Thu, August 11, 2022

life

Any given Sunday


The combined programmes of SIFA and Flipside show how contemporary artists are experimenting with different art genres

The joy of attending an international arts festival, like Singapore International Festival of Arts (Sifa) even in a city which hosts performances all year round, is that you can watch a variety of shows and even take in more than one on a single day, especially on a Sunday, without feeling exhausted. 

 

Any given Sunday

Bedtime Stories


Last Sunday, I started at School of the Arts (SOTA) studio theatre where UK collective Curious Directive, presented a coming-of-age detective drama “Frogman” with the help of VR technology. As  new evidence surfaced in case of her childhood friend’s murder in the Great Barrier Reef, Meera, effortlessly performed live by Annabel Betts, was back in a court after more than two decades. The audience, in the role of jury members, listened to her accounts and watched in our personal VR headset videos of past events both in Meera’s bedroom and under the sea. Swivel chairs allowed us to explore these in 360 degrees. Although the scenes from Meera’s childhood would have had a stronger effect on the play had they been shot like a documentary in an actual house instead of a film set with props and child actors, “Frogman” showed how artists can give their audience a new experience when they start working with scientists.

 

Any given Sunday

Frogman


Later on that afternoon, at the Esplanade Annexe Studio, Sifa’s affiliate festival Flipside continued to delight and surprise the audience with Dutch collective Smartphone Orchestra’s “The Social Sorting Experiment”. With our mobile phones on and connected to the collective’s website via free WiFi throughout this 45-minute experience, we were first assigned a standing slot among 108 squares, then asked to socialise with another person nearby. We were later informed to shift to a certain numbered slot and answer short questionnaires about people we just met, the results of which were then analysed and presented back to us. It proves solidly, and the master of ceremonies stated this at the beginning, that whatever we do online can always be accessed and analysed by others, mostly for their benefit, and that privacy and secrecy are decreasing. Plus, having met five new Singaporean friends – none of whose names I can recall now – it also shows how we can hook up with new people more easily than before. Of course, there is no indication of how long or whether those “friendships” would last, as the only thing we may have in common is internet access.

 

Any given Sunday

Frogman


My day ended in the evening on a nice lawn in Gardens by the Bay, after a short chartered bus ride from the National Library, with another Dutch collective URLAND. Against the backdrop of Singapore’s CBD buildings, Thomas Dudkiewicz singlehandedly portrayed various characters and deftly narrated stories, most of which would not give us good dreams, making use of sound technology to create a unique atmosphere. In other words, he reminded us that in this highly mediatised and visually overloaded post-modern era, we still go to a theatre performance to exercise our imagination, and a great actor can indeed stir much of it.

 

Any given Sunday

The Social Sharing Experiment

 

Special thanks to Esplanade’s Gina Koh and Huntington Communications’ Charmaine Lau for their kind assistance.

Dancing and Discussions

- “SIFA 2019” continues until Sunday. Dance lovers will not want to miss French choreographer Gisele Vienne’s “Crowd” or “Korper” by German dancemaker Sasha Waltz, who’ll also give a talk on Saturday afternoon. There’ll also be a panel discussion “But…is it dance?” on Saturday morning. 
- On Sunday, film lovers will flock to the Oldham Theatre to watch Tsai Ming Liang’s double bill “Light” and “Your Face” showing in the region for the first time, as part of SIFA’s “Singular Screens”. 
- For more details and ticket reservations, visit www.Sifa.sg.
- Meanwhile, “Flipside” also presents many free-admission dance, theatre and music programmes at various corners of the Esplanade—Theatres on the Bay. Some ticketed programmes include the critically acclaimed puppet show “The Pigeoning” by Robin Frohardt from the US and multi-award winning Korean work “Giant’s Table”. There’s also a late evening 90minute tour, starting at 11pm, of the unseen Durian. For more information, go to www.Esplanade.com/flip¬side.
 

Published : May 29, 2019

By : Pawit Mahasarinand SPECIAL TO THE NATION Singapore