Agus Noor: The King’s Speechwriter
Butet Kartaredjasa is one of the most respected stage actors in Indonesia. In the late 1990s, the press labeled him the King of the Indonesian Monologue for his impeccable impressions of presidents Suharto and B.J. Habibie. But behind every great actor is a great writer, and Butet’s writer is his longtime collaborator Agus Noor.
Agus has been writing for Butet since the actor’s early theater days, which were also the turbulent times just before the fall of Suharto. These days, Agus is a scriptwriter on Butet’s political satire program, “Sentilan Sentilun,” which airs on Metro TV.
He is also heavily involved in Indonesia Kita, a group that stages cultural performances around the country. On Tuesday, Indonesia Kita presented its latest work, “Mak Jogi,” a musical comedy written by Agus, at Taman Ismail Marzuki in Central Jakarta.
Agus was always a voracious reader, and in junior high school he started writing his own stories and sending them out to local and national newspapers.
“As soon as a short story of mine was published in Mop, a magazine distributed to schools nationwide, my name became known and my Bahasa teacher, Mrs. Widiyati, started to give me more attention,” he said.