Matthew Isaac Cohen

Matthew Isaac Cohen is senior lecturer in Drama and Theatre Studies at Royal Holloway, University of London. His articles on Southeast Asian performance have appeared in New Theatre Quarterly, Asian Theatre Journal, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, and Archipel. As a practicing shadow puppeteer, he has performed in the United States, Europe, and Asia.

Listed in: Asian Studies · Southeast Asian Studies · Anthropology · Gender Studies · Theater - History and Criticism · History · International History · Asian History · Women’s Studies · Literary Studies

Photo of Matthew Isaac Cohen

Winner of the 2008 Benda Prize

The Komedie Stamboel · Popular Theater in Colonial Indonesia, 1891–1903
By Matthew Isaac Cohen

Originating in 1891 in the port city of Surabaya, the Komedie Stamboel, or Istanbul-style theater, toured colonial Indonesia, Singapore, and Malaysia by rail and steamship. The company performed musical versions of the Arabian Nights and European fairy tales and operas such as Sleeping Beauty and Aida, as well as Indian and Persian romances, Southeast Asian chronicles, true crime stories, and political allegories.

“This book makes an important contribution to the literature both on Indonesian theater and on the cultural history of the Netherlands Indies around the turn of the twentieth century. It is meticulously and thoroughly researched and written in a clear, fluid, accessible style.”

Barbara Hatley, author of Javanese Performances on an Indonesian Stage: Theatre, Society, and Politics in Central Java