Ludruk is one of the theatrical genres in East Java. It is a form of traditional performance presented by a troupe of actors (or comedians) on a stage, re-telling the life stories of everyday people and their struggles. Its origin is unclear, but it is believed to be dated as far back as the 13th century.
The dialogue or monologue in ludruk are mostly comedic. The actors would almost always use the Surabaya dialect. Although, there would be the occasional guest stars from other areas, such as Jombang, Malang, Madura, Madiun, who each would use a different Javanese dialect. Despite the fact that many different dialects are employed in one performance, as a whole, they are simple and straightforward, making ludruk easily understood by everyone. It is occasionally interspersed with jokes and accompanied by gamelan to form a musical.
Ludruk differs from ketoprak from Central Java, in that the plot in ketoprak is often drawn from Javanese history & legends. Both genres focus on delivering a particular moral message, but ludruk tells stories about everyday life, and mostly that of the underprivileged. It is a popular form of entertainment for the working-class audience.
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