There is a real sense of intimacy that is conjured from podcasts. When I listen to a podcast on my morning commute, the lone speaker’s voice in my ear in a crowded MRT carriage makes me feel connected with another human being (hello, Michael Barbaro.) This is what Café Sarajevo effectively evokes – not just visually, as “ON AIR” in red capital letters are displayed behind cast members Mariel Marshall, Peter Musante, Lucy Simic and Stephen O’Connell. But also aurally – as every audience member dons headsets, the performance begins with Marshall’s gentle singing voice. Her song lulls us in, the audience is listening. Café Sarajevo begins.
Aptly falling under this year’s M1 Fringe theme of “My Country My People”, Oliver Chong’s Contemplating Kopitiam and Kampong Wa’ Hassan explores what forms a Singapore heritage – its places. From kopitiams to the last kampong in Singapore, the play tackles the changing landscapes of Singapore: a convergence of familiarity, temporality, and nostalgia.
Stepping into ANGKAT is like entering another world that seems almost close to home, but not quite. A couple leisurely glides along in a sampan, a man fishes while standing on top of a stool, and a child sits under an umbrella. The backdrop is lit in a luminous purple colour, bathing the cast with a twilight glow. As such, the world of ANGKAT submerges the familiar with the imaginative. Playing with fact and fiction, ANGKAT’s take on the Singapore story is definitive, maybe.
John Berger and Jean Mohr’s essay-book A Fortunate Man was published in 1967. It follows the life of an English country doctor, John Sassall, who killed himself some years after the book was published. More than 50 years later, UK theatre company New Perspective takes on this tale in a play of the same name.