Happy new year! Inspired by Rev Stan, I’m starting off the year with some theatre noted in the diary (and a horrified bank account). Here are 9 plays I’m looking forward to seeing in 2019 (in chronological order):
Ayer Hitam: A Black History of Singapore, M1 Fringe (17-20 Jan)
What the website says: In this lecture performance, actress Sharon Frese explores the history and influence of the African diaspora in Singapore. Dredging the archives, she shares images and documents relating to slavery, colonialism, jazz and nationalist struggle, reaffirming the value of black culture as part of our shared heritage.
Why I’m excited: I’m all for “revisionist history” in our bicentennial year.
What the website says: ANGKAT: A Definitive, Alternative, Reclaimed Narrative of a Native subverts norms of genre and dramatic form to tell the intertwining histories of a mother and daughter, and a re-imagining of a young Singapura trying to find her footing amidst the rough seas.
Why I’m excited: I’m still kicking myself to have missed out on last year’s Cerita Cinta. Plus, Nabilah Said is a good writer.
Catamite, M1 Fringe (25-27 Jan)
What the website says: This intimate interactive experience begins in the form of an artist lecture and dialogue where Loo Zihan will share his experiences of staging his installation Queer Objects: An Archive for the Future (2016), an assemblage of objects for a hypothetical queer archive in Singapore.
Why I’m excited: I’m typically not a fan of interactive theatre, but Loo Zihan is an exciting and intriguing artist. (Side note: I went to a test run of this, and I learnt so much.)
Off Centre, The Necessary Stage (7-17 Feb)
What the website says: The Necessary Stage’s critically acclaimed play, Off Centre, returns 26 years after its premiere in 1993. Written by Haresh Sharma and directed by Alvin Tan, Off Centre is a landmark play in the history of Singapore theatre, best remembered for presenting an honest and unflinching look at mental illness and the stigma surrounding it.
Why I’m excited: I mean, I was 2 years old when this play premiered!? Would be interesting to see how the play’s themes are translated in 2019.
The Way of Zhuang Zi 庄子兵法, Storyworks (22-24 Feb)
What the website says: Lured by the promise of a lucrative bounty, six clueless strangers sign up to participate in an escape room game. The only way out of the locked room is to decipher clues hidden in the teachings of Chinese philosopher Zhuang Zi.
Why I’m excited: I’m always into dark comedies.
Matilda The Musical (21 Feb – 10 Mar)
What the website says: With book by Dennis Kelly and original songs by Tim Minchin, Matilda The Musical is the story of an extraordinary little girl who, armed with a vivid imagination and a sharp mind, dares to take a stand and change her own destiny.
Why I’m excited: I’m cheating by including this, but I love the book and movie so I’m totally sold.
Citizen Pig, Finger Players (19-21 Apr)
What an old review from 2013 says: Citizen Pig was created by Liu Xiao-yi, 30, and fellow theatre practitioner Oliver Chong, 35, who also had his share of rental woes from renting an office space several years ago. Their experiences in the tough world of real estate will be adapted to the stage.
Why I’m excited: Again, kicking myself for missing Citizen Dog last year, which was ranked very highly on Arts Equator’s 2018 wrap up.
What the website says: From the hands of visionary director Tadashi Suzuki comes a masterful, cross-cultural adaptation of Greek tragedy, The Bacchae, featuring an impressive cast of Indonesian, Japanese and Chinese actors.
Why I’m excited: I’m all for Asian theatre makers doing Western classics. Ninagawa, your impact!
Displaced Persons’ Welcome Dinner, SIFA (24-26 May)
What the website says: From critically-acclaimed theatre company Checkpoint Theatre comes Displaced Persons’ Welcome Dinner, a powerful new play about humanitarian workers caught in the crosshairs of a crisis. A crisis tests the resolve of the international staff of a refugee camp. Can they stay sane, stay alive, and stay strong when their minds, bodies, and spirits are called upon to do the impossible?
Why I’m excited: I’m a fan of Checkpoint Theatre and this play has been in the works for a few years.
What’s on your must-see list for 2019?
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