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Rehearsal 10, 29 June 2020

Updated: May 16, 2023

9am – 1pm

Zoom Video Conference

It was the first rehearsal conducted ever since the Circuit Breaker was implemented, and was conducted online due to the stricter social obligations. Since the last rehearsal and test-audience sharing, Haizad has been reviewing, restructuring and reframing the scope of the work, as well as looking at alternative platforms for presentation given the uncertainty of the situation. He shared that as of now, the direction of the work is still uncertain, and will continue to transform throughout the remainder of this process.

Jiwang will now be presented online:

- Showing of a pre-recorded video, which will be shot in Stamford Arts Centre Blackbox

o There will be a 8m by 8m white box taped on the floor

o There will be no sprung floor (which the performers agreed will not be an issue as there are no big jumps in the work)

- Video branching will be used, which presents options of the next clip for them to proceed and will not be able to backtrack

o There is a potential of about 20 different combinations/outcomes; if the audience wants to experience another series of videos, they will have to restart.

- The online showing period will be one month starting in August.

IMG_Video flowchart

The planned flowchart for the videos.

There are not many changes to the roles, except for Daryl possibly having to take on the additional role of lighting designer for the lights in the Blackbox. There will also be 2 videographers included; Hafiz and his friend. Alfian Saat has also been engaged to be the researcher and contributor (he prefers to not be referred to as a dramaturg as it is usually associated with theatre works, and he is not as well versed in dance to be called as such).

Haizad then proceeded to share the refined vision for Jiwang, after also considering the input from the test audiences during the previews:

- The songs have changed:

o Previously all had the same vibe, which might be draining to the ears.

o Jiwang has a broad meaning with different definitions to different generations.

o Now the songs are all centered around the theme of sadness, and are portrayed through a variety of song vibes.

o He admitted that the songs are hard to curate, and there might be some biases in the selecting of songs.

o There will be more focus on the persona of the singers, balancing the “feels and era” between each song, and no longer about simply the band names.

- It will be episodic, following the flowchart

o Between each song there will be a menu similar to the karaoke menu when choosing the next video, and will also include a translator + subtitles at the bottom of the screen.

o There will be 15 songs.

o Some songs might change or be dubbed over during post-editing.

- The performers will each embrace the “jiwang body”

- Songs 1 – 4 will each be a solo by one of the performers

o They are given the option to choreograph the set of movements and be lyrical, however it has to be sad in movement.

o It should not be biographical to the artist, instead embodying the persona and transmitting it through their bodies and movement.

o There are some correlations between the performer and the artist / song assigned to them, which might aid in having a stronger emotional and personal connection.

o They were advised to keep in mind the difference between “acting normal” and “being normal”, and to be sincere & honest to the song

o Xiao Jun’s song was a Malay cover of a song by the Bee Gees

- Song 5: A duet sang by P. Ramlee and Saloma about Loss (of money, of trust, of hope), the portrayal of which is more internal

o Will be a duet by performers.

o Will be the last to be created

o A “loser” will be determined at the end of the song

- Song 6: Pain of waiting + endurance (for an answer, for response, for people to come back

o The “loser” from the previous video will plank for the whole song

o Gestures of waiting for someone in Malay dramas i.e. folding clothes, listening to a pocket radio, applying make-up, eating cup noodles

o Each performer will be in their own spot, carrying out one of those gestures.

o Haizad will discuss the filters with Hafiz, will incorporate something similar to Days Of Our Lives

- Song 7: “Dude songs”; sang by artists who are known to be notorious i.e. drug dealers

o Will be revisiting the umbrella dance concept used previously; some of the movements will be the same, and there might be a change in the counting.

o It will portray the seeking of comfort, protection and reassurance (which is the reason for turning to drugs)

o Will be choreographed by Hasyimah, and the movements will be more graceful and traditional.

- Song 8: Will be the 3 curtain call concept from previous rehearsals

- The square; the performers will show their true selves within the square and pour themselves out inside it, and be more conforming to social standards when outside its boundary.

(Challenges the concept of thinking / being outside the box, or it could be a possible intended inversion)

Haizad then invited everyone to watch the music videos or recorded live performances for the solos / first 4 songs. He pointed out that they were purposely chosen with differing vibes to better retain the audience’s attention.

- Haizad: Pinta by Flybaits

- Syimah: Teringin by Shima

o It was performed in a wedding dress, about the sad story of a divorce

o It seems to relate to Syimah

- Xiao Jun: Perasaan by Anita Sarawak

o Released during Singapore’s hippie era, Agogo

o It portrayed a groovy kind of sadness

- Sharul: Salam Terakhir by Sudirman

o Possibly his final song before his passing

o Controversy over his death; either by AIDS or stroke

o Rumoured to have been homosexual

o Criticised for his lifestyle

- While watching the videos, the performers had small conversations using the chat function

o Singers and performers nowadays lacked individuality, likened to being “manufactured”.

o They were sending links to other videos featuring the singers, and shared additional info about what they knew

o There was a short discussion on the journeys of Siti Nurhaliza and Ziana Zain.

After a short break, Haizad instructed the performers to work with their screens on and work on their solo. It was up to them how they wanted to work or what they wanted to do. They were to then update their findings onto the new Padlet for archival. Each of them were to do further research into their assigned artist, song and its context. As for Xiao Jun, Haizad presented the option for her to refer to the English renditions of the song, to which she preferred Anita’s version, as some of the nuances in the meaning might have been lost in translation.

They then shared their findings and discussed after researching for about 1 hour;

- Sharul:

o Olfactory memory-like: song is hardly listened-to, yet immediately triggers memories when heard

o An excerpt of Sudirman’s thoughts about death through an interview

o Would like to incorporate tepak sireh & batik cloth as personal artifact / legacy

o Keywords: Time, death, mourning, taking time to appreciate life, death & growth

- Haizad:

o Artist was born a Filipino, converted to Islam.

o They were more underground, and Haizad missed their performance at Gegar Veganza.

o He shared a live performance from Gegar Veganza 2019, in which his voice still gives Haizad goose bumps.

o Story of artist losing his 1-year-old and deteriorating health.

o The survival of the artist; every artist has an expiration date i.e. the longevity of the artist.

- Syimah:

o Shima started at 18 and had a band, subsequently went solo and released 3 albums.

o Still longs to create an album.

o Did not win an award for her songs, however got an award for her vocals..

o Still figuring out the relationship with the song.

o The song is heavy.

o Uncovered parallels between Syimah and Shima.

o Keywords: Longing, wanting, hijrah, strength & moving onwards in timeline.

- Xiao Jun:

o Song was written by Bee Gees, was also sung by Australian singer Samantha Sang, as well as sung by Destiny’s child.

o The song is light, along with its renditions, despite the heavy lyrics.

o Song “is” Xiao Jun in a sense; hiding the vulnerability and showing what she wants to show.

o Song is airy at the start, while the chorus is full of emotion.

o She resonates with Anita.

o Shared the story of Anita’s strict upbringing and how she was imposed on her destiny to perform.

o The image of a shooting star; a pretty sight, yet full of destruction akin to a loss of self.

o Image of stagnance.

o Keyword: Contrast – the pulling between airy-ness and weight

Haizad then shared his final thoughts before concluding the rehearsal:

- The performers should try to focus on the dark aspects of jiwang itself even though there are its bright sides.

- He allows expressions that are genuine from within i.e. an emotional dance, even though he admits that it is not his forte and he has not choreographed an emotional piece yet.

- Simplicity is hard to achieve (not asking for a lot might be asking for a lot).

- The next rehearsal will be on 6 July with Hasyimah, yet the performers should start materialising their solos including the filters and direction (which will be with Haizad and Hafiz’s advice).

- Preferably about 75% of the solo should be dancing, portraying emotions through the body rather than the actions themselves.

- The costumes will remain the same.

- Advised to listen to the new playlist.

IMG_Screenshot of Zoom Meeting

First (online) rehearsal after 4 months.

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