Preview: Singapore Night Festival 2017 (Part 2)

Following our preview of the lights installations for the 10th Singapore Night Festival, we present to you a sneak preview of the incredible live acts that will be descending upon the Bras Basah.Bugis precinct for the final three days of the Night Festival.At a media preview of the live performances, we gathered on the Cathay Green to have a peek at Netherland theatre company Close-Act Theatre’s GLOBE. Last seen at the 2016 Night Festival with INVASION, GLOBE will take audiences on a journey into a new world, a world that transcends culture, religion and differences. To create this world, Close-Act has constructed a gigantic, skeletal sphere with a huge screen at the back, playing a video projection of some trippy sequences before the real act begins.

At the preview, we only caught a five minute segment of the show, but it was enough to get us intrigued and raring to come back to catch the full thirty minute show. In the segment we saw, a woman in a devilish costume ascends the sphere on a floating platform, perched precariously on the edge as she sings. Projections of fire and brimstone surround her, and there’s something utterly terrifying about the complete confidence with which she carries herself, ready to wreak some havoc upon this fairytale like world.

Having been promised a world of circus acts such as stilt walkers, plenty of red hot pyrotechnics, and even more impressive projections, you can be sure we’ll be returning to experience GLOBE in all its glory. Do note that there will be a 100% bag check conducted at the venue, so it’s highly recommended to travel light in order to enter the venue more quickly, as big crowds are expected to show up.

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We were then shuttled over to the Festival Village, where various food stalls had been set up to provide much needed refreshments to famished Night Festival-goers. But first of all, we settled down at The Pit on the SMU Campus Green (opposite the National Museum) to catch a snippet of local wrestling group Grapple MAX Dojo’s intense Night Festival Showdown! As with all pro wrestling, the match had a great MC who really got the crowd going, as well as a proper Face (hero) pit against a Heel (villain) that the audience got into.

Even if pro-wrestling is all about rehearsed storylines and improvised physical theatre, if you’re a regular fan of WWE, or watched the Netflix series GLOW, you might be able to see how exciting wrestling can get if you just let go of all your doubts to fully engage with these larger than life characters and the cool fights they engage in. Although a little hammy at first, and with some difficulty telling who we should have been rooting/booing for, as the fight progressed, we were treated to increasingly exciting moves, from a couple of suplexes to even a few flips here and there. Despite only being formed in late 2016, Grapple MAX has since grown in number to include people from all walks of life, from fitness trainers to doctors, and simply aims to bring the art of wrestling and good storytelling to Singapore. From what we’ve seen tonight, the dojo has a lot of potential, and really, all it takes to start enjoying yourself is letting go of your insecurities and fully immersing yourself in the moment.

 

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Roving acts such as the quirky Bulb Heads (men with filament bulbs for ‘heads’) and the walking art pieces Time Minders (dressed in completely clock inspired costumes) roamed the green, bringing fun and cheer to all present. Over the next three days, these roving acts will also be moving around the National Museum, the Cathay Green and Armenian Street, so try your best to keep up with them as you wander the festival zones!
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After all that art, it was finally time to check out the food stalls at the Festival Village, also at the SMU Campus Green. Although not all the stalls were open, we were happy to see our now regular sight at every festival, the Wicked Cream Co, with a stall. Although tonight they were only hawking their handmade, bespoke s’mores, you can expect yet another exciting new creation from these ingenuous marshmallow mavericks with their latest dish: the S’mores Fries, where they will be melting their salted egg flavoured marshmallows onto a handful of freshly cooked fries, while sprinkling some cereal to top it all off. Sounds like the perfect marriage of sweet and savoury to us, so look out for it while you’re here!

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Besides the Wicked Cream Co, we also tried Fish Sh-nack’s beef bowl served with onsen egg and fish skin. Although we’ve tried it before, their quality still remains top notch, and good value for money if you’re feeling peckish during the festival. We also loved Uncle G’s roast pork, which made an audible crunch as we bit into the crispy skin and the meat itself was full of flavour.

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Roast pork from Uncle G
The Festival Village will also be featuring plenty of homegrown artists and craftsmen hawking their wares, while local bands such as Riot !n Magenta, The Pinholes and Jasmine Sokko will be playing tunes onstage. One thing to note is that as part of their initiative to go cashless, the Night Festival has teamed up with Apple Pay to create special Fast Lanes at certain booths, a priority queue where Apply Pay users get first dibs to speed along and get their hands on food and other products from the Festival Village!
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The members of Praxis+ Top Row, from left: So Jing Wen, Ng Jin Xi, Tan Pei Ru, Lee Xin Ting, Seah Wen Zhen.
Bottom Row, from left: Truman Ng, Jonathan Ng, Reuben Wang, Samuel Ho.
Missing: Kwok Shun Git

We absolutely hate how insane the human traffic can get at the Night Festival, but we’re completely willing to brave it to check out local designers Praxis+’s work at the National Design Centre once again. Praxis+ is a group of 10 SUTD students coming from a variety of disciplines to create works that intersect art, media and technology to craft meaningful human-centred experiences.

Having been previously involved in other public installation projects such the Chinatown Light Up and I Light Marina Bay, Praxis+ answered the 2017 Night Festival’s open call for entries with Phosphene. Inspired by the phenomenon of the same name where people see light without light being physically present, Praxis+ extended the concept into an entire installation, in the form of a 15m dark winding tunnel of dazzling lights.

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Phosphene was first conceptualized in late 2016, and the team worked hard at prototyping, testing and fabricating materials over the past four months to bring their installation to life. Made from a unique reflective interior, Phosphene is made entirely in-house, including the tunnel structure, lighting sequences and soundscape, not easy to do while balancing their studies. Without a doubt, Praxis+ achieved their aim to bring wonder, joy, curiosity and surprise to us as we moved from turn to turn, evoking some truly magical moments, and we recommend you once again to check it out before it closes with the Night Festival in the wee hours of Saturday night.

Finally, we want to extend our thanks and heartfelt appreciation to Tate Anzur. Having been at the forefront of the Night Festival’s PR for the last five editions, they’ve really done a good job of always being available to answer our queries and really, take good care of us and ensuring a great experience.
Besides all that though, all we can really say is to catch the Night Festival in its exciting final three days this weekend before it leaves for another year, celebrating the Bras Basah.Bugis precinct in a whole new light, as you find yourself lost in fantastic worlds, dazzled by explosive lighting displays, satisfied by a lineup of exciting food stalls and charmed by the live acts all around the zones.

The 2017 Singapore Night Festival runs till 26th August around the Bras Basah.Bugis Precinct. For more details and the full lineup of events and exhibitions, check out their website here
 

Singapore Night Festival
When: Till 26th August, 7.30pm-12am daily.

Where: Bras Basah.Bugis Precinct

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