This article examines corruption in two plays: Bertolt Brecht’s The Threepenny Opera (Die Dreigroschenoper) and Nano Riantiarno’s Opera Ikan Asin (The Salted-Fish Opera). Discussed herein are collusion and bribery and how depictions of these problems in The Threepenny Opera were received by Riantiarno in Opera Ikan Asin. Using this perspective, Riantiarno’s horizon of expectation as he read about corruption in The Threepenny Opera and actualized it in Opera Ikan Asin can be revealed. This study shows the transformations implemented in Opera Ikan
Asin, finding that collusion is more explicit and transparent in Opera Ikan Asin than in The Threepenny Opera. Meanwhile, the practice of bribery is expanded from one perpetrator in The Threepenny Opera to four perpetrators in Opera Ikan Asin. The means used for bribery are also developed; Riantiarno’s horizon of expectation played a major role in the development of his own play. Brecht wrote his play as a critique of the capitalism of Germany’s Weimar Republic while Riantiarno provided it with new context as a criticism of the New Order in Indonesia. The rampant and blatant practice of corruption during the New Order became the reason for corruption being made more explicit and transparent in Opera Ikan Asin. Even though the types of corruption are the same, there is a novelty that is more highlighted by Riantiarno’s drama. In presenting this drama as a whole, Riantiarno used Brecht’s Epic Theater style, which has been combined with traditional theater style. This novelty shows that Riantiarno’s Opera Ikan Asin stands on its own despite its affinities to Brecht’s play.


Bribery, collusion, horizon of expectation, reception

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Kritika Kultura
Department of English
School of Humanities
Ateneo de Manila University

The Philippine Commission on Higher Education (CHED) declares Kritika Kultura as a CHED-recognized journal under the Journal Challenge Category of its Journal Incentive Program.

International Board of Editors

Jan Baetens
Faculty of Arts
Katholieke Universiteit te Leuven (Belgium)

Joel David
Professor of Cultural Studies
Inha University (South Korea)

Michael Denning
Professor of American Studies and English
Department of English
Yale University (US)

Faculty of Cultural Sciences
Universitas Gadjah Mada (Indonesia)

Regenia Gagnier
Professor of English
University of Exeter (UK)

Leela Gandhi
John Hawkes Professor of the Humanities and English
Brown University (US)

Inderpal Grewal
Professor of Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies
Professor of South Asian Studies, Ethnicity, Race and Migration Studies
Yale University (US)

Peter Horn
Professor Emeritus and Honorary Lifetime Fellow
University of Cape Town (South Africa)
Honorary Professor and Research Associate in German Studies
University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

Anette Horn
Professor of German Studies
University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

David Lloyd
Distinguished Professor of English
University of California, Riverside (US)

Bienvenido Lumbera
National Artist for Literature
Professor Emeritus
University of the Philippines

Rajeev S. Patke
Director of the Division of Humanities
Professor of Humanities
Yale NUS College (Singapore)

Vicente L. Rafael
Giovanni and Amne Costigan Endowed Professor of History
University of Washington (US)

Vaidehi Ramanathan
Department of Linguistics
University of California, Davis (US)

Temario Rivera
Professorial Lecturer
Department of Political Science
University of the Philippines

E. San Juan, Jr.
Philippines Studies Center (US)

Neferti X.M. Tadiar
Professor of Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies
Barnard College (US)
Director of the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race
Columbia University (US)

Antony Tatlow
Honorary Professor of Drama
Trinity College Dublin (Ireland)