Updated: May 16
7pm – 10:30pm
The preview begins at 8pm, and Haizad used the time before that to add in some final notes before the collaborators prepared for the showing. For now, they will be eating the noodles during the Spoon segment with spoons, following the band name, and some brought up the point that it will be difficult to do so as compared to using forks (however that challenge could signify difficulty itself). As for the Search segment, Syimah would now be singing along to the song through headphones, similar to the very first task they carried out at the beginning of the creative process. After trying the segment with the additional note, the collaborators then used the remaining time to rehearse the Umbrella segment before warming up. The warm up was different compared to most of the warm ups they have had; this time it incorporated facial and vocal warm up in the form of counting to and from 1 and 8 while doing jumping jacks, followed by keeping in rhythm to one song, most likely as a precursor to the New Boyz segment.
The audience members for the first preview were Fezhah Maznan, Fared Jainal & Zaini Tahir, and Haizad gave a brief introduction to the work and the space such as its intended venue and the television screen being a stand in for a projector screen (as well as to ignore the Stage Manager being in their line of sight due to technical constraints.
Observational thoughts and notes from the preview:
- Organic interactions/camaraderie vs Serious tone (with regards to the collaborators/performers:
o The informal interactions they had during the breaks in rehearsal were no longer present, which added some seriousness (and possibly tension or uneasiness) to the work and atmosphere.
§ It was later clarified with one of the collaborators that those interactions they had during rehearsals were not supposed to happen for the actual performance.
- Syimah was squinting her eyes during the New Boyz segment, and it may not necessarily be due to her wanting to see clearer.
- Is the New Boyz segment over rehearsed?
o The movements are somewhat fixed to each collaborator and the intervals they each have are more consistent.
§ What is not so fixed now are the accents and “duration” of each movement.
§ It could also demonstrate the chemistry the collaborators now have with each other.
§ Could this possibly extend to Jiwang as a whole?
- Were the performers warming up/prepping themselves up in between segments?
o Were they taking actual breaks, during the performance, in full view of the audience?
- Fezhah was amused by the umbrella opening at the end of the Medicine segment.
- Fezhah’s relationship with some of the songs were clear as she acknowledged/reacted when some of the segments started.
- Hasyimah and Adi (the Stage Manager) were also entertained/amused at the performers’ actions and expressions, perhaps from seeing them in a different light.
o They tried to contain their laughter or hide from being seen laughing.
- The props that stay in the performance space seem to transform the space into a household; having a kitchen/dining area, living/leisure room, television/screen.
- The live singing of a jiwang song (during the Search segment) added more “soul” into the work.
- Syimah’s spurting of water (during the Iklim segment) added to the pain and serious tone of the work.
- The Fotograf segment could have been portraying recovery, memory, reeling back in (perhaps to reality).
- The audience looked towards Hasyimah to know for sure if the performance had ended (during Bumi Putra Rockers, after the three ovations).
Hasyimah clarified that the performance had concluded and invited everyone to reconvene after a short break. They brought in the snacks from outside and had a post-show discussion/sharing between audience and performers:
- Some from the audience felt displaced, alienated, and overwhelmed
o From the movement and song.
o A sense of emptiness and being separate.
o Not sure what they were supposed to feel and were trying to piece everything together.
- Haizad was asked, “What is jiwang to you?” to which he took some time to answer
o That uncertainty was apparent, as the audience could not determine what was the meaning of jiwang as portrayed during the performance, which could have been a reflection of the artistic direction.
§ The responsibility is on the conceptualiser/artistic director to dissect and deconstruct jiwang for the audience to better understand and grasp.
o It reflected on how the work should have a clear skeletal structure.
o Even though they read the synopsis, they felt that there were no clear markers of the “Malay traits” in the work.
- P7:1SMA’s works tend to cucuk (“provoke”), and that form and function needs to be clearer, which also extends to Jiwang.
- The Search segment was very literal:
o What more can be done?
o There was a comparison between a Malay body and Westernised body as demonstrated by Haizad and Sharul, which has the potential to be explored further.
- The work seems surface level
o There were possibly hints of something deeper.
o How else can the music be deconstructed further?
o Jiwang is dependent on the songs, their titles and lyrics.
o The audiences’ expectations were not met; how else can the explorations go further, to transcend more?
- It felt like the songs went on and on as they were very similar in tone, structure and tempo/rhythm
o It felt like a Malay wedding (referencing the karaoke where the songs are mainly jiwang)
o Why would the audience need to listen to the whole song and watch as the performers continue dragging along their tasks?
§ Especially if there is no twist or it did not lead to something at the end.
- Considering the music, concept and character when coming up with a piece; should Jiwang also draw inspiration from that structure?
- There were different personalities present in the space: body rhythms, nuances/language.
o Should that be predetermined or instead rely on the performers’ reflexes?
o What if they were caught off guard i.e. the sequence of songs/segments are randomised?
- There was a missed opportunity to bring out the jiwang-ness in every day life (karaoke, Ah Lian [referring to Xiao Jun], weddings, a queer mat body) i.e. the portrayal of different forms of jiwang.
- One consideration would be to string together the commonalities between the songs such as their (i) structure, (ii) chords, (iii) melody, (iv) deconstruction and (v) fluctuations in the songs.
o To string together the concept first (whatever it may be) and then choosing the songs, as it is now too linear and predictable.
- The topic of trauma
o From the colonisation of Singapore by the British, domination by the Japanese during WW2.
o Escaping trauma/escapism.
- The Spoon segment was a true expression of jiwang; the other segments felt staged.
- The broader the concept, the higher the range of relatability and possibilities to probe further.
o That also leaves it open to many more interpretations from the audience.
A personal response from the post-show sharing:
What if the audience was not supposed to understand the work completely, like how jiwang as a concept (and it being the title of the work) cannot be explained fully/have the essence of it clearly/comprehensively translated, even by those who think they know or understand what jiwang is, but they have only experienced or fully grasped one form of its expression?