Sunday, 30th September '07

Bum Communication

I would love to start writing this entry without this need to self-vindicate my own "cleverness", but I really can't help it. What the heck, it's my blog, and I'll cry(myownpraises) if I want to:

Check out the duality in that entry title, and with a little applied literature skills, I think you'll figure out why the words "Bum Communication" describe both yesterday and today rather aptly, albeit in different ways.

The following is all written with tongue firmly in cheek, by the way.

JAMUAN Bisu ...Paradis_e...

I reproduce the title of the performance piece EXACTLY as it was written on the posters, programme booklets and other assorted paraphernalia. I do so, so that you might see exactly how ATAS this performance was. When you notice that the producers of the piece see fit to insert two triples of periods and an underscore into the a title that's already a mix of the Indonesian words for "silent devotion" and one English word, you should also expect to be watching something not quite palatable for the layman.

The incomprehensible title (seeing as most Singaporeans don't speak Indonesian, or commonly use "..." and "_" in their written language in such fashion) also resulted in a grand total of TWELVE tickets being sold for the one-night-only, finale performance of the Dance Reflections series of concerts. TWELVE. Out of a UCC Hall that seats about, say, 1200 people?

This therefore explains how the motley crew of us, Jiamei, Jess, Amy, Ali, Glen, Jennifer and I, ended up with complimentary tickets to the show. CFA cannot sell tickets so give away free lor.

Here's an estimated timeline of how things went down that day:

1900hrs -- Time dictated that we should collect tickets for show to begin at 2000hrs. No one turns up on time, obviously.

1920hrs -- Arrive to pick up tickets for Amy, Jiamei and me. See Virgenia hard at work in UCC Usher gear. Think Virgenia very funny-looking, in a good, cute sort of way. Goes to pick up tickets at FOH counter. Bump into Chun, also picking up tickets under Blast! reservations.

1922hrs -- Chun and I espy Zaini and Adi at Nicole's. Arrival of Zaki and Anthony the Costumes Man. Feel small and unimportant. Proceed to discover how food at Nicole's is "very not nice".

1938hrs -- Note arrival of minor celebrity (at least where we're from), Jeffrey. He probably doesn't remember that I dance in his item three The Next Waves ago. Oh well. Internal squeal anyway.

1945hrs -- No sign of Amy or Jiamei, even though Amy supposed to be able to make it on time. Oh dear.

1950hrs -- Last call for getting in the doors. Proceed to leave Jiamei's ticket at the counter since Amy barely arrving.

1952hrs -- Spot Ali, Glen, Jenn and Jess. Company! Whoohoo.

1953hrs -- Glen creates a flurry of activity at the FOH counter trying to exchange tickets so we're all together-gether. In the meantime Jess, Amy and I do the mad females-all-move-in-packs dash to the toilet. Jess takes significantly longer to emerge. Amy and I decide we pee faster when wearing skirts. We RUN to the doors. End up at wrong door. Run back to right doot. Pant.

1957hrs -- Arrival of Jiamei in the nick of time. But her ticket's already been replaced at the FOH! Gasp. Jiamei runs to collect ticket.

2000hrs -- Show time! After all the drama that's already unfolded, don't know how much more the show can add to the excitement.

2001hrs -- Man and woman on stage. Spotlight. Typically atas contemporary, writhing, twisty arm movements emanating from torso. Dramatic incomprehensible music. Very uncomfortable to watch, especially since Tall Man in Red Sports Jersey sitting right in front of me and I have to sort of stick my neck into Amy's headspace to watch. More writhing and some man-crawling-through-woman's-legs sort of moves.

2007hrs -- Writing continues. Think this piece is Possessed by the Soul of Juraimy. wink Though uncomfortable to watch, is not unenjoyable either. Clearly, man and woman dynamic is the theme, and it's got to do with the struggle for dominance. Woman wins first, man wins eventually. Woman crawls of stage in rather creepy fashion. Crane neck to see, because Tall Man still in front, dammit.

2009hrs -- More women come around writhing and doing weird moves. Music becomes very, um, atmospheric. Sounds of flies buzzing around carrion object makes me want to swat at something I know clearly isn't there. Am forcefully reminded of Dolby Digital Sound advertisements in the cinema. Consider that UCC sound system surprisingly versatile, considering the UCC folk otherwise behave, as Dan calls it, as if they were running the "University Cannot Cannot". Writhing movements become less fluid and a little more... frenetic, perhaps. Am liking the style of Short Haired Angmoh Dancer from Spain. Fierce. But otherwise, still not very comprehensible.

2011hrs -- Two females do a two person bit. For several minutes. Suddenly at the end they jump, and EJECT WHAT I CAN ONLY IMAGINE TO BE VOMITERS out of their mouths in perfect unison. Audience gasps appreciatively. The stuff splats on the floor. My Highlight of the Night.

2017hrs -- Decide to just enjoy art for art's sake. Comprehension is for the Philistines! *deadpan laugh*

2019hrs -- Man walks out on stage and writhes. Jess makes whispered comment, "HERE COMES MAYA". Much giggling expresses agreement. Turns into pas de deux with two men, one wearing an Javanese? headgear which Ali later teaches me represents status. The programme booklet seems to say it represents suffering and burden. Like I said, blush no comprendo, amigo. Pas de deux actually visually quite stimulating, and their musicality (especially since music very very strange and beatless) is impressive.

2022hrs -- Ali is strangely motionless. Amy leans over to ask, "Is he still awake?" I look over and Ali makes sudden movement. I reply, "I think so."

2023hrs -- Amy says, "It's very Juraimy, hor?" I nod enthusiastically.

2039hrs -- Finally some ensemble work. Very much more palatable. Still failing to understand the story, Amy and I decide to analyse why the single Japanese female dancer in the group looked like she didn't belong. Funny images appear on segmented screen at the back of the stage. Begin to be reminded of mixed media work during the The Necessary Stage TFYE days and how much I hated it when they tried to bring video and pictorial imagery to stagework.

2041hrs -- A kettle emerges, and someone pours something into a guy's mouth. Kettle later used in ironing motion, and I can only assume this to be a commentary about enslaving of women.

2043hrs -- Glen falls asleep. crazy For real.

2045hrs -- Ensemble work continues, but focus on 4 females dancing, while the strange Jap girl sort of walks in weirdly and walks out again twice. Amy makes a few remarks about that. razz

2053hrs -- Jap girl comes out with kettle, and proceeds to pour what's either salt or rice on stage floor. I suggest maybe her diminished role in the previous segment was going to be made up for by a solo. Amy disagrees. Jap girl is joined by all the others, and Amy says she told me so. Jap girl pours salt/rice in a circle and everyone gathers around the circle and dances traditionally in oriental looking ways.

2057hrs -- Projector screen focuses in again an zooms out to an image of the Earth from outerspace. Earth spins slowly. As dancers slow down and lights fade, spinning Earth comes to a stop with Indonesia facing the audience.

2059hrs -- Curtain call, lights up. Applause.

2100hrs -- Glen says in excitement, "So Juraimy!!". I agree this is the perfect way to sum up the hour.

Well, cut back to the outside and we're all trying to make some sense of it. Ali proves (to me at least) why he's the Literature major and I'm the unartistic lawyer. I wonder why "Juraimy" seems to be the only descriptor we can find to express our identification with the piece. Is it because he's been our only exposure to this genre of, oh I don't know, theatre/dance stuff? Perhaps we're all so used to flowing music and pretty movements we only see this style and immediately lump them all together under a convenient heading we all can (by virtue of a shared history) relate to. Or maybe there's some subconscious element of storytelling or what'sits that we're sensing that made this work strike us in the Juraimy sense. Or maybe we just use it as a term for whatever we don't understand. Only further exposure will tell.

Which I why I decide to, inspite of our immensely fun hanging out at the 2amdesserbar till rather late, turn up for the Gerard Mosterd masterclass on Saturday.


Gerard Mosterd Masterclass



en ying snapped a shot of life @ 12:26 am
[well, the pictures aren't going to take themselves!]




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