Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay returns with another season of intimate performances with The Studios 2019. This year, the programme takes on the theme The weight of a stone in a pocket, referring to the concept of how stones in one’s pocket are often forgotten, yet the moment one reaches in to touch and feel it, one is triggered to remember the reason for its presence in the first place.
Yet being in a pocket, its presence is transitory, temporal, and soon, it too will move on to somewhere else. Presenting a total of five works, comprising two new pieces, a revival, a rework, and a work-in-progress, join the Esplanade this March and April on this journey of reflection and take stock of your life with these collective stories.
The Studios 2019 kicks off with a brand new co-production with Cake, once again delving into Greek mythology with the cheekily named Rubber Girl on the Loose, this time inspired by the tragedy of Antigone, the third play in Sophocles’ trilogy of Theban Plays (Oedipus Rex). When Antigone defies her uncle-ruler Creon to bury her brother Polyneices, she is dubbed the eponymous Rubber Girl, the proverbial rebel with a cause politicised by necessity to change her world.
Cake then thrusts the city of Thebes into a hallucinatory institution, where not one but three Creons rule over it, with the violent physicality of West Papuan dancer Darlane Litaay, walls of sound with the cavernous beats of Berlin-based musician Matthias Engler, and dictates with crisp voice and exacting vowels to Singapore actor Noorlinah Mohamed. Meanwhile, Rubber Girl is Australian dancer Sarah Chaffey, she speaks with the dead and bounces, she wills us the courage to live life in accordance to our beliefs, without compromise, without hesitation, confronting fear, confronting death, a martyr for our generation today. What happens when personal beliefs clash with authority?
Directed by Felipe Cervera, Miss British attempts to unravel the prejudices and social hierarchies left behind by colonialism across the planet. Based off an original idea by Sharon Frese, who also stars in the performance alongside Grace Kalaiselvi, Rebekah Sangeetha Dorai and Riduan Zaini, watch as Miss British combines theatre, dance, and video installation to bring audiences on a voyage across the oceans of our shared pasts.
Lawyer/playwright Eleanor Wong gained recognition for writing the Invitation to Treat trilogy back n the 90s, boundary breaking and ambitious for its portrayal of a gay woman leading a double life in Singapore. In this first play, watch as best friends Jonathan and Ellen get married, have a child, and live happily ever after. But Ellen wants to be with women (no strings attached) while still being with Jonathan, to an extent. With the picture perfect setting at boiling point, all it takes is openly gay lawyer Lesley to show up at work one day to blow it all apart. Stars Oon Shu An, Shane Mardjuki, Amanda Tee and Nessa Anwar.
Neo Kim Seng presented earlier versions of My Grandfather’s Road last year at Centre 42, in both English and Cantonese. Now, teaming up with the Esplanade, he’s back with a new version in both English and Cantonese, with new stories, new speculation and new reflections as he thinks back to his life growing up in Pasir Panjang on Neo Pee Teck Lane, a side road literally named after his grandfather. Find out how these personal stories form the people we are today, as performed by Karen Tan and Loong Seng Onn in the English version, and Tan Cher Kian and Gary Tang in the Cantonese one.
This year’s production of work-in-progress developmental platform The Studios: RAW sees Bani Haykal team up with Shawn Chua in a crash course for artists. At CulturFix, learn to be empathetic in order to identify the various “broken links” of your assigned artist, and to assist them in the process of re-establishing connections. Experimental and sure to be unexpected, spaces are limited to 20 people per session, so sign up and wait for your Control Moderator to get in touch with you.
The Studios 2019: The Weight Of A Stone In A Pocket plays at the Esplanade Theatre Studio and Esplanade Annexe Studio from 28th March to 27th April 2019. Tickets and full lineup available from the Esplanade. For updates on the works, follow The Studios on Facebook