SIFA 2017: Open Homes, Open Hearts (Preview)
Do you ever wake up in the morning and wonder what life must be like on the other side of Singapore? Personally, as Easties, we’ve always been curious how different life might be for a person living in the North or (god forbid) the wild West. But this SIFA, we’re willing to step beyond the confines and comfort of our own home to find the enchantment in other lives with the stunningly unique Open Homes.
Open Homes will throw the doors of 30 different households wide open over the course of three weekends in August, welcoming ticketholders to step into these makeshift ‘living room theatres’ where the homeowners will share stories with the audience in a 30 minute ‘performance’. From a magician to flamenco dancers, an interracial couple to a cancer survivor, Open Homes will empower its ordinary participants to tell extraordinary stories of love, courage, history and more.
Speaking to organizer Jeffrey Tan, we found out that the project was planned more than a year ago, starting with an open call for participants and subsequent visits to each applicant’s house, before finally shortlisting them to the 30 homes. Previously, Open Homes was done back in 2015, with a total of 25 homes consisting mostly of condominiums and landed property. This edition however, saw a conscious decision to feature more homes in HDBs. In a sense, instead of bringing people to the theatre, Open Homes literally brings the theatre to the people, scattered around heartlands and estates, and allowing their reach to extend to new audience members who may not usually engage in theatre.
Sticking to this year’s SIFA theme of Enchantment, audiences should come in with an open, ‘kaypoh’ mindset, where one is willing to learn about a person one might not usually encounter in one’s normal circle of friends. With their genuine willingness and enthusiasm in sharing their stories, Open Homes hopes that audiences’ curiosity will be captured and held from start to end, and rediscover the magic that lies within people you might pass by on the streets on a daily basis.
By creating these site-specific performance spaces, audiences will be privy to a much more intimate theatre experience, where performing in the comfort of one’s own home lends the show a different kind of power, and an atmosphere unlike any other. One might even think of Open Homes as a ‘voyeuristic’ type of theatrical experience, where by entering these homes, one discovers the unique dynamics and history behind each household. Although you might feel awkward at first entering a stranger’s private living quarters, you’ll quickly become comfortable once you accustom yourself to the space and allow yourself to become drawn into the homeowners’ stories.
All in all, Open Homes is almost certainly the most unique theatrical experience available this SIFA, and will reward the curious with an unforgettable experience. It’s a rare chance to encounter well-curated stories in a deeply personal setting, and each and every performer’s story has the potential to move you with their heartfelt delivery and poignant truths. Come to Open Homes with an open mind, and you’ll definitely be walking away with an open heart filled with newfound knowledge of the most unexpectedly powerful anecdotes.
With 30 different performances to choose from, it’s impossible to attend every single performance, so we recommend you plan wisely. Jeffrey Tan subdivided the homes into three categories – ‘Artist Homes’, where performances are done by artists and creators and focus on the subject of art, ‘Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives’, which consists of ‘normal’ people with a story to tell, and finally ‘Heritage and Culture’, where the homeowners will discuss culture and heritage in their performance. We’ve sorted all 30 homes according to these three categories for an easier time planning!
Legend: Yellow – East, Blue – West, Green – South, Red – North, Pink – Central
Ordinary Folks, Extraordinary Lives
Heritage and Culture
For more details, check out the full list of homes and descriptions here
Open Homes plays across three weekends in August (5, 6, 12, 13, 19, 20) at various timings in various ‘living room theatres’ all around Singapore. Each ticket entitles the holder to one 30 minute show. Book tickets via SISTIC and then pick your time slot on the SIFA website Strictly no door sales on the day itself.