Silicon Valley strategy consultant Sramana Mitra interviewed Robert McKee for her Web site recently.
“… I have done research in that area. I have some sense of it. In the old tradition which goes back thousands of years, you have troops of entertainers who travel around Indonesia to this day. They put up a stage and put on stories for a village. Depending on how much money the village has, they are prepared to put on stories for a year. They do it 24 hours a day. You can get up at 3 a.m. and go down to the stage, and there will be a performance with other people having a drink.
“Those performances are on three levels. There are the comics who interrupt and comment on the stories and interact with the audience. They make fun of the stories they are watching, and they get their material from the newspaper each day. The second level is stories of heroes and heroines with their servants. They are generally stories of love and adventure. There is a third level which are stories of the gods and the gods intervening, or not intervening, in the lives of humans on the second level.
The three tiers interact to a point, and as I said they go on 24 hours a day. When I first started to research Southeast Asian storytelling I thought, ‘My god, this is unique! There is nothing like this anywhere in the world!’ That was until I talked to a professor who knows Indonesian culture who said ‘No, that is not unique. That is television.’ …”
(h/t — Mystery Man on Film)