Let’s Walk borrows its name from contemporary artist Amanda Heng’s 1999 work of the same name. The work was created as a response to the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis, where female employees were the first to be fired as companies began to undergo downsizing, forcing many to head to beauty salons and undergo plastic surgery in order to keep their jobs. Heng’s work thus focused on making a statement about Singapore’s pre-occupation with reliance on outer beauty to make one feel better, as opposed to inner strength and beauty.
Naturally, Heng’s work will once again be revisited during the festival, where various events will take place from September 2017 to May 2018, from a solo durational live performance as Heng walks from Clifford Pier to the Causeway checkpoint, workshops with students and members of the public as they walk from the Substation to Merlion Park, to the culmination and documentation of the work and responses to it in an exhibition at Objectifs. Said Heng: “Let’s Walk is also about bringing the work out from my studio into the street, where audience participation is what finally completes the process. I look forward to revisiting the work and seeing the various reactions from the world, seeing the shifts in development since it first premiered in 1999.”
Other local artists participating include Pink Gajah Theatre with Hayat, where Sharda Harrison will be performing an original piece with her mother Ajuntha Anwari (who we loved in her solo performance I AM at SilverArts), Rei Poh with Attempts: Singapore, a participatory, immersive theatre piece utilizing video game theory based on Martin Crimp’s Attempts On Her Life, Jo Tan with her first full length play Forked, attempting to discover the ‘true Singaporean voice’, and Petrina Kow’s Walking In Beauty, an intimate piece featuring prominent female personalities and artists such as Anita Kapoor and Oniatta Effendi as they share deeply personal stories of womanhood and what it means to be beautiful. ‘Fresh Fringe’, featuring young artists Kenneth Chia and Mitchell Fang, as well as The Nervous System, will also be making a return this year with new works that represent the voice of a new generation of theatremakers.
Ultimately though, the Fringe is all about presenting humanitarian works that showcase the very intensity of life. Said Tobin: “There’s something about playful works like these that’s very refreshing and show that you can still be creative and do a lot with very little. For Singaporeans, the arts remains of of the best ways to engage in healthy, hearty democratic dialogue, and we hope that these works open up that space for discussion.”
So what’re you waiting for? As the Fringe enters a bold new season in 2018, grab your most comfortable pair of shoes and let’s walk. Tickets are expected to be snapped up quickly, so be sure to book early, and grab them while you still can!
In 2019, the M1SFF will take on Suzann Victor’s Still Waters as its theme from 17th – 29th January 2019. Interested applicants can read more about it on the Fringe website here and apply for the open call until 2nd March 2018.
Look out for our upcoming look at each show in our three part preview of the entire festival soon!