After their 2020 programmes were cancelled or presented online due to the circuit breaker measures, the Esplanade’s annual The Studios season is making a comeback this April. Themed Press Play, The Studios 2021 is all about moving forward, no longer being afraid to plan ahead after the devastating uncertainty that plagued 2020, with two shows that were ‘paused’ and originally set to premiere in 2020 ready to debut live in Singapore, alongside a brand new commission to round off the season.
While the recent #THEATRE by INDEX is classified under this year’s season, the main bulk of the performances will be taking place in April, starting with Margaret Leng Tan’s Dragon Ladies Don’t Weep. Charting the life of the celebrated toy pianist, watch as this performance paints a portrait of Tan as a tour de force in the American avant-garde music scene, transforming the toy piano into a serious instrument, and making a name for herself with her stellar career in experimental musical innovation, and working alongside giants such as John Cage and George Crumb. A cross-cultural, multi-disciplinary performance that combines spoken and recorded text, projected images and original music for prepared piano, toy piano, toys and percussion by Tan’s long-term collaborator Erik Griswold, watch as Tan shows you the collage of forces that have shaped her life and her music.
While it may have received a digital presentation last year, Brian Gothong Tan’s Lost Cinema 20/20 is now set to receive the staging it was originally intended for. Known for his work in film and multimedia, Tan explores the links and juxtapositions between filmmaking and the nature of dreams, taking us through the golden age of Singapore cinema while deconstructing what shapes and defines our shared subconscious. Evolving from a six-channel video installation titled Lost Cinema at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, watch as this multi-disciplinary performance brings together text, film, theatre and video art to create a unique theatre experience.
Finally, to round off the 2021 season, local theatre company CAKE presents By Design. Known for experimental performance work in the form of the Decimal Points and Running with Strippers series, By Design is described as “an art excursion where graphic design and performance meet in playful collaboration”, in a performance jam that sees graphic design artists Vanessa Ban, Zach Lieberman and Amber Vittoria coming together to create new pieces with a line-up of live performers.
From being lost in 2020 to finding their centre again in 2021, rife with hope and new possibilities abound, Press Play is here to bring artists and audiences the sense of enjoyment, continuity, flow, creation, and optimism for what is to come, as we move boldly onwards into the new year.
The Studios 2021 runs from 1st to 24th April 2021 at the Esplanade Theatre Studio. Tickets available here