KE Press would like to apologize for not covering the Wushu performance in our coverage of the Open House, and would like to thank Jeremy for providing this article :)
By: Jeremy Ng
When I was asked to choreograph a Wushu performance for the NUS Open House, I accepted with much enthusiasm. The first idea that came to my mind was the “Axe Gang Dance”. In fact, we originally came up with the idea of doing an adaptation of Kung Fu Hustle since last year for ICN. However we were not able to realize the idea back then. Let me introduce to you the new adapted storyline of the ‘Axe Gang’ Wushu performance that we sent for the Open House. Names in brackets are the real-life performers’ names.
“A once acclaimed Wushu master (Kan Foong) has fallen into poverty and drinks to forget his misery. He gets recruited by a mafia boss (Jeremy) who is impressed by the skills of the now drunkard. Eager to please the mafia boss, the drunkard Wushu master brings a troupe from China (Sharon Lynn, Wenhao, Wanling, Shan Yu, Wang Lei, Xiao Han, Zhou Xuan, Zhengyu, Sen Foong) to perform in front of him. But the mafia boss is not at all pleased with the performance of the troupe and mistreats his minion. The troupe sides with the drunkard Wushu master, and tries to fight the mafia boss but fails. In the end, the drunkard Wushu master regains confidence in himself and unveils his uncanny Drunken Style to defeat the mafia boss, thus taking his place as the new boss.”
The plot might sound tremendously cliché, but my main concern was to put up a good show instead of fully transmitting the story. Many of the performers were new to performing on stage, let alone to Wushu itself. I was however lucky to have had more experienced performers like Kan Foong and Sharon Lynn, but most importantly, the whole team was very dedicated. The three newest members of the group, Xiao Han, Zhou Xuan and Wang Lei were impressively hardworking.
We started the preparations in early February. With one month to prepare a 7-minute performance, I was initially optimistic since for the past ICN, we managed to pull it off with only a few days of preparations. But I clearly overestimated the time we had. Even though we trained for two to three times per week, some parts of the show turned out to be out of sync on the day itself. Especially for parts where I was involved, some of the movements were rather messy since I did not have enough time to practice my fights, having been too involved in choreographing and teaching the others. But hopefully, we still managed to put up a good show for the few bystanders who were watching our performance in the MPSH.
Performing for the Open House is a perfect avenue for new Wushu members to showcase what they can do. It is not a large-scale performance where making mistakes is a big issue. In fact before going onstage, my advice to my fellow Wushu performers was to go there, have fun and not to worry about anything else. From my previous experience, we do not usually have a large crowd watching our performance during Open House, so I dare say accepting to perform for that event is simply a way to train up our new talents and allow them to broaden their experience so that they can guide other new freshies coming in next year.
On that note, I would like to sincerely thank each and every one of my performers who worked diligently and persevered throughout the physically taxing training sessions. This is after all the essence of Wushu: Determination, Perseverance, Patience.
<Till the End, We Fight>
P.S. The author would also like to thank KE PRESS for publishing this article.