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River Meets Light - Reflections

Friday, March 11 - We were preparing for our technical rehearsal for River Meets Light when we received the news that an earthquake had just hit northern Japan causing massive destruction. We felt shock and panic. It immediately brought back memories of the Boxing Day Tsunami in 2004, when so many people died, including here on Penang.
Saturday, March 12 -  Performance day.

With heavy hearts carried from the day before, we started early in the afternoon to clear up the trash around the riverside.

But two hours before the show, it poured. 

Will people still come for our performance? Is the flow of the river going to be strong? Can we dance on the slippery, muddy riverbank?  Do we cancel the show? Are we taking too much risk?

20 minutes before the performance. With umbrellas in hand, dozens of people streamed into the site and congregated on the pedestrian bridge over Penang River. We did not expect this at all; not in Penang.
Kids from the near-by village watching the performance
The team came together and we prayed. Compared to the catastrophe in Japan, it seemed trivial and selfish to pray for the rain to stop. Instead, we prayed for everyone’s safety and we prayed for Japan. 

10 minutes past the scheduled start, the rain stopped. The crew quickly finished the lighting setup.  We pushed our anxiety and doubt away, and began the performance.
We danced along the riverbank of Sungai Pinang, climbed and rolled on the wooden bridge, leaped in and out of garbage bins, while the musicians played and sang their hearts out. The energy was remarkable.

The rain brought the river to life, the current rushing under the bridge, giving us the opportunity to voice its story and issues through our work.  On that night, I felt I was finally a part of the space.
We were touched by the support and encouragement from the audience and the community who joined us.  It was the first presentation, but we hope River Meets Light will bring about greater awareness and positive change towards our environment.
The performers with our artist collaborators - Aida Redza, Lisa Foo and Tan Sooi Beng.
Note: We'll be running our premier performance in July at the George Town Festival. Do stay tuned for details.

These gorgeous photos are taken by Okui, a talented Media Art student from Penang and also Doris Lee & Joie Koo from Allspire Photography. Thank you Okui, Doris & Joie!

(For a clip of the performance, please visit Capturing Penang on YouTube)

To read about River Art Project mentioned in the press, please click here & here.

River Meets Light - A Mixed Media Performance @ Sungai Pinang (Penang River)


It has been an exhausting month preparing for our performance, but such an enriching experience working with artists from many backgrounds.

Under the training of dance choreographer Aida Redza, my co-performers, Kent, Hil, and Izzard, and I have been working hard to not only build our stamina, but also to overcome the many challenges of our riverside performance - rolling on dirt paths with biting ants, suspending over a wooden bridge, swirling at the edge of a dark river...I don't want to reveal everything.

I hope to see many of you on Saturday night at Sungai Pinang!

River Meets Light

A mixed media performance, River Meets Light encompassing light design, dance, music and visuals in an evening of experiential showcase to trace the past and present relationship between our rivers and communities.

The first workshop presentation, held in conjunction with International Day of Action for Rivers on March 12th, will lead to a sequence of events within this year, including a premiere performance during the 2011 George Town Festival at the end of July.  Concurrently, an exhibition will be conducted in August at MAP@Publika in Kuala Lumpur to raise awareness of the unfortunate state of our rivers and the need for its revitalization.

The evening of performance will see eco-sculpture installations, dance, poetry recitation, interplay of sounds from songs and dialogue with the river communities, environmental music from recycled materials, and light and audio-visual projection.