SIFA 2020: What to catch at the Singapore International Festival of the Arts in May
Schedule these must-sees
For the next person who exclaims Singapore is "so boring", kill their negativity with the PSA you're about to get here.
Back for its 43rd (yes, let us repeat that – 43rd) edition, the annual Singapore International Festival of the Arts (SIFA) is chock-full of film screenings, art exhibitions, theatre shows, dance performances, and concerts by local and international artists. With 60 programmes running from May 15 to 31, even the most studied of culture enthusiasts would have trouble parsing through it all, so we have some suggestions from each genre of work. Here are five you absolutely can't miss.
Theatre: The Year of No Return by The Necessary Stage
Climate change is the name of the game in this ground-breaking multi-disciplinary collaboration, which brings together artists from Japan, Malaysia, The Philippines, and Singapore. The stage production seeks to unravel the complications and contradictions in humanity's responses surrounding one of the most pervasive and threatening crises of our time.
Music: Buddha Passion by Tan Dun
Grammy- and Academy award-winning artist and world-renowned composer Tan Dun's Buddha Passion is the first of its kind in the world. This six-act opera weaves the life and teachings of Buddha together with timeless messages of peace, compassion, and gentleness – something that we need more of these days. In this performance, Internationale Chorakademie Lübeck from Germany and the Singapore Symphony Orchestra will come together to play alongside seven soloists as one of the opening works of this year's festival.
Dance: Queen Blood by Paradox-Sal
Channelling female energy into dance, French group Paradox-Sal challenges the way femininity is coded through gestures. Steeped in a hybrid milieu of Afro-house rhythms, hip hop, and dance battle, house dance specialist and choreographer Ousmane Sy's choreographic ethos marries both the freewheeling spirit of hip hop and the disciplined rigour of a corps de ballet.
Film: Cold Blood by Astragales, Michèle Anne De Mey, Jaco Van Dormael and Thomas Gunzig
A "feature-length film shot on a kitchen table", this film presents seven mini-stories around death – think dancing hands, nano-sets and lots of cinematic flair – all with a dash of offbeat humour. Filmmaker Jaco Van Dormael, choreographer Michèle Anne De Mey, scriptwriter Thomas Gunzig and finger dancers Astragales gather inspiration from film noir, old Hollywood, and blockbuster war movies to create this eccentric work of art.
Visual Arts: 100% Singapore by Rimini Protokoll
See 100 Singaporeans onstage in an enactment of statistical data about our city's demographics. The Singaporeans who each represent one per cent of the city's population will undertake an extensive survey that, together with their personal stories, illustrate the DNA of our island city.
There are also free workshops, installations and talks to participate in. To find out more on SIFA 2020's full line-up, visit sifa.sg.