“Occupation” review: love won in a time of loss

Checkpoint Theatre kicks off its 20th anniversary season with chamber readings of Occupation. The show follows Sarah (Isabella Chiam) a self-professed “charming bureaucrat” tasked with interviewing Mrs. Siraj (Rebekah Sangeetha Dorai), an elderly character heavily inspired by playwright Huzir Sulaiman’s grandmother. Sarah listens to Mrs. Siraj’s personal accounts of youth and romance under the Japanese Occupation. Mrs. Siraj recounts waving to her lover every night from her window and eventually getting married in 1944. It is a cloyingly sweet story, as Sarah points out that Mrs. Siraj’s occupation is “loving and being loved”, far from the expected tales of woe and suffering.

Occupation effectively teases out this uneasy tension between our expected notions of a Japanese-occupied Singapore versus a personal retelling. As PJ Thum writes:

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Watching “The Pitch” made me miss theatre – like, a lot

The Pitch, a short film co-produced by Pangdemonium, Singapore Repertory Theatre and WILD RICE, premiered about three weeks ago now. It follows the three companies pitching for a fictional COVID-19 friendly show. The cast all play themselves (Adrian Pang, Gaurav Kripalani, and Ivan Heng), and poke fun at their own male egos. But boy, watching The Pitch make me miss Singapore theatre so, so much.

For the past couple of years, I have a rolling Google doc entitled “Theatre schedule”, where I will list all the plays I wanted to catch every month, ticket price, whether I’ve booked it and whether I’ve written a review for this blog. It was last updated March 9.

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“The Son” review: on losing control

Warning: This review contains light spoilers.

When it comes to mental illnesses, the youth are most at risk. In fact, nearly half of mental illnesses appear before age 14, with the rate of appearance increasing to 75% before age 24.¹ The Son tackles this topic head on.

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Saccharine sweet “Mak Mak Menari”

Bhumi Collective’s Mak Mak Menari tells the story of a traditional Malay dance troupe, as named in the title. “Mak mak” which translates to “mum” and “menari” meaning “dancer” in Bahasa Melayu aptly describes the group of ex-dancers, working mothers and homemakers. Their story is charmingly told; a loving tribute to dance and these Malay women.

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