72-13 Arts Music Preview Singapore Theatreworks

Preview: How To Break A Window by T:>Works

Screenshot 2020-11-19 at 2.30.13 AM

Following their hybrid edition of Festival of Women: N.O.W. 2020 (not ordinary work) in July, this December, T:>Works is set to re-open their doors for their final programme of 2020. Taking place from 16th to 19th December 2020, T:>Works will be welcoming a limited audience to attend a hybrid theatrical experience at their home at 72-13, with the intention of deepening engagement with an emerging community of audiences open to digital performance.

How To Break A Window follows T:>Works’ investigation into the creation of digital performance and transmedia storytelling in this era of disruption. The programme will feature digital productions, live staged readings, a hybrid performance which is both live and digitalized, as well as conversations with a group of up-and-coming playwrights exploring transmedia storytelling.

The lineup of How To Break A Window showcases the winners of T:>Works’ first digital edition of the popular annual playwriting event, the 24-Hour Playwriting Competition. Firmly rooted in live theatre and eagerly embracing the possibilities of transmedia storytelling, the featured playwrights represent a new milestone in the 24-Hour Playwriting Competition. In this year’s edition, due to the pandemic, the competition took place entirely online, and required playwrights to conceptualize works explicitly intended to be presented for the digital screen. The programme name How To Break A Window is a nod to the competition’s stimulus of ‘Window’, and how competitors approached it with the intent to break convention and discover a brave new world.

Over the four nights, the plays of winners Wong Chen Seong (First Place), Carolyn Camoens (Second Place) and Rajkumar Thiagaras (Third Place) from the Open Category, and Youth Category winners Sarah Zafirah (First Place) Bernadette Koh (Second Place) will be presented through experimental film and animation techniques, in collaboration with transmedia directors.

From the Open Category, Wong Chen Seong’s Third Eye will be directed by Casey Lim, and follows the story of Seong as he returns home and confronts memories and ghosts from his past in the solitude of his hotel stay during quarantine. Carolyn Camoens’ Tadka will be directed by Jasmine Ng, and tells the story of how Geeta settles into her new life in Singapore, while Rajkumar Thiagaras’ Onthakan – The Blue Hour will receive a live staged reading directed by Kaylene Tan, where two former university mates spend an unassuming hour on Zoom as they reconnect over their love for literature.

From the Youth Category, Sarah Zafirah’s The Correspondence will also be directed by Kaylene Tan, as Hal struggles to deal with his father’s death, while Bernadette Koh’s La Façade will be directed by Noorlinah Mohamed, following a family living in a city where curtains are not allowed, and officials visit at different intervals to check on the residents’ safety and well-being.

Noorlinah Mohamed, Artistic Director of N.O.W. who also conceptualized and helms How To Break A Window, says, “In this uncertain time when fully-packed theatre halls may not return to us in the immediate future, How To Break A Window is our attempt to reimagine theatre in an ever-changing world. With the return of a limited live engagement, T:>Works wishes to celebrate liveness with its audiences, in combination with digitalized performances. The physical gathering allows us to engage in different dialogues face to face beyond the comfort zone of the digitalized realm. With How To Break A Window, T:>Works will instead forge forward in challenging previously held notions of performance writing, methods of performance, strategies of craft, and, stretching the capacity of the audience to experience art in new ways.”

Noorlinah continues: “Launching a series of digital performances in this time also means that we are aware that there are new engagement potentials here. T:>Works is committed to building a community that is receptive, welcoming and embracing of our continued experimentation with digital performance and transmedia storytelling. That is why How To Break A Window will also host a virtual talkback session with the creators. This hybridity in form, delivery and discussion of digital performance is the marriage of positives – between the intimate nature of live theatre and the possibilities of the digitalized realm.”

In conceptualizing How To Break A Window, T:>Works tapped into the insights gathered from its two digital engagements earlier in the year: a four-part webinar on curatorial practices led by T:>Works Artistic Director Dr. Ong Keng Sen, Curating No-thing, and the Festival of Women: N.O.W. 2020 (not ordinary work). Takeaways from these programmes include how creators and audiences of digital works transcend geographical borders, where these works are likely to be experienced anywhere, anytime, and how the future of digital theatre is still in flux at this point, evading easy categorization and requiring new techniques and strategies to bring to life.

Dr. Ong Keng Sen, Artistic Director of T:>Works concludes: “While there is much said about the losses in moving live theatre to the digital, How To Break A Window is our attempt to capture the limits of live theatre on-screen. How will the transience and intensity of the ‘live’ moment be translated for both the artist and the audience? To that end, we have tailored How To Break A Window to fit the audience of this age, who is hungry for different and relevant modes of art experiences. With How To Break A Window, T:>Works is giving theatre – and performance – a new hybrid lease of life, one that may survive well beyond a time when we can all, both audiences and performers, once again take down our protective masks, gather, and engage in a human way again.”

The hybrid version of How To Break A Window will run from 16th to 19th December 2020 at 72-13. The home theatrical version of How To Break A Window will run on the same days, on Zoom. Tickets available via Peatix

The three digital productions featured in How To Break A Window will also be available to watch on-demand from 20th to 23rd December 2020 via Peatix. 

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