This weekend, SITFE invites audiences to catch six monologues about stories of celebration. In this second instalment of their Solo/Oray Aal monologue series, SITFE gathers a team of writers, directors and actors to perform these celebrations, which see no need for confetti, champagne or parties at expensive restaurants, for they are deep, personal, soulful, silent and even life changing. No matter how hard life might hit us, one should always find some ways to celebrate something.
THROUGH THE FIRE
Devised by Indumathi Tamilselvan and Alvin Tan
Directed by Alvin Tan
Kannagi, a legendary Tamil woman, tells her story of how she lost her husband, whom a king alleged stole his queen’s anklet. Without being tried, her husband was beheaded. Does she seek justice in the form of epic vengeance that kills the lives of innocent people? Exhausted by what to do, Kannagi falls asleep. In her dream, she time-travels. She meets two important personalities in the future – a rape victim and a mother whose son was murdered. Kannagi then returns to her time period and deeply contemplates her two encounters. Waking up, she is ready to make her decision. Through The Fire, inspired by Virginia Woolf’s Orlando, employs its time-travel device, enabling Kannagi to confront possibilities to re-imagine her fate.
Originally written as VEEDU by Kanagalatha in Tamil Directed by Yeo Hon Beng
An old lady who was born in Malaysia, recollects her fond memories of her life as she had to travel from one space to another, taking on different roles at different phases of her lifetime. Upon marriage, she comes to Singapore and moves into a HDB flat. Each corner and space within the house never fails to bring smiles to her wrinkled face as intimate memories engulf her in a way she can’t understand. She embraces the sweet feeling. Just as she thought the house with fond memories of her children and deceased husband is going to be her final place of rest, something unexpected happens, making it very hard for the old lady to grapple with the painful truth about the space she had been regarding as her dear home.
TOUCH ME NOT
Written by Aishwarya Directed by Lewin
Almost always, sexual victimisation is characterised as a “women’s issue”. As such, many men with traumatic experiences suffer in silence throughout their lives. Social attitudes and stereotypes about men and masculinity make it even harder.
Where do men go for help when they need it? How do they overcome the stigma and shame? And most importantly, what do they do to keep going on with life?
Manvir, a 28-year-old Sikh, battles with a traumatic past. In his quest to overcome stigma and shame, Manvir learns to celebrate life’s simplest joys and smallest wins in his journey of healing and living.
யார் பலியாவது ? (Who’s to be Sacrificed ?)
Written by Abinaya Jothi Directed by T. Sasitharan
Not everyone is behind bars. This is a story about how people (especially depending on their gender) are sacrificed for the country, for other humans or for other genders. And the struggle between life and death during those sacrifices.
This work looks at three characters: a contemporary reimagining of the male character Aravan from the Indian epic tale the Mahabharata; a transperson whose job is to sing laments (oppari) during death ceremonies in the villages; a devadasi who was a female artist dedicated to the worship and service of a deity or a temple for the rest of her life.
Some contemporary questions and concepts are explored using these three characters. Who can plan or impose these to another human? And how aware of these characters about what they are going to involve? What is self-sacrifice? Why aren’t others resisting this discrimination?
கழிமுகம் (Mouth of River)
Written by Syed Ashratullah Directed by Ponkumaran
Just like a river delta where sand deposits slow down the flow of the river, Ananya is not fully able to pee due to a condition called cystocele. This story shares the journey, ,trials and tribulations of Ananya, as she shares how this condition has affected her smooth life. We see how the story unfolds and eventually she can pee again after a corrective surgery. கழிமுகம் celebrates the willpower of women and how we appreciate the simplest things in life.
நான் வயசுக்கு வந்துடேன் (I’ve come of age)
Written by Umayal Thiruselvam & Santhia D/O Uthekumaran
Directed by Rohshini Thiagarajan
A 14-year-old student is ready but not ready to move onto the next step in life. We celebrate with him while trying to understand the changes he has to face. Eight years of wearing shorts became a comfort and now he faces the thought of having to wear long pants. With this, meeting the expectations of people around him, fills his mind to the brim. What options does he have? What can he do about the situation he is in?
Solo/Oray Aal 2023 plays from 10th to 12th February 2023 at the Esplanade Theatre Studio. Tickets and more information available here
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