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Preview: Murder at Mandai Camp by Sight Lines Entertainment

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With the performing arts going digital, most companies have opted to simply trot out archival works or perform devised readings via Zoom, one company has dared to try something a little more unprecedented – an interactive murder mystery.

Presented by Sight Lines Entertainment, Murder At Mandai Camp runs from 26th to 28th June on Zoom, and combine both stage and film to bring to life this digital theatrical production. Written by Chong Tze Chien, who co-conceptualised the project with Sight Lines artistic director Derrick Chew, the work is inspired by the multitude of army myths and urban legends that National Service men and Singaporeans will find familiar, and sees audiences taking on the role as the lead investigator tasked to uncover the truth behind the gruesome death of a young recruit following a routine outfield exercise.

Sight Lines artistic director Derrick Chew

During said outfield exercise, a young recruit (Irsyad Dawood) is found dead with nothing more than his disembowelled corpse as a clue. Rumours start circulating like wildfire among the remaining soldiers, with suspicions turning to Lieutenant Haziq (Erwin Shah Ismail) and Tan (Bright Ong), who went AWOL in the middle of the exercise. Or worse: could it be an evil spirit in the jungle?

“Fundamentally, we want to connect with our audience. Our mission has always been to tell stories that’ll make a difference in people’s lives. Be it as entertainment or to lift spirits, it’s something everyone needs now and the arts definitely have a big role to play,” says Chew.

Playwright Chong Tze Chien

Also on the team is multimedia designer Genevieve Peck, who will combine physical props and modern day film production techniques to draw audiences into the uncanny Mandai Camp by creating a chilling alternative reality. Not only that, but the team will also be using instant messaging service Telegram as a trusty investigator’s handbook that will be fed with evidence and information in real time, and a collective vote in apprehending the guilty party as its climatic end.

“We cannot use the methods of yesterday to compete in the economies of tomorrow,” Chew explains the need to integrate present technology into the production while preserving the true spirit of theatre. “As an industry and a business, we need to move with the current times and trends in order to stay relevant and connected with our audience and to better spread appreciation of the performing arts in Singapore.”

To complete the experience, Sight Lines has also teamed up with cocktail company Laut, who will create Southeast Asian-inspired cocktails that audiences can order to enjoy during the experience. Laut co-founders Frank Shen and Leon Tan have concocted Grass, comprising Rojak Gin, mixed with torch-ginger and accentuated by a malty toasted rice vinegar, pickle brine and homemade grass kombucha; as well as the Dragonfruit, which combines Straits spiced vodka, smoked longan, sour plum cordial and red dragonfruit juice. If ordered, these will be delivered to you prior to the show beginning, each one at $38 for 250ml (U.P. $48), and can serve 2-3 audience members.

Murder at Mandai Camp also adopts a Pay As You Wish scheme on SISTIC. Tickets start from $15, with the option of supporting the production by opting for $20, $30 or $50 (excluding booking fees).

As to what happens at the end, you’ll have to purchase a ticket for yourself to find out just what lies in wait for the NS men. Is this a case of a perfect murder, or does something more occult lie in the shadows? You decide, when you take part in Murder at Mandai Camp.

Murder at Mandai Camp runs from 26th to 28th June 2020, via Zoom. Tickets available from SISTIC 

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