The idea, concept and script for the dance piece “Matah Ati” was written by Bandoro Raden Ayu (BRAy) Atilah Soeryadjaya since 2008. Her proximity since childhood to the traditions and culture of her native Java awakened a sense of extreme concern in her to preserve the Javanese culture.
The story is an account of the journey of love and struggle of a female warrior leader named Rubiyah ‘Matah Ati’, who later gave birth to the descendants of the Mangkunegaran lineage. Rubiyah, who was renamed BRAy KUSUMA MATAH ATI by Raden Mas Said was also known as BRAy KUSUMA PATAH ATI. The two versions of her name carry the same meaning in Javanese that is “to serve”. In this case, the author chose the title ‘Matah Ati’ based on the premise that in addition to being born in the village of Matah, it also provides a more positive perspective other than that of a PATAH ATI which can also means “broken heart” in Indonesian and to take on a more noble and true meaning, namely ‘serving the heart of the prince’.
In this piece of work, the author elevates the figure of Rubiyah to a heroine who “fits” the description of 18th century Javanese setting, wherein this figure serves as an example and inspiration to our young generation and for us to realize that despite the traditional and cultural values at that time, the 18th century era gave rise to strong women warrior leaders. Moreover, since the author was born and raised in the palatial Mangkunegaran environment, she saw this as an opportunity to know more about her origins and ancestral lineage, in which her research shed more light on facts that revealed that descendants of Mangkunegaraan indeed originated from the lineage of Raden Mas Said and Rubiyah (BRAy Matah Ati).
The script for ‘Matah Ati’ was written based on extensive library research, tracing back historical leads and archives and relevant interviews relating to facts about the story of Rubiyah and Raden Mas Said. Although it is mostly based on true stories about Rubiyah, the very limited literature and data available on the subject required a long thought process to come up with additional ideas to devise scenes leading to a sensible narrative suitable to complete an art performance.