2023 Capital Fringe Review: ‘Attack on Tunggorono’ by Marc Hoffman (3 stars)

Traditional Indonesian puppetry is beautifully juxtaposed with current events.

Wayang Kulit is a traditional performance art in Indonesia of intricately carved buffalo hide puppets. It usually features a large bronze orchestra and often relates tales based on Ramayana and Mahabharata, ancient Sanskrit epics of Hindu tradition. Attack on Tunggorono takes this traditional art form and juxtaposes it with current events, resulting in a production that introduces an American audience to a beautiful art.

Playwright and puppeteer Mark Hoffman performs behind a screen backlit by a coconut oil lamp. Though the seating is arranged on risers, only people in the front rows have a clear view. The narrative is told in several “voices,” to differentiate the characters, punctuated with jokes and songs. Scene changes are marked by movement of a “tree of life” puppet that is stationary during the action, paired with a song not in English, but some audience members tittered, so I’m guessing the song is funny.

Stories that have many characters performed by a single operator can be unevenly paced, and this one is. Despite that, because of the beauty of the puppets and the novelty of the form, we’re looking at something really unusual here. That, at least in part, is what Fringe is all about.


Running Time: 75 minutes.

Attack on Tunggorono plays July 20 at 8:30 pm, July 22 at 11:45 am, and July 23 at 1:45 pm presented by Marc Hoffman Shadow Puppetry at Rind – 1025 Thomas Jefferson. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased online.

Genre: Drama
Performer: Marc Hoffman
Age appropriateness: Appropriate for All Ages

The complete 2023 Capital Fringe Festival guidebook is online here.


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