Preview: Bitten – Return To Our Roots by Thong Pei Qin and Dr Nidya Shanthini Manokara

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After a successful showing at the M1 Singapore Fringe Festival 2017 and further development under Centre 42’s Basement Workshop, this November, theatre-makers Thong Pei Qin and Dr. Nidya Shanthini Manokara will present a brand new site-specific theatrical journey at Kampong Bugis​. Titled BITTEN: return to our roots, the performance attempts to uncover memories and histories buried within the old Kallang Gasworks and the community that once thrived around it.

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Dr Nidya and Thong Pei Qin

These stories were mined from the diverse histories and cultures of past residents and workers in Kampong Bugis, including the creator’s own grandparents who had strong connections with the area, interspersed with their own shared experiences of dengue fever. Thinking about how the two shared the same dengue-infected blood, the creators then were curious about the kinds of connections which bind people beyond blood relations and across cultures. Together, the two bring about a blend of multi-disciplinary theatre, fusing verbatim theatre with bharata natyam and contemporary dance.

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During the performance itself, audiences will be taken around Kampong Bugis, encountering sites such as the 130-year-old Sri Manmatha Karuneshvarar Temple, the mysterious banyan tree at Kallang Riverside Park and the iconic Kallang Gasworks Holder that is gazetted as a historic site by the National Heritage Board, ending at the former Sam Tat building, an old storage warehouse now home to the eclectic Camp Kilo, where audience can enjoy a curated exhibition on the history of Kampong Bugis.

Starring Seong Hui Xuan and Masturah Oli, alongside a cast of versatile dancers, BITTEN will bring the audience on a poignant journey through time in Kampong Bugis, inviting you into a world rich with Singaporean culture, the supernatural and stories of all forms. Taking a closer look at the roots and ties that bind all of us, it is an attempt to reconnect with our past, scratching at that ever present itch for the truth behind our lineage and our very nation’s history.

Bitten: Return to Our Roots plays at the Kampong Bugis Outdoor Theatre on 24th and 25th November 2018, and 1st and 2nd December 2018, with the meeting point at the open field beside the Sri Manmatha Karuneshvarar Temple along Kallang Road. It will also be performed mainly in English, with a mixture of Tamil and Mandarin. Tickets available here

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