Tardiness is a bad habit and irritates those who are waiting. Perhaps the contemporary dance performance Extended Periods of Waiting should be televised on national TV as a lesson on punctuality.
The Filipino and Malaysian collaboration is the product of Filipino Donna Miranda's three-month art residency at Rimbun Dahan.
The others involved are Bilqis Hijjas, Yuka Tanaka, Louise Lyow Sing-haw, Low Shee Hoe, Shaifuddin Mamat, Chan Seau Huvi, Saiful Razman, Au Sow Yee and Sickl Roman Cruz.
“Waiting seems to be inactivity but internally it is very frustrating. This is an expression of the internal movement during that time,” Miranda said of her poetic attack on the issue of what it is like to be kept waiting.
At the Central Market annexe on June 8 and 9, dancers hugged and kissed each other and later violently pushed each other away.
They also lifted and dragged each other across the floor and in a duel of what seems to be a pair of lovers who cannot make up their minds on whether to have a spat or make love, Miranda and Low seemed to tear at each other’s throats with their legs flailing violently in the air.
Yet, when they did cling on to each other, it was with indescribable passion. I feel that the last scenario best described her own inner turmoil whenever her husband came home late at night. Should she take out the rolling pin or embrace him with a warm welcome?
In this sequel, Miranda’s partner played by Low Shee How, 29, came across as a majestic gladiator, which provided the contrast to Miranda’s restless and rebellious movements.
Low, 29, a graduate from the Hong Kong Academy of Arts, and Miranda cleverly made use of two window frames as a prop to express the violence and frailty brought about by waiting.
Angry, energetic and melancholic best describes the performance. There seemed to be a haunting quality to the show too as the dancers paced around restlessly and without expression.
And at times, they seemed to be at some sort of emotional breaking point as they walked right up to the audience and stared them in the face.
By then, Miranda must have realised that a show with too many negative elements would leave the audience depressed.
One sequel with the dancers bouncing tennis balls off the wall and playing catch with each other injected a bit of humour into the subject. It came across to me that the time spent on waiting could also be used for mental pursuits such as daydreaming.
It would not be accurate to say that the show is a gentle reminder to us to be punctual. It is a serious, collar-shaking, now-you-listen-to-me-and-you-listen-good warning that being late is the most irritable thing ever.
But you know how it is with shows like this. They are never straightforward. One moment it’s serious while another playful.
The show’s ending is an indication of this. Miranda and Low’s exit was marked with disco lights and a spinning mirror ball with Boney M’s Daddy Cool blaring at full volume. After what seemed like eternity and the dancers did not reappear, a member of the audience was heard asking, “Hah, finish ah?”
Apparently, that was the case but it was not until one of the dancers, Bilqis, was seen walking around in T-shirt and shorts to confirm that the show had ended.
But the end may sometimes signal a new beginning. Miranda will be conducting a workshop on contemporary dances on Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 1pm in the Studio@ The Annexe Central Market.
The fee is RM60 for two days and RM35 for a day. For more details, call 017-371 5641 or e-mail email@example.com