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The life of a river


Surreal. Humbling. Hopeful. These emotions emerged after we presented "River Meets Light" at Prangin Canal.

An ambitious production, and at times overwhelming due to inadequate resources, "River Meets Light" took place only because of the sheer focus and commitment from the entire team.



Given only the day before to fully utilise the site for rehearsal, we had to quickly overcome technical hiccups, unfamiliarity of the space, and many unforeseen elements from the surroundings (like a shophouse fire down the street during the middle of the second performance). But with a supportive and energetic audience of a few hundred people on both nights, River Meets Light came together to share the story of what has been lost at Prangin Canal.

“The experience of being led around the available space, the artifice and rawness, the dust, stones and fetid smell, the original and trite materials mingled with snatches of actual audience conversations, made this a very good entertainment indeed.” - A generous comment from one audience member that was shared in The Star.


Together with the team of River Meets Light, we are truly grateful to the many people who joined us on both evenings at an unconventional location for a performance, amidst the foul stench of the canal. And thank you to those who came forth with their well wishes and encouraging reviews.
“Imagine an essay being torn apart into pieces. River Meets Light is styled in a way that it is not a linear performance. We are not telling the story from A-Z, but rather stories in fraction. You can interpret the different pieces at the moments you capture it,” explained our Artistic Director, Chee Sek Thim. "We want to create a sense of curiosity throughout each scene. We want the audience to ask what’s happening next? What emotions are evoked?"


Special appearance of our national poet laureate, Datuk A. Samad Said, reading his poem about our rivers, as his son, AZ Samad, plays guitar.

Entering the abattoir: an installation by Lisa Foo, our installation artist and initiator of The River Art Project. She put together this amazing larger-than-life cocoon with a small team of volunteers in less than three days.

Many of Lisa's installations represent her frustration with our rivers. "Our plastic-filled and poisoned rivers are slaughterhouses for all the creatures inside. Do we not care for them?"


Reenactment of the once bustling Sia Boay market - uncovering a part of George Town's history. With this community lost, what will become of the remaining communities in George Town?


Plastic creature? Based on the design of the dragon dance - a cultural symbol of Penang.

The plastic creature samples the water in the Canal and is poisoned by the toxic sludge. The beast grapples for life as death nears. Are we to witness such tragedy with the few remaining creatures left in our rivers?



Audio-visual projection by visual artist, Yasunari, with poetry contribution from Cecil Rajendra.

No fish inhabit these rivers. Neither crabs nor mudskippers...


Boat of plastic trash: We hold in our hands the trash that we have created, allowing it to drift into our rivers day after day. What are we to say for our actions, and inactions? Where do we go from here? Do we continue to pollute and contaminate?


To those who joined us, we hope you have gained a new insight of the river environment and its impact on our life.

There will also be an exhibition in Kuala Lumpur which showcases Lisa's eco-installations and documentation of the Project.
MAP@Publika, Level G2-01, Block A5
Solaris Dutamas 1, Jalan Dutamas 1
Date: 15 Aug - 28 Aug, 2011
For more details, click here.


# These photos are taken by Oon Tian aka myBest, Okui, Yew KH and Lisa. Thank you guys!

9 comments:

Christina Schweighofer said...

Looks like a great show - and, from what I have read, one for all the senses. Congratulations!

Nami | Just One Cookbook said...

My mouth kept open and lost my word while reading & looking at pictures. WOW! Thank you so much for the link Reese! I'm stunned! This is such a big production and I wish I could see you in this performance in person! The giant cocoon is amazing too! I miss going to see any kind of performance - seems like this was a very emotional and exciting show. Thank you so much for sharing!

Avofav said...

Pollution is a problem all over the earth. We all have to work together to solve the problem. The first step is to make people aware of the problem and River Meets Light is a great start to educate the public. Great Work!

Anita Vossen

capturingpenang said...

Pollution is a problem all over the earth. We all have to work together to solve the problem. The first step is to make people aware of the problem and River Meets Light is a great start to educate the public. Great Work!

Dorothy

Avofav said...

Pollution is a problem all over the earth. We all have to work together to solve the problem. The first step is to make people aware of the problem and River Meets Light is a great start to educate the public. Great Work!

Dorothy

capturingpenang said...

May be we'll bring this to the US someday:) Thank you for leaving such a sweet comment.

capturingpenang said...

Thanks Christina!

debi yaz said...

Reese,
This looks like such a huge endeavor. I appreciate your tenacity and energy. I hope what you have all done will make a difference.

Capturingpenang said...

Thank you Debi. It was a huge endeavor, especially with a small fund & tight resource. We were glad that we managed to overcome all odds to put everything together. Now it's the continuity of creating awareness & bringing in more effort to clean up the rivers.