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SATURDAY

Like most of Indonesia, Java is officially Muslim. Much of its art and culture, however, is rooted in the epic lore of its previous dominant religion, Hinduism. Gods, demons, and human heroes clash in the shadow-puppet plays known as wayang kulit, derived from such ancient Sanskrit epics as the Ramayana (and used to ominous effect in Peter Weir’s 1982 film, The Year of Living Dangerously). In Indonesia, the music, ritual, and narrative of shadow-puppet plays can last all night, but this weekend’s performances by American puppeteer Marc Hoffman have been tailored to U.S. audiences: They’ll run only about 90 minutes and will be in English. The action will be accompanied by the Gamelan Ensemble of the Indonesian Embassy, which plays music on tuned-percussion and other instruments, in the Javanese style; Java’s gamelan music shares the shimmering timbres of its Balinese cousin but proceeds at a more stately pace. There is also a performance on Sunday, May 5; tonight’s program begins at 7 p.m. at the Embassy of Indonesia, 2020 Massachusetts Ave. NW. $25-35. (202) 232-1400. (Mark Jenkins)