Preview: M1 Peer Pleasure Youth Theatre Festival 2017 – The Other

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The annual M1 Peer Pleasure Youth Theatre Festival returns with an all new edition and lineup of shows this July!

Presented by ArtsWok Collaborative in collaboration with Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay, this year’s edition of Peer Pleasure tackles the theme of The Other. Concerned with the increasingly diverse world we live in, The Other deals with the increasing rise of ignorance leading to discrimination in its programmes, reflecting just what it means to be othered and encouraging empathy and through the power of art.

This year, Peer Pleasure will be premiering a number of all new plays as part of its lineup:

Triple Bill (1st-4th August) – Esplanade Recital Studio

Triple Bill 1A

Triple Bill will feature three all new plays performed over a two hour duration. Nonsense, the first of these plays, is a truly unique and groundbreaking one. Directed by Jean Ng, the original play was devised by and will be performed entirely by young people with Down syndrome and other intellectual differences. Nonsense sees war and its horrifying collateral damage as a nonsensical affair, and tells the story of refugees struggling with the aftereffects of war and how little sense the world has, trying to find the beauty and hope that continues to elude us.

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The second of these plays is entitled The Box. Written and directed by local thespian Dwayne Lau and devised and performed by St. Anthony’s Canossian Secondary School, The Box faces the world of social media and its influence on young people’s lifestyles, creating a culture of ‘pseudo-perfection’. The Box explores the impact all this harmful influence has on teenagers negotiating this superficial world, and the constant, pressing need to filter away the flaws till all that remains is a fractured, foggy tint of what was once there.

Triple Bill 3

The final part of the triple bill will be concluded by UNSAID’s new play How Did I Mess Up This Bad: An Analysis. The play follows the life of Rachel, who desperately tries to do everything she can to cure her depression and anxiety over 24 hours, from sports to craftwork to even hosting an evening interview show. But it’s not that easy, especially when a friend comes to visit and an accidental death occurs. As with their previous work Every Singaporean Daughter, UNSAID drew their inspiration from crowd-sourced stories on mental illness and our society’s attitudes towards them.

Without Reason (2nd-4th August) – Esplanade Theatre Studio

Without Reason

Without Reason is a classic boy-meets-girl love story set in modern day Singapore. But of course, here comes the twist. Directed by Adib Kosnan and written by Sim Yan Ying, the main couple in Without Reason finds their relationship challenged by its status as an interracial one between a Chinese girl and a Malay boy. Struggling to overcome cultural and religious differences while managing the doubts and expectations from friends and family, this is one coming-of-age story that will take audiences on a fiercely relevant and unforgettable quest for love and the search for identity.

As always, Peer Pleasure will also feature a number of engagement programmes to educate and inform audiences of the artistic processes and issues behind the plays presented at the festival:

Introduction to Devising Workshop by The Necessary Stage (22nd-23rd July) 

Engagement Programme 1

Cultural Medallion recipients and The Necessary Stage founders Haresh Sharma and Alvin Tan will be heading this workshop where both of them will be sharing the creative process behind coming up with character driven work in some of TNS’ best plays, from Fundamentally Happy to Gemuk Girls. Also look out for special guests Siti Khalijah Zainal and Dwayne Lau who will be making an appearance to share their experience on devising new work. (note: registration has now closed)

Community Dialogues (2nd, 3rd, 5th August) – Various Venues

Engagement Programme 2A

Peer Pleasure will be hosting a number of Community Dialogue sessions discussing various societal issues. On 2nd August, UNSAID will be holding a roundtable discussing their goal of bringing untold narratives in Singapore to light through meaningful art, as well as its sustainability. On 3rd August, the Down Syndrome Association of Singapore will be involved in an investigative process exploring what it takes to devise and stage a work on difficult issues with special needs actors, with the creative team behind Nonsense. Finally on 5th August, all the groups involved in Peer Pleasure will be on panel to discuss how their artistry integrates social consciousness into their work, negotiating tough ethical and aesthetic questions while in production.

As always, the M1 Peer Pleasure Youth Theatre Festival is not afraid to ask the difficult questions in society and its stellar lineup of programmes is sure to be integral towards successfully marrying education with entertainment. With its strong emphasis on encouraging youths to get involved with the arts, don’t miss out on this important festival this July and August as the Peer Pleasure team unites us all, and makes attendees feel a little less othered in life.

Photo Credit: M1 Peer Pleasure Youth Theatre Festival 2017 presented by ArtsWok Collaborative, in collaboration with Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay

The 2017 M1 Peer Pleasure Youth Festival takes place around the Esplanade from 22nd July to 5th August. For tickets and more information on the shows. 

Triple Bill: http://preview.sistic.com.sg/preview/events/cbill0817
Without Reason: http://preview.sistic.com.sg/preview/events/cwithout0817

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