Updated: May 16
11am - 2pm & 6:30pm - 10pm
The initial schedule was to have rehearsal from 10:30am till 1pm before heading for lunch. After getting a sensing of the collaborators’ states, everyone agreed to go up to the rooftop swimming pool. Haizad mentioned it helped clear/calm his headspace after thinking so much about the creative process and researching for Jiwang while also providing a breather for the rest. At the same time, it may have also evoked another meaning and embodiment of jiwang, which could have perhaps been prompted by the atmosphere of the space. This was also an opportunity for the collaborators to spend time outside of rehearsal, casually wading and having mini activities in the pool, which was also one of the aims of the residency. One could not help but recall the groups of friends and families gathering near local beaches or lounging at the pools of chalets
An unintentional yet integral part of the process.
Once everyone has had their time and washed up back at the rented apartment, the collective headed out to have lunch. The conversations included some of the topics that Haizad would like to address as part of the work, such as ‘medicine’, which was the word everyone was to ponder about. The collaborators shared stories they have heard from their friends and families or experienced themselves and discussed the possible origins and how those beliefs have been ingrained into the modern way of thinking.
Talking about the different forms of ‘consumption’ over lunch.
After lunch, the collective proceeded to continue on with the rehearsal process. It started off with the Slash segment, where the collaborators were to structure a choreographed “fight” scene with some direction from Haizad, in which Hasyimah stood in for him. Each of their intentions was to kill each other or chop off the others’ heads. They carried out a task (perhaps as a form of warm up) in the form of a laser field, where they have to dodge the “moving lasers” as much as they could.
IMG_9427 Moving in a closely packed field of lasers.
The structure of this segment is to start off with the collaborators continue to have a stare off from the previous segment, Scan. Once there is an impulse, Hasyimah/Haizad will squat, Sharul takes 3 steps back and Syimah stares at Xiao Jun with a fighting stance. 2 duels will then happen consecutively, filled with tension, which can be seen in the collaborators’ engagement of muscles. It then ends off, at least for now, with a collective sequence, in which Haizad will get back to another time. He also wanted to experiment with the different dynamics and speeds within the segment, where the collaborators will engage fast, recover fast, and then re-engage at a slower pace.
The Slash segment, which does not have a fatality yet.
It is interesting to note that the collaborators were rehearsing with prior knowledge of the song and lyrics, evidenced by them occasionally singing along or trying to refrain from mouthing the words. Did that contribute, impact, inform, or interfere with their decisions in the rehearsal process?
They then proceeded to the Scan segment, where they would mostly be having a stare down with a muka bengis (“fierce expression”), with reference to ‘young punks’. When they were giving it a try, there was tension observed through their gaze as they went from one “rival” to the next. Haizad felt that the collaborators could have embodied their characters better and with more depth, so he invited them to watch clips about gangsters in film, particularly from movies such as ‘KL Gangster’.
Character study of Malay gangsters in film.
While they were watching the clips, they imitated the body posture, gestures and signature phrases of the characters from the videos. Equipped with a better understanding of their characters, they proceeded to have another trial of the Scan segment.
There was a staring incident at Winsland house that day.
There was a difference as compared to the first run, and Haizad mentioned that he would prefer a structure to be there in the segment. The collaborators then discussed if they should play it up or exaggerate to bring out their characters even more.
Throughout the rehearsal of the Scan segment, a few thoughts came to light:
- Were the collaborators embodying a character, or was it from within?
- Are rude gestures acceptable in the context of a performance especially when the characters frequently use them?
- Is Jiwang a commentary from a privileged standpoint about those underserved, in other words, poking fun at their lives and their circumstances?
o Satire; where is the line being drawn? Is it synonymous with ‘punching down’?
o The collaborators themselves are not underserved.
o Why do they (the gangsters and/or underserved) act that way? What are the circumstances that led to it?
§ Is them being underserved the cause in the first place?
§ Do all gangsters come from a history of being underserved/put in a less privileged position?
The final part of the rehearsal was to go through the Umbrella segment, which is mainly headed by Sharul. The segment consists of mainly Malay folk dance repertoire, with the usage of umbrellas as props, perhaps to add weight, significance and legitimacy to Jiwang (depending on the audience).
A segment going back to Malay folk dance.
However, unlike conventional Malay folk dance practice, Sharul and Syimah swapped gender roles. Would that still make the dance gendered, non-gendered, or neither of it and instead be an interweaving of gender? The most general term would be to use the word ‘gender neutral’, and this topic could potentially branch off into many other conversations. Apart from that, were the steps/routines purposefully, or coincidentally in synchronicity with the jiwang music? Is that a testament to the dance repertoire, adaptability/flexibility of jiwang music, or both, or none at all?
An unconventional presentation of Malay folk dance with umbrellas.
Observational thoughts from the rehearsal:
- Jiwang songs are mainly about heartbreak and romance, yet the songs seem to fit the many scenarios, even though they each have varying intensities and intentions.
o Does that allude to the fact that jiwang is indeed, a human condition?
- The adaptability of jiwang music
o Is it an association to Malays?
§ Do I, a Malay, see the connection/relevance because of my cultural upbringing?
-This work pays more attention to the music/is driven by the music and broken down by 8s in some segments as compared to other works.