Tempting Hearts
 

A Journal

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Table of Contents
 

  • About Tempting Hearts

    • Inspiration

    • Music and Text

    • Props

  • Choreography Process

    • The Six Sections

      • Prologue

      • True Love

      • Unintentional Temptation

      • Love

      • Kept In the Dark

      • Met You On The Street

      • When We Are Together

  • Reflection


About Tempting Hearts
 

  • Tempting Hearts is a continuation/rework of his master degree piece

  • Is based on a 1999 Hong Kong romance film of the same name

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About Tempting Hearts - Inspiration
 

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Tempting Heart (Movie)

  • Directed by Sylvia Chang

  • The movie follows the protagonist’s wonder about the role that fate plays in relationships

  • Set in 2 different time periods (1970s & 1990s)

  • Sylvia talks about her own teenage romance that ended with regrets 

About Tempting Hearts - Music & Text

  • Usage of nostalgic Chinese songs from the movie

  • Tempting Heart Soundtrack

  • The dialogue was voiced by Silvia Chang

  • Benedict also utilised all chinese voice-overs in order to keep a consistent tone for the audience

  • Different voice-overs to convey the different sections accordingly

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About Tempting Hearts - Props
 

The props were used to play with different aspects of the piece and to manipulate the space.

  • Mirror - To convey the reflection of our journey in our life

  • Calendar pages - To convey the passage of time also to create 3 linear paths onstage

  • Chair - It shows the memories of the person left behind 

  • Grass patch - Outdoor, we all reflecting back how much we had gone through

  • Lighting - Created shapes and pathways that the dancers used as their working space


Choreographic Process
 

  • Rehearsals started with the mirror section

  • Dancers made their own movements according to the dialogue being played

  • A lot of movements except for unison parts were mostly created by the dancers, as a  way to bring their own voice and connect themselves to the piece

  • The movements and emotions were assisted by the roles they play: The young and naive girl, the always nagging partner, a girl with unrequited feelings, a person longing for someone from afar, a woman arguing with her partner

The Six Section 

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Prologue

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True Love

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Kept in the Dark

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Met you on the street

When We Are Together

Unintentional Temptation 

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Love

Prologue

If fate brought us together, maybe it is destiny that drove us apart. It happens so subtly that we hardly even notice.

True Love

‘The past is a lie, memory has no return, every spring gone by could never be recovered, and the wildest and most tenacious love is an ephemeral truth in the end.’

 

- Gabriel Garcia Marquez

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The past is a series of moments in life that are worth reminiscing but should not hold you back.

Unintentional Temptation

These fragmented self-dialogues project the emotional struggles, pain, regrets and beauty from the perspective of women.

Love

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Kept in the dark

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You kept me in the dark and tell me this is my world.

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Met You On The Street

The majority of people in our life are just passersby; There are some that you will eventually forget and move on for good.

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When We Are Together

Often, a song, a play or specific plots will consciously or unintentionally evoke some emotional memories that are worth reminiscing.

Reflection

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“In the first rehearsal, Mr Benedict told us this would be a rework after many years. He played the music and voice-over and asked us to improvise. This ended up in the final version of the “Seduction” section. For me, I am not used to improvising, so it was harder for me to project my emotions into this particular section.” - Zhang Yin
“I felt that Mr Benedict trusted me in my creation process, I had previous experience with relationships, and in (Tempting Hearts) I used my experience to convey the message to the audience. I would also like to use this opportunity to discover more possibilities for myself. I hope that everyone will be able to see a new side of me in this piece.” - Zhuo Qin
“It reminds me that despite how different each person are, we all still experience life similarly. I like how 心动 (Tempting Hearts) allows people to connect with it since the experience of loss and heartbreak is pretty universal.” - Ke Xin
“The narration of the story was voiced over in Chinese. I am not as fluent in Chinese as the others, so I translated the lyrics and text into English in order to get a deeper understanding of the content.”  - Gabriella
“Due to my inexperienced in relationships’ ups and down, I have not experienced a broken heart so it was harder for me to put in my past memories into this piece. Instead, I used the feeling of homesickness during this pandemic period. ” - Wen Ru

The Personal Aspect of Recollection


- Benedict Soh

Absence from someone dear is a strong experience in which one remembers and assembles details of the past and anticipates the future. As one reflects and seeks to share in some form or other our experience we start a process of re-embodying and recounting what is idiosyncratic and private (Engel 1999: 41). 

“I speak to you across cities I speak to you across plains 
My mouth is upon your pillow 
Both faces of the walls come meeting My voice discovering you 
I speak to you of eternity 
O cities memories of cities Cities wrapped in our desires Cities come early cities come lately Cities strong and cities secret Plundered of their master's builders All their thinkers all their ghosts 
Fields pattern of emerald Bright living surviving. The harvest of the sky over our earth Feeds my voice I dream and weep I laugh and dream among the flames Among the clusters of the sun 
And over my body your body spreads The sheet of its bright mirror.” 

- Paul Eluard 
On my return from Melbourne at the beginning of 2009 I noticed instead of remembering my previous stay in Melbourne, memories of my relationships began flooding back: memories of past and present relations with people, pleasant or sad, sweet or bitter. I believe that for any occurrences or issues that happen in one's life, there is always a reason. Interestingly psychologists suggest that people brought up in Asian cultures ‘are more likely to understand that the situation in which one does the recalling exerts a large influence on what is recalled.’ (Engel 1995: 51) Perhaps my time in Australia provides opportunity for reflection and an environment that tends to promote the view that memory is a function of biological processes and is determined internally. A somewhat different spin on the way memory works. In either case there seems to be value in opening myself to the reflection on past experiences, as Baal Schem Tov3 puts it, "To forget is to prolong exile. Memory is the gateway to Salvation." 
 
My interest in sentimental films and movies also helped in triggering these memory 'flashbacks'. They are a strong source of inspiration and I collect soundtracks or materials related to them. A particular movie or music can evoke various emotional experiences, but responses are very subjective, ‘The emotion created by a piece of music may be affected by memories associated with the piece, by the environment it is being played in, by the mood of the person listening and their personality, by the culture they were brought up in’ (Geetanjali Vaidya: 2004): Music can effect hormone levels in the body including levels of cortisol associated with arousal and stress. 

In my experience movies can draw memories and feelings that I have overlooked or forgotten. Such associations between film and my lived experiences indicate one of the values of works of art. In what I have called sentimental movies there is a focus on relationships and we come to see how people live and negotiate their daily lives. To some extent this is biographical even autobiographical. 'What we are now beginning to understand in psychological terms at least, is that the processes of telling ones story can motivate us to make substantive changes in our lives.’ (Engel 1999: 133) 
 In the following section I examine movies that had a direct influence on the making of my work “Tempting Heart”. Through this reflection I draw out some of the overarching concerns of these movies, their imagery and themes.

A Subjective Reflection on Movies that Influence The Making of My Work

A person’s character or personality changes, as we grow older. There are many factors that influence the way we think or behave be it parental upbringing, education or through social interactions with fellow friends, strangers and the society. The things we witness everyday through our experience gives us an insight into how the society works. We witness hardships, strength, courage, despair, love, commitment and perseverance just to name a few. All these experiences account for our personality and help us to learn and realise our life meanings, dreams and to understand ourselves better. 
 
Besides our social interactions, there are also other elements that affect us and this may exist in the form of mass media such as movies. There have been many movies produced in the last few decades and to many of us, some of these movies may be a source of great inspiration or may contain sentimental values. Sometimes we are drawn to a particular movie perhaps because it reflects our inner self. Certain segments presented in the movie may also remind us of our past events or life lessons gained through experience and this is one of the reasons that I have chosen movies as an integral part in the production of “Tempting Heart”. Movies also allow me to edit important visual or audio segments that strike me personally and I am then able to connect them together to form my own narrative in the presentation of “Tempting Heart”. 
 
I have chosen the movies “Turn Left, Turn Right” and “Tempting Heart” because they evoke sentimental feelings within me. They will be discussed in more detail in the following segment.
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“Turn Left, Turn Right” 

 

- directed by Johnnie To and Wai Ka Fai (Hong Kong/Taiwan 2003) 

“Turn Left, Turn Right” is a movie based on Jimmy Liao’s best selling illustration book in Asia. It tells a story about a translator and a violinist who live parallel lives, seemingly perfect for each other but somehow fate keeps them apart. Living in the same apartment, they have never met each other because when they leave, one turns left and the other turns right.
This movie starts with the two characters having met each other in the park, become separated because of a thunderstorm. Although they had exchanged phone numbers, the rain renders them unreadable and thus begins their journey in overcoming numerous obstacles to finally finding each other again. To summarise this course of events, a phrase written in the illustration book, which inspired this movie, states “Life is full of surprises; even two parallel lines may one day meet”. The movie also seeks to describe the mysterious destiny of our life and reveal a romantic story that might be happening everyday around us. 
The main female protagonist recites a poem - “They’re both convinced; that a sudden passion joined them. Such certainty is beautiful, but uncertainty is more beautiful still.”
This segment of the poem clearly reflects the essence of the film and became influential in my dance work. The film has a philosophical undercurrent that life is what it is and events unfold naturally. In short, I find that it is important to move forward as life will present itself unto us.

“Tempting Heart”

- by Sylvia Chang (Hong Kong, China 1999)

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Born in 1953, Sylrs. She has achieved accomplishments in the fields of acting, directing, writing, productions and acted in ovevia Chang started acting at the age of 16 in Taiwan and has had an astonishing and creative film career over the past 30 year ninety films. 
 
In “Tempting Heart”, Sylvia Chang plays a director who intends to make a romance film leading her to wonder about the role that fate plays in relationships. In the process, she re-examines her own first love in a completely different light. The movie is set in two different periods of time, one in the 1970s where Gigi Leung plays the director during her teenage days and the other in the 1990s where Sylvia Chang is the director herself. Only at the end of the movie does the story cleverly reveal that the teenage girl in the 1970s grew up and in fact is the director in the 1990s and that the director is actually talking about her own teenage romance that ended with regrets. 
 
“Tempting Heart” is a classic love story. Its suggests that however common or clichéd a love story might sound to us there is the likelihood that if we were to put ourselves in that position, confronted by love, something that is so common or simple on others might prove to be entirely different, complex or even unknown to ourselves. Love is in fact something that connects all of us human, a basic to our needs be it between a man and a woman, parents and their children, brotherly or sisterly, friends, passion or even hate, they are fundamentally love in one way or another. 

 

It is the ending of this film that I find most interesting. There is an overpowering sense of remorse among the characters. This stems from their own memories and reflections about what they should have or should not have done in the past, and how a different course of actions might steer them in the right direction.

 

In my work "Tempting Heart", my autobiographical approach has brought previous emotional experiences to the surface. The re-embodiment of these and the possibility of these being recognised by an audience has motivated some of the concluding parts of my work. 

 

Reflection and remembering particular relationships that have deep emotional overtones is something we all do. In many respects our remembering is mediated by our beliefs, and in the case of romantic love 'it is a whole psychological package — a combination of beliefs, ideals, attitudes and expectations. These often contradictory ideas coexist in our unconscious minds and dominate our reactions and behaviour.' (Johnson 1984: xi) In conducting any exploration of personal lives there is inevitably a question of time - and for deeper understanding of individual traits it is through dialogue that intimate self-disclosure is realised (Crossley 2000: 68). In 'Tempting hearts' the extensive interpersonal exchanges of the protagonists serves as a window to their inner worlds and aspirations. 

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In many respects the performance form offers an extended process through which individuals can reflect upon, engage in dialogues with collaborators and render as performance score aspects of their lives. In my case I perceive an opportunity to kindle emotions of love and sadness with the audience as well as offering them a glimpse of my past.