-Fish Opera). Discussed herein are collusion and bribery and how depictions of these problems in The Threepenny Opera were received by Riantiarno in Opera Ikan Asin. Using this perspective, Riantiarno’s horizon of expectation as he read about corruption in The Threepenny Opera and actualized it in Opera Ikan Asin can be revealed. This study shows the transformations implemented in Opera Ikan
Asin, finding that collusion is more explicit and transparent in Opera Ikan Asin than in The Threepenny Opera. Meanwhile, the practice of bribery is expanded from one perpetrator in The Threepenny Opera to four perpetrators in Opera Ikan Asin. The means used for bribery are also developed; Riantiarno’s horizon of expectation played a major role in the development of his own play. Brecht wrote his play as a critique of the capitalism of Germany’s Weimar Republic while Riantiarno provided it with new context as a criticism of the New Order in Indonesia. The rampant and blatant practice of corruption during the New Order became the reason for corruption being made more explicit and transparent in Opera Ikan Asin. Even though the types of corruption are the same, there is a novelty that is more highlighted by Riantiarno’s drama. In presenting this drama as a whole, Riantiarno used Brecht’s Epic Theater style, which has been combined with traditional theater style. This novelty shows that Riantiarno’s Opera Ikan Asin stands on its own despite its affinities to Brecht’s play.


Bribery; collusion; horizon of expectation; reception

Full Text:


DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13185/KK2021.03606