Death may be universal, but life after death can be custom-fit to your culture. Three new, young Singaporean theatre companies have created three original productions to be staged over the next three months showcasing Death, in a uniquely Singapore style.
Platform 65: ‘Rites and Regulations’
Platform 65: ‘Rites and Regulations’
Platform 65 is a collective of London-based Singaporean artists promoting Singaporean art and talent, but which has never performed in Singapore till now. From 6–16 September, it makes its aptly inauspicious Lion-City debut smack in the middle of the Chinese Seventh Month with ‘Rites and Regulations’. This double bill comprises new play ‘Awake’ by Platform 65 member Mingyu Lin and an adaptation of Kuo Pao Kun’s ‘The Coffin is too Big for the Hole’.
Performed in the lobby of backpacker hostel, 5footway.inn: Project Sultan, and The Pigeonhole, an art cafe/bookstore, these plays will see their venues transformed into a HDB void deck with an ongoing Taoist funeral, while audience members serve as mourners.
“We wanted to explore the idea of pop-up theatre,” says small and smiley 24 year-old director Cui Yin Mok. “We see the potential of non-theatre spaces, especially since alot of our play is about sharing space in Singapore and how places like void decks can be used for purposes from weddings to funerals.”
6-16 Sep, 5Footway.Inn: Project Sultan, 8 Aliwal St; 10, 16 Sep, The Pigeonhole, 52 Duxton Rd. Tickets available at https://platform65.eventbrite.com/
Meanwhile, newbie Theatre Lab Productions, comprising two local lawyers and one lecturer, ushers in Halloween with ‘Pantang: a Docu-Play’ on 25–28 October. Almost a stage version of local bestseller ‘True Singapore Ghost Stories’, the script of this play is a painstakingly amassed collection of first hand accounts from people who have had eerie encounters, brought to life onstage.
“We’re keeping it a simple sharing of stories,” says charming 31 year-old director Luke Kwek. “A sound designer is making things creepier, and audiences can expect some shocks in the show, but it’s not going to be cheesy horror. It’s mainly very factual, and will give you some evidence to help you decide if you believe in the existence of the supernatural.”
“I for one believe in spirits,” states Kwek matter-of-factly, “but after doing ‘Pantang’, I don’t think any ghost story will scare me anymore.”
25-28 Oct, Black Box, Goodman Arts Centre, 90 Goodman Rd. Tickets $22-32
Pinball Collective and Studio Thirteen: ‘Bedok Reservoir’
Performed from 1–3 November, ‘Bedok Reservoir’ zooms in on the alarming number of bodies found in Bedok Reservoir. Writer and producer is 27 year-old Wesley Leon Aroozoo, celebrated Singaporean indie filmmaker/screenwriter and founding member of new experiential theatre company Pinball Collective. He explains, “Last year there were many drownings at Bedok Reservoir, and the one that grabbed me most was that which involved a mom and her child. There were a lot of unresolved questions ... Why? How? This play explores what could have happened, and about the mom searching for the lost child in the afterlife.”
It will be a bit experimental, says Aroozoo. “It’s strangely presented. We won’t have the audience sitting apart watching actors on a stage. They’ll sit all around, even in the set. And I expect them to go home happy.”
If you’d like these shows to have a happy ending for the theatre companies, buy a ticket or five to show your support. These shows are largely self-funded, and every ticket goes a long way to helping to keep Singapore theatre alive — not dead.
1-3 Nov, Black Box, Goodman Arts Centre, 90 Goodman Rd. Tickets available at https://pinballcollective.com/blog/?page_id=14
Jo Tanis a professional freelancer whose cv includes wedding singing and selling fish. She actually likes salads and tofu, and doesn't eat chicken because she had two as pets (their names were Bubbles and Joveranter Cat.) However, she is not a hippie because she is bad at yoga and like most of Singapore, expects to slave her whole life to pay for her new HDB flat.