Directed by seasoned theater director Djaduk Ferianto and based on a script written by Agus Noor, Hakim Sarmin fails to deliver a satiric punch line describing Indonesia’s society. It instead relies heavily on triggering cheap laughter by using excessive amounts of shallow, sexist jokes, most of which center on the exploitation of a woman’s body.

The play portrays a fantasy realm in a time when nearly all of the nation’s judges are being treated in a mental institution. Those who were not institutionalized are rumored to have been murdered and their bodies thrown into a lubang buaya (crocodile pit) — clearly a reference to the infamous site of a mass grave containing the remains of Indonesian army generals who were murdered during the 1965 massacre.

The head of the institution, Dr. Menawi Diparani (Susilo Nugroho), believes that all judges were overcome with madness and therefore need to be institutionalized. Meanwhile, inside the institution, judge Sarmin (Butet Kartaradjasa) is planning a revolution to topple the government with his fellow patients. Sarmin believes that as judges, they have a moral obligation to become the sole owners of truth and justice, and people outside the hospital are endangering the country because they are no longer monitored by judges.


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