An edgier reboot of the former Singapore Arts Festival, the 2014 Singapore International Festival of Arts (SIFA) will present 12 diverse theatre productions, ranging from dance and musical performances to live installations and a classical music concert series, over a six-week span. This year’s theme, Legacy and the Expanded Classic, turns the spotlight on key issues of art, history and science from the 20th century – cloning, digitalisation, apartheid and colonial rule, to name a few – and how they affect our lives today. It does this by analysing common notions of human dignity and vulnerability, reimagining childhood classics and famous tragedies, and exploring the realms of history versus the future, reality versus fantasy. Here are five of our picks from the festival’s wide offerings.
Give Me Your Blood and I Will Give You Freedom
In a 50-hour live installation, performance artist Nikhil Chopra uses black ink to transform a white canvas into landscapes in a vivid expression of India’s bloody fight for freedom from colonial rule. Assuming the character of a female warrior, he creates a live painting – a metaphorical battleground – right before viewers’ eyes. Audiences can come and go throughout this durational performance, which ends in a climactic finale. From 7pm on 15 August to 9pm on 17 August at 72-13.
A surreal retelling of the children’s classic, this bilingual English-German production, which opened in Berlin and Paris last year, features American music duo CocoRosie and the Berliner Ensemble, as well as lavish set design and a leather jacket-clad Peter. 11, 12 and 13 September at Drama Centre.
A giddying romp into the surrealist mind of Belgian artist Miet Warlop, this blend of theatre, visual art and performance assembles a neon-coloured cast, drawing audiences into its bizarre bubble-gum world – a hallucinatory, wordless universe that’s the chaos of the future. 14 to 16 August at SOTA Studio Theatre.
Amid the Clouds
This poignant tale of lives touched by loss and the forces of history, follows two Iranian exiles as they embark on a perilous journey in search of a new life – exploring the condition of displacement and the universal will to survive. 11, 12 and 13 September at SOTA Studio Theatre.
Exploring questions of genetic profiteering and the cloning of creative genius, this contemporary musical-thriller – composed by British composer Michael Nyman, in collaboration with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra – follows one woman in search of the missing skull of 18th-century Spanish artist, Goya. 12, 14 and 16 August at Victoria Theatre.