All photographs by Adam Vocale at La Trobe University Bundoora
All photographs by Adam Vocale at La Trobe University Bundoora
Pictures taken by Muhammad Sa’iquddin Ashshofy at Universitas Pendidikan Indonesia.
It’s five days before the show. We’ve stopped taking photos, as you can tell, because we are running, doing transitions, filling gaps, tightening things up. I really can’t believe that we’re performing soon and that we have a few short rehearsals left. And today is our last Indonesian lesson with Ibu Mamay. It really feels like we started yesterday because honestly, we kind of did.
The rehearsal room is a hot box of stress and line memorization. We’re figuring out cues and scene structures. We’ve also maybe memorised a our lines possibly a little too well, (as we’ve stressed about not learning them) so we’ve been doing things like contact improvisation (as in the photos below) to make our lines feel free and to get them into our bodies.
We’re getting giddy and excited for the start of the season next week!!!
We usually pack our weekends full of activities. Hot-springs, tea plantations, swimming, futsal. This weekend (we say weekend but it’s Monday and Tuesday) we spent Tuesday flat on our backs, lounging on couches and in armchairs. There seemed to be an unspoken rule that we were chilling out for the big week ahead. On Monday however, we had some mall-themed adventures. Our big news is that our filmmaker, Matt is here!
On Monday Night we went to Wawan’s house in South Bandung, a one and a half hour Uber away from our house. We had a huge, amazing Sundanese meal and all sat around together as a family and happily ate. You’ll see the footage in the documentary, I’m sure, the iPhone pictures do not in anyway do the experience justice. Wawan’s neighbour is the daughter of a famous Sundanese singer, and he invited her to come and sing for us, which was both surreal and amazing. We danced till late into the night (11pm) and took another long Uber home, watching Bandung go by out the window.
While most of us were at the house trying to be small and quiet as to not over exert ourselves, Blayne took a Chekov workshop at UPI with UPI students.
On Saturday we started the day at 10 am, perched on that hill, with motorbikes and scooters and children rushing past us. It felt like Saturday. We felt better, I think. More in the zone. We can see the play spread out in front of us, we know what to do, gosh, we even know our lines. Something we’ve discovered since being here is that the Indonesian students are fantastic at learning lines. It’s really pushing us to be better at learning lines, and I think it’s working.
First, we worked on the 4th scene of Jamarun, and cemented Blayne’s role in that. After that, we created a scene that was needed, that also incorporated some Suzuki and speaks about our differing cultures. We then had a singing class with Bobby and put the songs into the play.
We worked on all the full cast scenes and the transitions into the last scenes, running the last 5 scenes of the play. We also worked on the last two parts of the Jamarun story. That’s done and locked in and, in my opinion, pretty powerful. We’re all tired. Tonight we’re eating pizza. On Sunday, we went over four or five scenes, doing pickups and tightening, before running everything we had worked on. We had music rehearsal with Bobby, going over the music transitions in the play. We did a run of the whole play, and collapsed on the floor.
On Sunday, we did a Suzuki warm-up and then a clowning workshop with Bob. It included working with partners, each couple having an argument where one in the pair is “pushed” and caught, and the other pushes back. It is supposed to look interesting and engaging without words and using red noses. Bob also added that we take on an “old” physicality. This made it really funny.
We went over four or five scenes, doing pickups and tightening, before running everything we had worked on. We had music rehearsal with Bobby, going over the music transitions in the play. We did a run of the whole play and once again, collapsed on the floor.
We are now in the third week of the process and have landed in the rehearsal period, just like that. It’s smooth. Which is not surprising considering that the whole process has been smooth. But it is surprising for a production. That is devised. Between two different theatre groups. So, here we are, in the final two weeks. Which is scary but also exciting. We have very almost finalised the running order and the scenes. If Bob and Bahuy see gaps in the play, they’ll add a few scenes, but at the moment it looks very much like what they’ll see in 10 days at Universitas Pendidikan Indonesia (UPI), or in 15 days in Bali, or even, what the audience in Melbourne will see.
On Wednesday, we started with the usual, (an Indonesian language lesson, a walk up a steep hill and Suzuki.) We then did Biomechanics with Bob and upgraded from passing sticks to passing plastic chairs.
Then we started rehearsing. First in small groups, then in bigger groups. We started locking in scenes, too. Because we did a run-through on Sunday, we had a good idea of what was missing. Gracie and Maudy wrote a scene about scary stories which is very sweet and hilarious. Kate and I wrote a scene over the weekend (Monday and Tuesday) based on a popular American story and an Australian film. One of the reasons we wrote this was because it is a story that incorporates the female performers in the play, which is something we thought may be lacking, a conversation about the story of Jamarun from a female perspective. We cast this and rehearsed this in the first half of the session, and placed it in the running order. We also inserted a scene to start the play involving all the cast members.
On Thursday we had an 8 am language class, so our legs were a bit heavier walking up the hill as we got slightly less sleep. In the rehearsal rooms, we got really sweaty and then we re-worked a monologue by Deska, which includes the rest of the cast on the stage. We also blocked transitions for many scenes in the play. At lunchtime, Bob and Bahuy did an interview with an online magazine about the project. At the end of the day, we ran 20 minutes of the play. We thought it was a very strong 20 minutes, so we were feeling pretty chuffed, despite our heavy legs and heads being all over the place.
On Friday, after language class, we set off to the Mainteater rehearsal rooms. We were feeling a bit lethargic and ironically, fidgety, as a group and I think this was evident during the walk there. In the rehearsal rooms, (after warm-up) we got into pairs and worked on individual monologues, working on focusing and connecting a personal image to each line. We then sat in a circle and some of us said our monologues as if we were having a conversation with the group. This was great.
We then had a singing lesson with Bobby, our music teacher and learnt a Sundanese song called “Ki Jamarun” that he wrote for the production. We then got into two groups, male and female, to work on scenes that we have been thinking about to see if we can generate text. We then did a run-thorugh of 37 minutes of the play.
It’s our weekend! On Monday we went to the hot springs in Bandung. It was glorius to be in hot water after a hard week. We went with Heliana, our Suzuki teacher and translator Adit, and cast members Tria and Kamil. They had organised a bus for the day to take us out. We feel incredibly spoilt by or new friends’ hospitality.
After the hot-springs, we stopped at a restaurant across from a tea plantation. Tria knew the restaurant was good and after checking to see if there were vegetarian options for Ashleigh, we practically jumped into the restaurant, as it was 4.30pm. Time had slipped away from us at the hot-springs.
After a delicious lunch, we went across the road and jumped up and down in the tea plantation, it’s been great to bond with everyone through being silly, as we did in this instance. We also took the bus to Braga street, and some of us went out. We played pool and danced to another band. It was a lot of fun.
Time passes quickly and slowly all at once on our days off. We have so many plans, and somehow we manage to do them all, however, I do wish that I had some time to sit down and read a book. We have also been busily concocting ideas for scenes to insert into the play, I think we’ll have a final draft by the end of the week. This kind of work method that we are undertaking, (living together and working together) has made us work very quickly. Another long breath in and out. Also, we found out that the Bandung production has already sold 250 tickets, so we’re adding another show, and shaking in our boots. Well, i am, at least.
Onto the next big, huge, great, week.