Nine Doors

Oct 19, 2018

Concert, Performance


Grand Luxe Hall, Western Front


8:00 p.m.


Nine Doors was a ninety-minute multi-instrumental solo performance by Jen Shyu, directed by Alexandru Mihail. Shyu created the performance to honour her late friend Sri Joko Raharjo “Cilik,” a famous Javenese shadow puppeteer who died in an automobile accident with his wife and infant son in 2014. Told from the perspective of Cilik’s six-year-old daughter who survived the crash, Nine Doors presented a non-linear journey through time and space guided by female characters from Timorese and Korean folklore who offered empathy, solace, and strength to overcome grief. 

The performance featured choreography by Danang Pamungkas and compositions by Shyu on Taiwanaese moon lute, gayageum, piano, biwa, and buk, as well as songs in eight languages. The set, designed by Kristen Robinson, centred a rotary phone that channelled spirits in Shyu’s narrative. This prop referenced Itaru Sasaki’s wind phone—an unconnected telephone booth in Ōtsuchi, Japan that has become a comfort to the families who lost loved ones in the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami. Solomon Weisbard’s lighting design involved a circular screen hung at the back of the stage that emitted blue, green, and red light throughout the performance to symbolize the moon and evoke the passage of time. 

The performance was followed by a talk back session led by Shyu.

Curated by Aram Bajakian. 

Video documentation of this event is available upon request.

Related People

Western Front is a non-profit
artist-run centre in Vancouver.

We acknowledge the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and səl̓ílwətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations as traditional owners of the land upon which Western Front stands.