Under by Ang Hui Bin & Lee Shyh Jih

Start date of Residency
15 December 2021
Masthead Image
Masthead Image
15 December 2021

Synopsis

Amidst the seemingly never ending daily grind of city dwelling, the past caught up with a widowed man and a widowed woman in their twilight years.

Reunited after decades in separate marriages, they found themselves confronted with an emotion tsunami surging from suppressed trembles in yesteryears.

Can they make up for the lost time?

Can they find peace before their flesh perish?

UNDER is a closeup study of non verbal communications between the hearts through the lens of video framing, at times when all spoken words we could muster were mere hints of the abyss of meanings underneath.

Artist’s Motivation:
Conceptualiser and Director of the project Ang Hui Bin and Playwright Lee Shyh Jih have always been fascinated with non-verbal communication in relationships, especially over what is left unsaid than said. This exploration together started out in 2017 when workshopping on Shyh Jih’s original script Under《下面 》. The opportunity to further the experimentation surrounding this theme surfaced in 2021 with the  adaptation of a part of this same playscript, into a short film.

The first phase of this project is supported by National Arts Council under the Self-Employed Persons Grant (SEPG) from Nov 2021 – March 2022.


Development Milestones

April 2017 - November 2017
In-Residence at Basement Workshop
by Centre 42

The original playscript Under was first developed in residence at Centre 42’s Basement Workshop where Lee Shyh Jih and his collaborators underwent six months of workshopping to explore the many possibilities of delivering the texts of Under.

21 September 2018
Reading-Presentation under Guest Room
by Centre 42

This presentation was supported by Centre 42’s Guest Room programme.

15 December 2021 - 31 March 2022
In-Residence at Creation Residency
by Centre 42

Creation Process

Artist/Project Statement by Ang Hui Bin

In 2020, I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to explore and create a few digital works, under the Digital Presentation Grant for the Arts. The experience was beneficial to me as an artist as it allowed me to look at performance creation from a brand new perspective.

The digital eye is very different from the human eye and the details the audience registers and captures via a screen are very different from that of a live performance too. With this project, I hope to continue my exploration of the digital medium. To deepen my exploration, I will be working with professional filmmaker, Russell Morton. Together with him and his team of professional film personnel, I hope this project will allow me to have a better understanding of performance in film.

These are the premises of my project exploration:

1. To explore the relationship between text and subtext, impulse and speech in performance

“Speech is the representation of the experiences of the mind” (Aristotle) but a performance is not merely a conversation of minds. To connect the audience to the characters on stage, it is important for actors to present the experiences of the heart/soul as well.

Hence with this project, I have chosen to work with a script that consists mainly of repeated dialogues. This repetition will allow me as the director to explore the multiple layers beneath what is being said. The playwright has also included very specific stage actions in the script which will provide the actors and myself the necessary materials for a greater understanding of the characters’ impulses and motivations.

2. A new medium: The Film

As an artist, I am very interested in telling stories. Learning about a new medium will allow me to explore new ways of storytelling. While live human connections are still invaluable and irreplaceable, the impact of digital technology on how we connect is not to be neglected, especially in a time like this. In the long run, I hope to be able to marry both live and digital elements to connect to audiences on a more holistic level.

3. A new medium: The Script

For me, words are only one of the many tools through which communication can take place. This project will allow me to continue to explore storytelling/ engaging the audience beyond words.

Development Process

Casting

Other than working with a professional filmmaker, I hope to include both actors and dancers in the cast to encourage skills sharing and also deepen our exploration of text and movements.

Sound Design

In a performance, dialogues serve to provide the audience with information (about the characters, plot, etc). However, the textual meaning of dialogues often overshadows its musicality. To explore the musicality of the dialogues, I will be working with  a sound designer who does not understand Mandarin. This will allow him to focus on the lyrical aspect of the words/ lines instead of the textual meaning. The performers will in turn be able to explore and build a movement vocabulary inspired by the sound design.


Documentation - From Play Script to Film Script

In place of a work-in-progress sharing, Hui Bin shares her thoughts and reflections on the process of adapting a play script into a film script. 

Sample Sounds

Test Shots


Profiles

Ang Hui Bin
Director
Lee Shyh Jih
Playwright
Michele Lim
Producer
Russell Adam Morton
Director of Photography
Betty Yichun Chen
Dramaturg
Redwan Hamzah
Sound Designer, Music Composer
Adele Goh
Performer
Julius Foo
Performer