Spotlight on the Singapore International Festival of Arts
Marking its 42nd edition this year, the Singapore International Festival of Arts (SIFA) champions boundary-pushing artists, both local and international. There’s something for everyone in this month-long cultural extravaganza, with performances spanning theatre, dance and music – plus plenty of workshops, exhibitions, installations and special events. Here are five highlights…
1) For reinvented classics: Dionysus (Japan and Indonesia)
Visionary director Tadashi Suzuki reinterprets the ancient Greek tragedy, The Bacchae, written by the Athenian playwright Euripides. The play tells the story of Dionyus, the god of wine, who cooks up a cunning plot to punish the King of Thebes for denying Dionysus’s divinity. Suzuki has teamed up with art production house Purnati Indonesia; the cast stars an impressive lineup of Indonesian, Japanese and Chinese actors. Costumes come courtesy of Indonesian designer Auguste Soesastro and Suzuki himself; Takada Midori devised the score.
2) For visual wow-factor: Körper (Germany)
You’ll view the human body differently after watching Körper, the thought-provoking signature work by Berlin dance-maker Sasha Waltz. Körper explores ideas around mortality and corporeality, using dance, monologues and provocative imagery. With 12 talented dancers, Waltz creates a series of stunning living tableaux: dancers’ bodies are measured, weighed and stacked up like human building bricks. Writhing, squirming movements showcase the body as both basic and fascinating.
3) For intriguing storytelling: The Mysterious Lai Teck (Singapore)
Acclaimed Singaporean artist Ho Tzu Nyen seeks to unravel some of the mystery that shrouds the famously enigmatic figure of Lai Teck: the leader of the Malayan Communist Party from 1939 to 1947, and a triple agent for the French, British and Japanese secret police. Ho Tzu Nyen’s innovative staging features visual projections, theatrical drapes and an animatronic puppet in its fascinating blend of fact and speculative fiction.
4) For melodic magic: Ryuichi Sakamoto – Fragments (Japan)
This intimate, moving concert is a collaboration between two maestros: iconic composer and musician Ryuichi Sakamoto and Japanese multimedia artist, Shiro Takatani. Together, the Oscar-winning composer and the founder of Japanese art collective Dumb Type have shaped a piece that riffs on the sonority of everyday objects and relies heavily on improvisation. The performance draws from Sakamoto’s latest solo album, async, which draws upon Sakamoto’s battle with cancer and is said to be his most deeply personal album. Takatani’s cinematic visuals, full of poetic metaphors, heighten the score’s emotional impact.
5) For high-tech flair: Frogman (UK)
Frogman combines a groundbreaking virtual reality experience with a thrilling murder myster – it’s typical stuff from curious directive: the progressive, critically-acclaimed UK theatre company. This supernatural thriller rattles some childhood skeletons in the cupboard, exploring the fragility of the childhood imagination. The plot hops between two timelines: in 2019, Meera finds out her father is being investigated for the murder of her childhood friend, Ashleigh Richardson, who disappeared back in 1995. It’s unsettling, exciting and powerful.
Browse SIFA’s full programme or book your flights to Singapore with Singapore Airlines…
All photos credited to Singapore International Festival of Arts.