Singapore International Festival of Arts: The first wave of 2019's line-up features a controversial communist figure

Singapore International Festival of Arts: The first wave of 2019's line-up features a controversial communist figure

Power play

Text: Aravin Sandran

by Suzuki Company of Toga & Purnati Indonesia
Performed in various regional Indonesian languages, Japanese and Mandarin with English subtitles

One of the leading Asian theatre directors of the 20th century, Tadashi Suzuki's take on the Greek tragedy The Bacchae is more interpretative rearrangement than literal adaptation, with an impressively diverse cast of Indonesian, Japanese and Chinese actors. In a unique collaboration with art production house Purnati Indonesia, expect this one to be physical, expressive and most of all, linguistically challenging.

various timings, 17 and 18 May 2019, Victoria Theatre

The Mysterious Lai Teck
by Ho Tzu Nyen
Performed in Mandarin with English subtitles

This isn't the first time acclaimed Singaporean artist Ho Tzu Nyen has explored the life and persona of Lai Teck, the controversial leader of the Communist Party of Malaya in the 1940s. In 2016, Ho spliced together 16 films of Hong Kong actor Tony Leung for a video installation at Art Basel Switzerland in 2016. This time around, Ho will blend historical writings and scholarship on Southeast Asia's most enigmatic spies with speculative fiction in this inventive staging that will feature an animatronic puppet, visual projections and theatrical drapes.

8pm, 17 to 19 May 2019, Black Box, Goodman Arts Centre

Displaced Persons' Welcome Dinner
by Checkpoint Theatre

With refugee crisises raging on all over the world including South Sudan, Rohingya and Greece, this powerful and timely new play revolves around a group of humanitarian workers who are caught in the crosshairs in a refugee camp. This revealing examination will interrogate the idealism and heroism of humantarian workers while raising important questions about the repurcussions of conflict, delving beneath two-dimensional media portrayals to examine treacherous politics and flawed institutions. 

A Dream Under the Southern Bough: Reverie
by Toy Factory Productions
Presented in Mandarin with Chinese and English subtitles

The second instalment of an ambitous three-part series by Toy Factory, this production follows its predecessor, The Beginning from SIFA 2018. When disgraced naval officer Chun Yu Fen falls asleep, he is thrust into the Ant Kingdom where Chun finds himself bethrothed to the kingdom's princess and the newly appointed governor of the Southern Bough. The production meets its dramatic culmination in Existence, to be presented in SIFA 2020.

various timings, 31 May to 2 June 2019, Drama Centre Theatre

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