I La Galigo: Stage Production

The stage production of I La Galigo was performed as dance/theatre. There was no spoken dialogue.  Staging, music, chanting, singing and limited super titles advanced the action and told the story. 

The I La Galigo theatre program contained an outline of each scene and quotes from the original text in English.

I La Galigo was translated from the original ancient Bugis language into Indonesian by Dr. Mohammad Salim.  Dr. Salim worked closely with Rhoda Grauer to develop the storyline for the stage production and identify quotes for the program book.  The quotes were  translated into English by Ms. Grauer.

Prologue: Ending and Beginning  
The Middle World is emptied. I La Galigo objects: "Wait! If the Middle World comes to an end now, who will remember the legend of Sawérigading? I am his son, I La Galigo. Give me time to tell the story of my family and the gods." So begins the book of I La Galigo.  
Scene One: Creating the Middle World Scene One: Creating the Middle World
The gods of the Upper and Under Worlds agree to send their children to populate the Middle World. They are not Gods if there is no one to worship them. Patotoqé, supreme god of the Upper World, orders his son Batara Guru to descend to the Middle World. Guru ri Selleq, god of the Under World, instructs his daughter Wé Nyiliq Timoq to ascend to the Middle World. Descendants of the gods, they become the Rulers of the Kingdom of Luwuq. As they wed, scores of their cousins and servants join them in the Middle World. The Goddess of Rice brings fertility to the land and the people. All the women on earth give birth except the Queen. The sun had just risen
in the Upper World,
it was early morning in Senrijawa,
the sun was brigtly in Rualletté.
Slowly opening his mouth,
Patotoqé spoke,
“Why, children, is it so quiet
under the tamarind tree?”
Rukkelleng Mpoba,
Ruma Makompong,
Sangiang Mpajing, Balasanriuq,
the guards of the hundreds
of fightingcocks in Rualetté,
bowed as they answered,
“We swear by the palms
of our hands,
our throats are as fragile
as the skin of a garlic clove.
We pray we will not be cursed
by my lord for our answer.
There is no one
who honors Patotoqé,
there is no one in the Middle World.
Why don’t you send down
one of your children
to give shape to the face of the earth
so the world will not be empty.
You are not a god
if not even one person
beneath the sky,
on the face of the earth,
calls Patotoqé, Lord. ”
Looking at his wife, Patotoqé said,
“Let us send down Batara Guru,
our first born child, to the face
of the earth, Datu Palingéq.
to prepare him to become king
of the Upper World,
to rule forever
his peers, the descendants
of the gods of the sky.”
Scene Two: Birth of the Twins and the Omen Scene Two: Birth of the Twins and the Omen
Ceremonies are ordered to help with the difficult delivery. Bissu priests insist that offerings of blood must “flow like rivers”. The people battle. At last a set of Golden Twins is born. Sawérigading, destined to become a great warrior king, is born in full armour. Wé Tenriabéng, his sister, destined to become a priest, is born in Bissu regalia. An oracle warns the parents that their children are destined to fall in love. To avoid incest, which would trigger the destruction of the Kingdom, the twins are separated at birth. They must never meet! They can have everything in the world but each other. The babies talked within the womb.
Sawérigading, little king of the belly,
said, “Let us lie down, dear little sister
Wé Tenriabéng, inside our mother’s
womb, let us die together in the womb of
the Queen Mother.”
Wé Tenriabéng replied,
“Do not lie down, oh brother
Sawérigading, inside our mother’s womb.
Go out, dear brother, I will open the path
first.” The descents of the gods, husband
and wife, listened to the disagreement
inside her belly.
Sang Manurunnge spoke,
“Please come out, Sawérigading, come out,
dear La Maddukelleng, emerge
Wé Tenriabéng, do not just stay there,
oh Daeng Manuttek, cuddling inside your
mother’s belly. Quickly now, come out, oh
Langipaewang, don’t stay there cuddling.
Enjoy the battle that is being fought in the
The Queen, Wé Datu Senngeng, pushed
hard three times, and out came the baby
raja, son of the king onto the golden mat,
swattled by the wet nurse, placed on the lap
of the royal shaman.
Bowing down, the royal shaman spoke,
“My hair is standing on end, oh My Lord,
your servant’s body is shaking, because there
is no umbilical cord, as you could see, after
the baby was born. Indeed, he came out
with a golden dagger, a golden sword, in full
battle dress, wearing a golden crown,
his long hair shimmering with Bulubeppaja
Before the royal shaman, Wé Datu Tompo,
finished her words, Wé Datu Senngeng
pushed hard three times, and out came
the baby daughter of the king onto
the golden mat, swattled by the wet nurse,
placed on the lap of the royal shaman.
Bowing down, the royal shaman spoke,
“My hair is standing on end, oh My Lord,
your servant’s body is shaking,
look, the baby raja does not have an
umbilical cord, My Lord.
Indeed, she is already fully dressed.
Her head is wrapped in a scarf
shimmering with golden ornaments.”
Wé Datu Tompo spoke,
“Actually, the ceremony for her birth
in the Upper World, has already been
Wé Tenriabéng became a Bissu
before she entered her mother’s womb.
One day she will find her mate in the Upper
World and marry Remmangrilangi.”
Scene Three: Exploring the World Adegan Tiga,
As the twins reach maturity, Wé Tenriabéng is hidden in a secret area of the palace and Sawérigading and his cousins are sent off to sea to explore the world. After an unhappy effort to bring to life the soul of a beautiful young woman trapped on the island of the dead, a dejected Sawérigading is told that the most beautiful woman on earth - his twin - lives in a secret part of the palace in his native land. He

clandestinely returns to find her. Scene Three:
Exploring the World
I La Datunna, Sawérigading ’s cousin,
responded, “It is clear, dear little raja,
you were a twin inside the belly of the
Queen, ruler of Sawammegga.
Then you were separated inside the palace
until one day you were summoned to
Makammu, the place where the souls of
the couple, descendants of the gods reside.
Wé Tenriabéng is the name of your sister.
Daeng Manotek is her title, Bissurilangi is
her nickname, she is a Bissu in Senrijawa,
she speaks with the voice of a person from
The juruk ulaweng ceremony was held
without your knowledge, noone beneath the
sky or on the earth was invited. Only some
people from Luwuk were invited and some
from the frontier of Watamparek.
The reasons you were separated in the
palace is becaused Sri Baginda decided
to put you together with you sister in one
bamboo cradle. Those born as twins must
be kept from being together in one room.
I will would never allow them to look at
each other unless he was already married
with a bride of his status, and she was
already married with a man of her status.
Not until you are grown up can you meet
her, or you will fall in love with the sister,
who shared one belly with you, your twin.

Keindahan dunia
Scene Three,
The wonders of the world
I would already have killed him.
No man at all can even dream of
reaching Mangkutu.
But poor Welenreng, the descendant of
Patotoqé from the Upper World,
the crown prince of Sianauntoja from
Perettiwi, comes to chop you down
to make you into a golden ship
so that you may be sailed to Cina,
to find Wé Cudaiq, who is of his
noble rank.
Thus, Welenreng, your death is near,
you destiny even before you were born.”
The sounds of lamentation came from
the skies again, all the children of
the gods that live on the summit of
the Wélénreng,, cried,
“Take pity on me, my lord from the
Uppper World, I will be ruined in this
world if the Welenreng tree falls.
I can already see people coming
with their golden axes from Luwuk.”
Thousands of marempoba birds had
gathered together and began to mourn.
Their voices echoed as they all cried,
“This is truly is the end of your life
dear bettao bettawannge wood.”
The sound of lamentation thundered
of all the different kinds of wild birds
and animals that lived in
the Welenreng.
The feathers on the backs of their necks
stood up, the sounds of their mourning
trembled through the night and into the next day.
Scene Four: Forbidden Encounter Scene Four: Forbidden Encounter
Arriving at the palace, Sawérigading uses his magical powers to put the court to sleep and sneak into Wé Tenriabéng’s chambers. Sawérigading is overwhelmed by the extraordinary beauty of his sister and declares his love. She too is immediately struck by him but rejects him explaining the curse that would befall the Kingdom if they were to love each other. Sawérigading leaves her chambers only to encounter his father. He begs for permission to marry his sister. “Your pleasure cannot be put before the Kingdom. No.” Sawérigading shifted his positin to sit in
front of his sister. Smiling, Sawérigading
“Are you a being from the Upper World
who has descended, or a being from
the Under World who has risen to this
We Tenriabéng replied,
“I hAve not come down from the upper
World, nor have I come up from the
UndersWorld, My Lord, I began life right
here in this palace. You and I, My Lord,
are golden twins from the same womb of
the same mother, the Queen, ruler of the
kingdom of Sawamegga.
We were born on the same day,
slide through the same golden channel,
laid down atop the same golden mat,
swaddled in the same, finest sunalewa
cloth, placed gently by the midwife
onto the laps of our divine parents.
I am told you were cradled by our father,
and I, My Lord, was tended by our
Sawérigading replied,
“No, it is not possible, I do not have a sister.
Two babies were not born from the same
womb of my mother, the Queen, Wé Opu Sengngeng”
Scene Five: Distraction and Devastation Scene Five: Distraction and Devastation
Sawérigading goes off to distract himself with women and cockfighting but he cannot forget Wé Tenriabéng. He begs his father for permission to spend just one year with her. If not a year, a month, a day, an hour! “Not even for the blink of an eye,” his father replies. “No!” Almost crazy with desire, Sawérigading decides that if he cannot have his sister, others must suffer the same pain he is feeling. He starts fighting with, punishing, and killing the people of the Kingdom. The only person who can stop him is his sister. In the midst of the chaos, Wé Tenriabéng appears. Sawérigading spoke,
“If, in truth, there is no possibility
for a man to marry his sister,
give me permission, My Lady,
to free myself of this passion,
for my little sister Wé Tenriabéng.
If I can be with her
for only a few nights,
I will be separated from my beloved.”
Wé Opu Sengngeng said,
“You may not repeat that
Sawérigading, not even in a dream,
can you defy the taboo
against being together,
brother and sister,
because you will bring
disaster to your land,
your people will die
your country will be destroyed.
Even half a day,
for just the blink of an eye,
it is not possible
to marry your sister.”
A storm of fury covered
the face of Sawérigading.
In reply to his parent’s
words, he said,
“Just let everyone die,
let all the people of the villages
be destroyed
as long as my wish is not granted, my greatest desires not fulfilled.”
Scene Six: Princess in a Thumb Nail Scene Six: Princess in a Thumb Nail
Wé Tenriabéng emerges from the palace. Everything disappears and the twins are alone. She asks why Sawérigading wants her when he can have anyone on earth. “It’s your beauty, your face, the curve of your back, the glow of your skin,” he says. “If it is just my body you desire, there is a solution. Look into the nail of my thumb and you will see the face of our cousin, Wé Cudaiq, who is my exact double. She is the princess of Cina and destined to be your bride.” Wé Tenriabéng casts a magic spell in which Sawérigading dreams of making love with Wé Cudaiq. Still reluctant to leave his sister, Wé Tenriabéng vows that, should he not fall in love with Wé Cudaiq, she will take him back, no matter what the consequences. He agrees to leave but does not have a ship mighty enough to take him all the way to far off Cina. With a smile, Sawérigading spoke,
“Where, oh little sister,
may I see Wé Cudaiq for myself ?”
Turning, Wé Tenriabéng chanted
a mantra, three times she murmered
mystical sounds.
Wé Tenriabéng spoke,
“Come here older brother
and look at the vision I conjure with my
magical power. If she is not there,
have had their roots severed forever. The twins say their final
farewells with the promise that, while they cannot be together,
perhaps their children will marry. Wé Tenriabéng ascends
to the Upper World, the final stage in her transformation
into a Bissu priestess. Vowing never to return to Luwuq,
Sawérigading and his fleet set out for distant Cina. Wé
Tenriabéng’s tears fall from the sky as a gentle rain on
Sawérigading and his fleet.

Adegan Enam,
Kesaktian Wé Tenriabéng mengkreasikan visual
kepada Wé Cudaiq
Scene Six,
Wé Tenriabéng’s magic conjours a vision of Wé Cudaiq

Scene Seven: The Tree  
With the help of the gods, the mighty Wélenrénngé, the largest and most sacred tree in the world, is felled, sinks to the Under World and emerges as a fleet of ships. Sawérigading begs forgiveness from the tree for having to chop it down, and vows never to return to Luwuq. He and the tree both  
Scene Eight: Destiny Denied Scene Eight: Destiny Denied
In Cina, Wé Cudaiq, surrounded by her ladies-in-waiting, is primping and fussing over herself. Upon arriving
Sawérigading sends his trusty bird to spy on Wé Cudaiq. The bird reports back. She is even more beautiful than Wé Tenriabéng. Sawérigading asks the King and Queen of Cina for their daughter’s hand in marriage and starts to send an endless bride price to the palace. Wé Cudaiq’s ladies-inwaiting mistake one of Sawérigading’s cousins for him and report back to their mistress that the man she is being given to is an ugly, dirty barbarian, an uncouth slob. Though she looks exactly like her cousin, Wé Cudaiq’s character is the opposite; she is selfish and vain. Afraid to look foolish marrying an ugly barbarian, she rejects the marriage. The bride price is quickly returned. Sawérigading’s cousins convince him he must fight for his honour and the honour of his people. He agrees on the condition that Wé Cudaiq not be hurt. Almost everyone in the kingdom is killed. Wé Cudaiq’s father convinces her that she should marry Sawérigading or he will just take her as his concubine! She agrees on the conditions that the kingdom is restored, all the warriors be brought back to life, that they do not have a public wedding, and that she never has to receive Sawérigading during the day or look him in the face.

Crying, Wé Cudaiq said,
“I’ll agree, dear brother, to follow
through with the marriage to
Toapanyompa if La Tuppucina,
La Tuppugellang, my nannies, all
come back to life, my parents’ greatest
warriors, all come back to life,
as many of my parents’ faithful
servants as their greatest warriors,
also all come back to life.”
I Wé Cudaiq spoke,
“Listen to what I say, La Renreng,
La Makkasau, I call upon you to tell
the one of the golden ship he is
permitted to come to me tonight, but
must leave before daybreak.
The complete wedding celebrations will
not take place. the marriage will not
be consummated.
Later, at midnight, when he comes to me,
he must put out his torch, he must not
light the lanterns, royal instruments must
not be played, no guidance by lawolo,
no welcome from Puang Matoa, no
putting his hands on my golden pot.
Drop the crossbars to the seven walls

around my room, lock everything.”
Scene Nine: Strange Love Scene Nine: Strange Love
Wé Cudaiq enfolds herself in seven sarongs, locked behind seven heavily guarded gates, and refuses to meet Sawérigading. Sad and dejected, Sawérigading does not want to force himself on Wé Cudaiq, but the wind carries a message to him from his sister who has been observing him from her home in the Upper World. “Wé Cudaiq is your destiny. You must pursue her. I will help”. Two magical cats sent by his sister from the Upper World help Sawérigading make his way into Wé Cudaiq’s room. He visits her night after night. Though Wé Cudaiq comes to enjoy their nightly adventures, she still refuses to look him in the face and insists he leave her chambers at daybreak. Finally, convinced he will never win her heart, Sawérigading retires to another kingdom and does not return to her chambers. But Wé Cudaiq is already pregnant. She conceals her pregnancy, and when the child is born instructs her servants to “throw him to the river, feed him to the dogs, I never want to lay eyes on that child of the barbarian!” Sawérigading takes their son, I La Galigo, and brings him up. Wé Cudaiq spoke to him,
“Sawérigading, I have not
changed my mind, I am not less disgusted
being near a man from Luwuq, laying
next to a Bajo, sharing a sarung with a
man not of my own country.
I cannot hide my feelings
about having a husband whose
mustache is snarled, a man with long hair
all over his body, enough to fill an entire
rice silo, whose lips spew out twisted
words that nobody wants to hear,
a man who eats only at night, a man who
eats only snakes in his own country,
whose clothes are not made out of a good
Wé Cudaiq stepped back, grumbling as
she withdrew. Words of anger fell from
her lips as she spoke,
“I have not changed my mind, I need not
describe my disgust a second time.
In the future, some other Wé Cudaiq will
have to accept having you with her in one
sarung. I will not be made the wife of
someone from Luwuq or lie down next to
a Bajo, sharing a sarung with someone
who is not from my own country.
That is the why I refuse to share
a sarung with you!”

Adegan Sembilan,
Kucing Miko-miko dan Méompalo
mempersatukan Sawérigading dan Wé Cudaiq
Scene Nine,
The cats Miko-miko and Méompalo unite Sawérigading
and Wé Cudaiq

Scene Ten: I La Galigo and the End of the Middle World Scene Ten: I La Galigo and the End of the Middle World
Years passed. Alone and lonely Wé Cudaiq learns that her son has grown into a beautiful young man and she longs to see him. A huge cockfight is arranged which all the men in the Kingdom must attend. Seeing I La Galigo and Sawérigading, Wé Cudaiq is overcome by their beauty. “Who is that child and who is the magnificent man with him?” She says to her father, ““He must have been sent by the gods especially for me.” “That is your son and the man is your husband, Sawérigading, whom you tormented and rejected.” Wé Cudaiq lures her son and husband to the palace. Finally, standing together, face to face in the light of day, Wé Cudaiq falls madly in love with Sawérigading. I La Galigo, an arrogant and spoiled young man, now lives alone. He is a rascal, a womaniser and a bit of a bad loser. While he is roaming from island to island, marrying many women and stealing other men’s wives, the voice of Patotoqé is heard. All the descendants of the gods must return to Luwuq for a family reunion. I Wé Cudaiq spoke,
“I’ve heard people talking.
They say that child, I La Galigo, is just
too beautiful, and rumor has it, he is
terribly arrogant, has no respect for his
peers, and, what’s more, when he speaks,
his words are more clever, more elegant,
than those of all his uncles. How strong
is my desire to see what that child of
mine is like.
I also want to hear my little prince speak.
But I cannot help but remember my
hurtful words about to the man from
Epilogue: The End and the Beginning  
Unable to forget his sister, Sawérigading breaks his vow and returns to Luwuq. The twins’ plea to be allowed to see each other again is granted and Sawérigading and Wé Tenriabéng meet. Suddenly the voice of Patotoqé informs all that the Middle World will be purged. All descendants of the gods must return to the Upper and Under Worlds. Sawérigading becomes the ruler of the Under World; Wé Tenriabéng becomes the ruler of the Upper World. The Middle World lapses into chaos. After many years, it is determined that Sawérigading’s daughter and Wé Tenriabéng’s son will be sent to the Middle World. They will fulfill their parents’ vow, marry and become the new rulers of the Middle World. The rainbow along which the gods