I watched a total of 17 plays in 2019. Not a lot, I must admit, and also maybe why the recent Life! theatre awards nominations left me with “Oh, maybe I should have watched that…”. So only two months late, here are my 3 favourite plays from 2019:
The Utama Spaceship Incident Report #000291
Reported by: P Tobin Title/Role: Passenger G328β Date of Report: 14012020 Location: Space, 59³ light years away from Alpha Centauri
Type of Security Incident: Unauthorised ship repair attempt.
→ A plunger over an air hole.
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.