Dance and Drama
Topeng is a tremendously popular form in Bali, as it relates
local lore and historical tales concerning the royal lineages in scenes of
everyday life. Topeng is also very entertaining, as the use of humor and clowns
in extensive. "Topeng" means mask and the mask dance relates the tales of Balinese
and Javanese ancestors returning temporarily to inhabit the mask.
All actors in Topeng dramas are masked. Nowadays, the main stories, with their princes and clowns, are preceded by a set
of solo mask dances for men - the "topeng keras", or dance of the strong
warrior", the "topeng tua" - a fantastic dance showing the advance of old age in
the king's old counsellor, and the "topeng dalem" showing the king in all his
glory with enough clowns to fill a circus.