What a taboo title -definitely not something you would want to see during this 7th lunar month being the Hungry Ghost festival. But it turned out to be a very entertaining evening.
Imagine at the graveyard when the last sermon has been read and last rite has been performed and it is now time to lower the coffin into the hole and lo and behold, horror of all horrors, it was then found that THE COFFIN IS TOO BIG FOR THE HOLE!
We really don’t know what to expect when we bought the tickets for the show. Is it a scary show with blood sucking ghosts? Are we going to be frighten out of out wits unexpectantly? And what is this butoh dance?
The Nyoba Kan International Butoh Fest 2015 was held at Publika from 14 to 23 August.
Butoh is a form of Japanese dance theatre that encompasses a diverse range of activities, techniques and motivation for dance.... The commons features are playful, grotesque imagery with taboo topics.... They are traditionally performed in white body makeup with slow hyper controlled motion. (wikipedia)
We decided to have our dinner at Plan B before the show.
Our pasta dinner meal: Spicy Lamb Spaghetti- minced lamb with tomatoes sauce (not in photo), Spicy Duck Confit Spaghetti- shredded duck confit, kaffir lima leaves, bunga kantan and fried chili padi, fragrant and piquant, very appetising indeed
lastly Wild Mushroom Linguini- varieties of mushrooms –buttery, garlicky with the “woody” mushroom aroma.. yummy.
Our dessert: Warm soft and moist chocolate cake dripping with chocolate sauce and ice cream…dreamy.
and thick black coffee...
There is no fixed seatings for this show and the total number of spectators for each show was 120 only. We gathered at the Boulevard for the prologue- the first venue for the show.
A stage with large revolving screens at the center of the boulevard.
The protagonist’s grandfather has died and he is bothered that the coffin is too big for the hole. While the strands of violin music were played, a dancer (Mimi Jeong) was seen flitting in and out of the moving screens.
(BTW these are international acclaimed dancers and musicians and artists).
Then we were divided into 2 groups and we followed Mr. Lee who lead us to the next venue – the Black Box. We watched a 30 minute dance/mime performance by Mimi Jeong and a white “Big Bird”. I find her mesmerising to watch, her movements were so controlled yet fluid. (No photography)
We were then taken around the venue and these are the articles used for producing the sound effects- fantastic!
We next proceeded to The Square where both groups came together for the butoh dance.
again the controlled dance movement
As the dance ended, we split ways again. We went up to the Balcony to an enclosed empty shoplot. In front was the protagonist with his “dead” grandfather. Here, he question us what could he do as the coffin is too big for hole while the grandfather sang in Cantonese Opera style.
photo taken before the show began.
There are subtle questions about our relationship to the authority. Its provoking question- does that means there is only one hole? Do we have to conform to that only one rule?
To quote:- “In Malaysia how often is someone penalized for not conforming to an expectation, for being different, and simply for being herself or himself?” read more in The Star2 19/8/2015.
The protagonist gave an provoking example:-
A farmer has 9 white sheep. One day he notice that there is a black spot on one sheep. So he thought, "I will remove it so that nobody would notice the black spot.” So he shaved the fleeces off. Of course, that naked sheep stood out like a sore finger. So the farmer decided then to shave the rest of the sheep! It just takes another lie to cover the lie and in the end??
at the end of the show, we were ask to help to make a decision.
The coffin is too big for the hole, what next to do? Maybe:-
a. dig a bigger hole
b. get another coffin
c. cut off the wood at side of coffin to fit the hole
d. cremate the body
e. get an extra plot of land
(I can only remember these suggestions)
walking towards the White Box.
Finally both groups met again outside the Artemis Art gallery (next to the White Box) for the final captivating butoh dance!
Epilogue inside Artemis Art Gallery.
The lady in red is a former Malaysian butoh dancer too... visiting from the States.
Oh... I almost forgot to mention that we saw another famous actress who acted in scary horror films and since she was on low profile, so nobody disturbed her nor take any photos of her.
Beauty and Strength sculpture by Jasmine Kok- a series of Corset concept
The FACET art exhibition at the gallery- a collaboration of 5 talented artists.
parli.men by Poojitha Menon
I like this piece of art and to share a quote that I read from somewhere:-
"what do you do if you can get only one channel and you don't like what's on that one?"