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Date [ 2015-08-17, 05:31 ]

A veritable feast of the visual arts and more await the locals and visitors.

(Cap)Wall Dancing

(Singapore=Koreanpress) Park So-jin =This 38th  Singapore Festival of Arts (SIFA) will run from August 6 to September 19, 2015.  It should be the largest ever assembly of new Singapore performing arts commissions, marking 50 years of nationhood.

This year’s presentation will be a microcosm of Singapore’s creativity, cutting across generations and representative both of where Singapreans have come from and what they are heading towards.

The international performances this year vary in their scale and focus: some are engaged with issues, some invested in intercultural exchange and collaboration, some devoted to exploration of form and aesthetics. Some of them will  work with the local commissions.

Ong Keng Sen, the Festival Director said,”At the international level, we have witnessed a globalisation of life after colonial regimes, after dictatorship and after communism. Symbolic of POST-Empires is the moment when characters decline their Destiny as proposed by the Author. They reclaim their lives and, in so doing, refuse the power of the Author. Can we rewrite the History which has been written for us? This is the exact proposition of Emmanuel Demarcy-Mota’s emotional production of Six Characters In Search Of An Author.

Ultimately, how do we live with the global networks and monopolies of power that define the age we live in? We live in the Nation, and we live with with the global networks and monopolies of power that define the age we live in? We live in the Nation, and we live with neo-liberal capitalism, which gives us the impression we are free. But What Remains After the Empire? “

Thus for this year, SIFA proposed that Art and the Tenderness of the human individual remain as vital forces. To this end, some of the top contemporary artists in the world will perform at the festival: William Kentridge, Matthias Goerne and Markus Hinterhäuser, who recreate Franz Schubert’s enduring Winterreise; Daniel Buren, will brings the frailty and vulnerability of one human being in a circus tent; and Kornél Mundruczó, comments on the destructive effects of the market on human individuals in POST-Socialist Hungary. Dirtsong muses on the reclamation of loss in POST-Colonialism. Taiwan Dreams aggregates different answers from its entire cast of artists to form a cogent, independent multitude of voices from the bottom up, rather than a monolithic voice from the top down.

A major development in 2015 is that SIFA will bring the Festival and the arts closer to everyone living in Singapore. Kumar, Singapore’s beloved pop artist, will travel with a cohort of stand-up comedians to the HDB heartlands. Laughter shares the same transformative power of the arts. In a unique move, SIFA will collaborate with PAssionArts of People’s Association to transform neighbourhood residents’ living rooms into theatres! Homes will be opened to the public as gestures of convivial hospitality. In this way, SIFA will create a network of informal performance venues all over the island of Singapore.

Bridging the gap between the peoples of Singapore and the arts is a major mission of SIFA 2015. This will be achieved through mobilising memories, narratives and experiences, of both the young and the old, and folding them onstage as art.

An unprecedented feature of this year’s Festival is the progressive reach of the Singapore commissions – 12 in total. To enrich the festivities, T’ang Quartet and Drama Box have been invited to curate two series this year. With the new, young artists, the productions are equally impressive. Some, like Cake Theatrical Productions, are set to surpass their previous artistic limits. A new company, One Kind Theatre, has been formed and will present its first Mandarin musical, one that takes inspiration from the archives of the Nanyang painters and features compositions by the best songwriters in the industry.

SIFA has proudly invited three Singapore doyens of performance back onstage with new works: the much-missed Goh Lay Kuan returns with transformational energy after decades of absence; Santha Bhaskar scintillatingly rewrites diaspora by returning to Kerala to collaborate with top performers there; and our very own madcap concert pianist Margaret Leng Tan returns all the way from Brooklyn, New York.

The commissioning brief to the Singapore artists was simple: to create Festival productions that they cannot normally produce themselves. SIFA shoulders the first risk to nurture a creative, artistic atmosphere during the Festival months of August and September. Hence, there has been a proliferation of unusual productions. T’ang Quartet responded playfully with its brainwave of creating three new quartets, from children to young adults, a POST-TQ invention. Drama Box’s POST-Capitalism works stretch from forum theatre to verbatim theatre, playing out in unexpected locations like Bukit Brown Cemetery at dawn.

The Incredible Adventures Of Border Crossers proposes a POST-Nation scenario through 22 international residents of Singapore who, with little formal experience in theatre, perform a five-hour fashion show and karaoke extravaganza in a video-sound installation. HOTEL, an epic production in two parts by W!LD RICE, engages with the archives of a hotel over the course of Singapore’s last century. SIFA has commissioned Wang Chong, one of Beijing theatre’s brightest sparks, to create an ambitious work with LASALLE’s Faculty of Performing Arts. This production will look at the archives of Madame Mao and the Cultural Revolution which changed China.

SIFA’s international commission, Dance Marathon – OPEN WITH A PUNK SPIRIT!, comes head-on. This is the challenge of Archives, which have become increasingly important today. How can human individuals transform established structures with tenderness to form different independent pathways? Singaporeans will have to find this out for themrselves, in the world that comes after the towering late Lee Kuan Yew.



(Cap)The Tang Quartet


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