4 unmissable shows to catch at Esplanade’s The Studios 2019

Running for more than a decade, Esplanade’s The Studios has become known as a significant platform for Singaporean theater practitioners to develop works and have their voices heard. From the neo-realist to the experimental, these works spark dialogue and reflection on the many facets of the human condition.

The theme for The Studios 2019 is “The weight of a stone in a pocket”. You have a stone in your pocket; you might have forgotten it was there, but it’s there for a reason. And where are you bringing it? With that sentiment, this season of The Studios will feature a series of thought-provoking productions from Mar 28 to Apr 27. Here’s what you can look forward to.

Rubber Girl on the loose (R18)

Written and directed by CAKE’s Natalie Hennedige, with an international cast which includes Indonesian and Australian dancers (Darlane Litaay and Sarah Chaffey respectively), a Berlin-based musician (Matthias Engler) and a Malaysian actor (Ghafir Akbar), Rubber Girl on the loose is a retelling of the Sophocles tragedy Antigone. Rubber Girl is a nickname for the titular character, a “rebel with a cause” who sticks to her guns without fear, compromise or hesitation. Mar 28–31

Miss British

Commissioned and produced by the Esplanade, Miss British by The Art of Strangers examines the trails of prejudice and social hierarchies that remain around the world in the wake of colonization. A blend of theater, dance choreography by Chloe C. Chotrani and video installation by Loo Zihan, the piece will be performed by Sharon Frese, Kalaiselvi Grace, Rebekah Sangeetha Dorai and Riduan Zalani, with Felipe Cervera directing. Apr 4–7

Mergers & Accusations (R18)

While new works are a highlight of The Studios, revivals are also a big part of the program. Among the plays we get to revisit this year is 1993’s Mergers & Accusations.

Jonathan and Ellen are very much living the dream, or so it seems—they’re best friends who got married and started a family. There are complications, however, which come to the fore when an openly gay lawyer enters their lives. Written by Eleanor Wong and directed by Chen Yingxuan, the play will be performed by Oon Shu An, Shane Mardjuki, Amanda Tee and Nessa Anwar. Apr 11–14

My Grandfather’s Road (RHDS)

My Grandfather’s Road (RHDS) takes a common phrase literally—writer Neo Kim Seng actually grew up in a house on a road named after his grandfather. All that is in the past, however, as he moved away from that corner of Pasir Panjang in 1973. In the play, Neo’s idyllic childhood and family history are revisited, not simply for nostalgia’s sake, but in an exploration of how we are composites of our personal stories.

First performed in 2015 and developed in Cantonese in 2017, the latest version of the play will include new stories and reflections which have surfaced since the original production. Neo directs, with Karen Tan and Loong Seng Onn performing in English (Thu and Sat, 8pm; Sun, 3pm) and Tan Cher Kian and Gary Tang, who developed the 2017 version, performing in Cantonese with English surtitles (Fri, 8pm; Sat, 3pm). Apr 18–21

Tickets for each show are available for $35 from Esplanade and Sistic. Ticket packages are also available. For more information, head to the Esplanade website.