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Much More than Mud Wrestling: Mepantigan @ Green School Bali

by Susi, 2 May 2009


Something very strange is going on up at the Green School in Bali. Strange and wonderful. Every full moon the school hosts the most extraordinary performance evening on the Island of Bali, called Mepantigan. It’s impossible to describe, but I shall try. Imagine a troupe of talented local lads and lasses doing drama and martial arts and irreverant yet pointed comedy in a mud-filled rice paddy, with lithe young Balinese girls throwing hale and hearty lads splat on their backs in the muck, and all manner of other mud-merriment, but with music (mostly bamboo) and plenty of fire (from torches, mouths, and the fiery energy of the performers). That’s a snippet of the multi-media-mud-laced magnificence of this madness. Must be seen to be believed.


Oh, and did I mention that it’s: a) traditional, b) a legit martial art, c) sacred, d) musical, e) theatrical, f) beautiful, and g) to benefit the boldly innovative Green School?

I hope I have mystified you enough to get you to make a move to the Green School campus on 9 May for this Mepantigan extravaganza, starting at 6:30pm (prompt). Come a bit earlier if you want to explore this amazing campus, and see bamboo structures that will make your head spin and your heart sing. The setting is a pure tropical ecological fantasy, but it’s REAL. And the Mepantigan is unlike any other “entertainment” on earth. What’s more, this entertainment is really, really on EARTH, meaning in the MUD. Audience members often feel compelled to join the mud-mania, so wear sensible safari shorts or a miniskirt or better still a sarong, just in case.


This month’s full moon is a remarkable one, and so will be the Mepantigan. For 9 May, this fire and mire blowout is entitled “Om Namo Buddhaya: A Celebration of the Full Moon Waisak Ceremony in the Ayung River”. Oh my goodness. As if mud were not enough, they are adding a Cat and Mouse Kecak (fire dance), long-bamboo stick music and dance, and a special performance in the Ayung River under their bellisimo bamboo bridge (above), with a Dayak Stones Dance (from Borneo), and all manner of other merriment.


An entrance fee of Rp 100,000 gives Access All Areas enjoyment (including coconut juice and cassava chips), and there’s a splendid healthy grilled fish buffet dinner on offer at additional (modest) charge throughout the evening (delicious and filling and all you can eat, served on banana leaves and bamboo platters). It’s the most outrageously aesthetic, insane, earthy, wholesome evening one could ever hope to have. It’s unbridled joy for all ages, from babes in arms to crusty codgers (believe me on this one, I took a crusty codger last month, and he was so rejuvenated, he found himself dancing in the mud with lusty joged girls, despite his Jermyn Street finery, and he’ll never forget it, nor shall I, and his gout disappeared miraculously as a result and hasn’t returned since).


To make a booking and get a map to the location (in glorious natural moonlit surroundings somewhere midway between Ubud and Seminyak), email See you there. Do bring your mud-fins and snorkel. And a big appetite for fresh grilled Bali ocean fish and organic rice and veg dishes extraordinaire en plein air.

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