Singapore Arts Festival 2010 Showcases Asian Cultures and Heritage

by Mallika Naguran

The Singapore Arts Festival 2010 is bent on bringing out the best hues, tones and drama in celebration of heritage and cultures from Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, India, and beyond.

Emily of Emerald Hill returns!

The restaging of Emily of Emerald Hill (Singapore) with Margaret Chan revisits a seminal work that has been a landmark in the artistic heritage of Singapore, while touching on the Peranakan heritage that is unique to this part of the world.

This production is showcased in the Re/visit/create/imagine/mix line-up, which aims to build a consciousness of Singapore's performance heritage and history and reconnect audiences with eminent Singapore stagings.

Celebrating the Malay culture and heritage is Zapin Di Muara (Singapore), which explores the similarities and differences between Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia through the vigour of the Zapin dance form.  

Audiences will be entranced by the deeply rooted and complex heritage of traditional Indian gypsy music presented in a theatrical format in The Manganiyar Seduction directed by Roysten Abel (India).

Meanwhile, Pichet Klunchun explores his Thai heritage in dialogue with legendary dancer Vaslav Nijinsky, in Nijinsky Siam (Thailand), on the Between Traditional and Contemporary platform. 

Nijinsky Siam explores Thai heritage.

The Nanning Cantonese Opera Troupe (China) will treat opera fans to a showcase of traditional Cantonese opera not performed in Singapore in recent decades. Cultures often draw on one another, connecting in many different ways to enhance each other.

Cross-cultural art works are an expression of this ever-present dialogue. Football! Football! (Italy/Singapore/Bosnia/Belgium) directed by Haris Pašovi explores the importance and impact of the culture of football in the lives of people, and captures the artistry, philosophy and humor of football through the use of dance, theatre and video.

Cool by Beijing Paper Tiger Theater Studio (China) shows the culture of brutality (kùxíng) and the culture of being cool (kù) co-exist, through installations, body work and strong visual elements. 

Theatre Moollee (Korea) presents Lady Macbeth, a creative reinterpretation of Macbeth that negotiates Western perspectives with the traditional shamanistic world view that is prominent in Korea.

Red Demon is a Thai folk dance-drama adaptation by Makhampom Theatre Group (Thailand) of a Japanese play by internationally renowned director Hideki Noda, presenting an entirely new theme through Likay.

Elevator Repair Service (USA) presents Gatz, a six-hour long verbatim reading of The Great Gatsby, set in an office where the narrator's colleagues begin to act out the drama and dialogue of Fitzgerald's novel.  

In total, 34 productions from 20 countries and regions will make its mark from 14 May to 13 June, and is anchored by a year-long education and outreach programme titled com.mune to sustain public engagement beyond the festival.

The Singapore Arts Festival is organised by the National Arts Council.

Photos courtesy of the Singapore Arts Festival.