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M1SFF 2018 Previews Part 1: Battling Societal Influences and Pressures

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The annual M1 Singapore Fringe Festival kicks off this year with an all new theme, as artistic director Sean Tobin takes it in a new direction – celebrating some of the most influential Singapore artists and taking inspiration from their most iconic works. In 2018, this theme begins with artist Amanda Heng and her seminal work Let’s Walk, created in 1999 as a response to women losing their jobs following the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis and the subsequent boom in the beauty industries. In part one of our preview of the works created in response to the theme, we look at five pieces that deal with Let’s Walk‘s concerns with battling societal influences and pressures, staying true to one’s self and refusing to conform to predetermined expectations and gendered norms. Read more in our preview below!

The Immortal Sole by Edith Podesta (17th – 20th January)

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Multidisciplinary Life! Theatre Award winning artist Edith Podesta returns to the fringe this year with an all new dance theatre piece. Inspired by and reimagining Hans Christian Anderson’s classic fairy tale The Little Mermaid, The Immortal Sole (yes, that’s an incredible pun) combines influences from ancient mermaid folklore and legend to modern images of femininity and women, from Christian Louboutin heels to the hypersexualized Miley Cyrus in Wrecking Ball. 

Featuring performers Dapheny Chen, Koh Wan Ching, Ma Yanling and Yarra Illeto, The Immortal Sole is undoubtedly one of our most anticipated fringe performances next year, and promises an unforgettable, wildly creative interpretation encapsulating patriarchal notions of female stereotypes, and how these affect a girl as she grows into a woman, charting things lost as she matures under the pressures of these established socio-cultural norms, and hamper her from standing on her own two feet.

The Immortal Sole plays at the Esplanade Theatre Studio from 17th – 20th January. Tickets available from SISTIC


The Neighbor’s Grief Is Greener by Emanuella Amichai (23rd- 24th January)

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Hailing from Tel Aviv, Israeli artist Emanuella Amichai presents the strangely familiar scene of sterile 1950s American suburbia in her blood soaked and sharply hilarious piece The Neighbor’s Grief Is Greener.

In her performance, a bored husband, his Stepford wife and a femme fatale meet in a kitchen as Amichai combines contemporary dance, physical theatre, and too many litres of blood for comfort to discomfort audiences about the unnerving truth behind perfection in domesticity as she tackles gender roles and sexuality head on with a healthy dose of irony and humour in this critically acclaimed performance.

The Neighbor’s Grief Is Greener plays at the Esplanade Theatre studio from 23rd- 24th January. Tickets available from SISTIC

Hayat by Pink Gajah Theatre (17th – 20th January)

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Sharda Harrison is one of our favourite local actresses, and we’ve also recently witnessed her mother Ajuntha Anwari in action during Jeffrey Tan’s Open Homes at SilverArts 2017. So you can imagine how incredibly excited we are to see both of them in an all new show together, as they tackle issues of mortality, the pressure of attaining success in a man’s world, and to survive in a highly urbanised world and yet hold onto our ancient groundings.

In Arabic, Hayat translates to ‘life’, and in this performance, the superb mother-daughter duo will utilize ritual, text and movement to form an intimate reflection on the process of living and dying as we bear witness to one woman’s past, present and future.

Hayat plays at the Centre 42 Black Box from 17th – 20th January. Tickets available from SISTIC

All In by ATRESBANDES (19th – 20th January)

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Spanish theatre company ATRESBANDES hails from Barcelona and presents a truly unique work with All In, an absurdist physical theatre piece that encourages its cast to break from the mainstream monotony of the crowd and explore what it means to truly be free.

Utilizing striking visuals and wild movement as the cast moves through disparate worlds, from nightclubs to self help manuals to national anthems, ATRESBANDES explores how we face various forms of social control in our daily lives, as they unveil the absurdity in the everyday, and attempt to assert their independence as individuals once and for all.

All In plays from 19th – 20th January at the Esplanade Recital Studio. Tickets available from SISTIC

Does This Work For You? by The Nervous System (28th January)

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New theatre company The Nervous System springs into the fringe with Does This Work For You?, a physical theatre production that discusses discrimination within the workplace and the ability to triumph in the face of challenges.

Combined with forms of  verbatim theatre, with research done in the form of real interviews with people involved in the Singapore workplace environment, Does This Work For You? seeks to recalibrate the way we view social norms and stigmas and take a closer look at the most pertinent and sinister problems that haunt our work environment today.

Does This Work For You? plays at the Esplanade Rehearsal Studio on 28th January. Tickets available from SISTIC

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Look out for part 2 of our upcoming previews of the 2018 M1SFF as we present four pieces that tackle the theme of “Redefining Individuality and Identity”!

M1 Singapore Fringe Festival 2018 takes place from 17th – 28th January 2018. Book your tickets now via SISTIC and for more information, check out the website here

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