7pm – 10:45pm
The studio was set up similarly to how it would be during the preview. Haizad first described the contents of each Toyogo box with the collaborators and had everyone change into their costumes. He then informed them that the preview will be in Rumah instead of the black box and that the Screen segment had been removed from the work. The preview will only include the audio tracks and will not have any lighting or light cues. He then quickly went through the flow of the work from start till end.
The collaborators then went on to rehearse the Medicine segment, which portrays bomoh (“witch doctor”), nasi kangkang (“love spell using a woman’s menstrual blood”) and supernatural possession. It consists of a “love” story, as well as the involvement of a bomoh, through medicine and magic.
The segment is as follows:
- Syimah will lie down outside the space with a cloth over her face (presumably a corpse), and is carried into it by Sharul and Xiao Jun.
- Haizad then brings in a tray (presumably with his ingredients/tools) and sits near Syimah’s head.
- Xiao Jun comes in with a rice cooker/pot of rice and prepares the nasi kangkang
- Sharul comes in with a newspaper and reads it in the opposite corner.
- Haizad conducts a ritual that brings Syimah to life, who then jumps and moves around in an erratic manner.
- Xiao Jun serves the rice to Sharul, who then plays with himself as she seductively walks away.
- Syimah is sent by Haizad to kill Xiao Jun.
- Her corpse is then brought to Haizad (presumably the ingredient for the next spell).
- Sharul reaches a climax, signified through the opening of an umbrella.
o Which Haizad later pointed out could be a reference to tongkat ali (“longjack”: believed to be similar to Viagra for males)
After rehearsing and refining the segment a few times, the collaborators then went on to rehearse the Slam segment, which represents the time of the Japanese Occupation and the soldiers carrying out their duties.
For this segment, what takes place is:
- Everyone will enter the space while carrying the seemingly heavy pillows.
- They will then stand in a circle, balance a pillow on their heads, balance on one leg and turn on the spot.
- This will continue until one of them drops their pillow, who will then have to kneel with their hands behind their head.
- The rest will shuffle to the side, form a line and execute some “rifle drills” with their pillows.
- They will then march back to the one who “failed” their task and punish them by hitting them with their pillows until the end of the song.
Observational note from this segment:
- The collaborators were exclaiming that their balancing leg was burning.
o The concept of sacrifice came to mind, to end everyone’s suffering by intentionally dropping one of their pillows.
o This could perhaps represent the reluctance and silent suffering of the Japanese Occupation soldiers.
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The collaborators proceeded to rehearse the Search segment, which is to portray the search for identity:
- Xiao Jun reads a book and is undisturbed by everything else that is happening.
- Syimah recalls and practices Zapin
- Sharul does an improvisation using contemporary dance movements and techniques while Haizad tries to follow and keep up to little success.
- Sharul pities Haizad and they both hug at the end of the segment.
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Similarly, after refining the segment, the collaborators went for a full run of the work, from top till bottom, as the structure for each segment has been gone through at least once.
Observational notes and thoughts from the full run:
- The projections from the screen will help contextualise each segment for the audience, as well as act as a cue for the performers in case they lose track of the sequence.
- Hasyimah was entertained by the performers’ expressions.
- Are the breaks in between the segments long enough for the audience to digest/switch from one segment to the next?
o The work is one long narrative told through different approaches and formats.
§ Are they all part of the Malay psyche?
- Haizad’s uncertainty within each segment could have been a reflection of his personal experiences (however it is more likely due to him coming in and out as a performer during rehearsals).
- All the songs chosen in the work have a shared/common melancholy.
- Were the performers’ characters the same throughout the performance?
o Is Jiwang showing different chapters/points of their lives, in a mixed order, similar to Quentin Tarantino films?
- Is Jiwang about Haizad’s personal journey, experiences, struggles and observations?
o Either Haizad himself or generally as a Malay in Singapore
- One might almost feel sympathetic towards the performers, even if there were entertaining moments or funny elements inserted.
- Is the Fotograf segment about their dreams? Reflection/Introspection? Lepak?
- Is it utilising the concept of sympathy body? To somehow have the audience feel sympathy and possibly guilty?
Finally, they had a rehearsal debrief to which everyone shared their thoughts, notes and observations:
- Haizad invited the others to crawl to the nearest pillow during the Fotograf segment to get more comfortable, perhaps as a way to reward themselves for the hard work they put in during the previous segments.
- Should the props be left on stage after each segment?
o A visual remnant for the audience.
o They will need to be more conscious of the space for their own safety.
- The New Boyz segment was considered to be fun yet serious, and PAP-esque.
- At the end of the Exist segment, the font on the screen will dissolve as they are facing the back; during the preview they will be facing the audience as there is no projection screen, and to experiment between the two orientations.
- The Search segment consisted of a scholar (Xiao Jun), the searching of identity through trying out/copying (Haizad and Sharul), and asas/foundation (Syimah).
- Hasyimah stated it was hard to focus on the performers/performance, as the songs were too enjoyable to her.
- The breaks allow the audience to cleanse their mind for the next song/segment.
- The first song/segment, Samudera, helps to set the mellow tone of Jiwang.
- The words on the (supposed) screen help to guide the audience.
- A lot of the sets/routines were in the center of the space.
- Should the year (of the songs) be added to the segment titles?
- Should the cooking of noodles in the Spoon segment be in the corner of the Marley stage instead?
o Could also be used to represent the stereotype of Malays always lepak one corner (“relaxing in the corner”).
- The use of space can be revised further.
- The method of giving the cues/sequence for the UK segment.
- What the audience sees depends on the vision for Jiwang; to seem nice from afar, and to be able to see the struggle on the performers’ faces when near.
- Xiao Jun shared that she felt schizophrenic; to go in and out/jump between characters quickly/rapidly.
- Haizad mentioned that he is interested to see how the human body can recall.
o Should the collaborators then memorise or rehearse the work further?
o To not over-rehearse to keep the performance and process organic; new things will arise, with possibly a different approach each time.
- The breaks expose the performers’ vulnerability, especially since they are closer to the audience in between segments.
- Is there a 4th wall? Possibly even the 5th wall?
o Organic interactions among performers are okay.
o How much are they allowed to let go/shed the performer persona?
§ They are professional strangers working together for the first time to portray the different scenes and characters, slowly getting more comfortable with each other as the work goes by.
- Jiwang has space to go everywhere; it is an entry point to many topics of conversation.
The end of a rather extensive rehearsal.