Take your pick of festive shows and independent stagings

The year may be coming to an end but the theatre companies are nowhere near done. Whether it’s a festive pantomime you’re after or a site-specific immersive piece you want, come support our local independent theatre companies at their last hurrahs of the season.

The Reunification of The Two Koreas (Through Nov 11)

Originally a French piece by playmaker Joel Pommerat, The Reunification of The Two Koreas gets its English language world premiere right here in Singapore—thanks to veteran theatre company TheatreWorks. Less about actual Korean politics and more of matters of the heart, the French script, translated into English for the first time, comprises a patchwork of multiple short scenes exploring human relationships. One woman wants a divorce; another has no memory of her husband and their children; and even more unrelated, a prostitute haggles her services with a client. Will they each find peace in the end? Directed by Jacques Vincey from the Centre Dramatique National de Tours in France, the play boasts a cast of bigwigs including Janice Koh, Karen Tan, Timothy Nga, and Ebi Shankara. Come catch the exclusive production, before it goes on to tour in Paris after its Singapore run. Tickets from $48.

Where: 72-13 Home of TheatreWorks, 72-13 Mohamed Sultan Road

Private Parts (Through Nov 18)

When it first premiered in 1992, Private Parts by seasoned playwright Michael Chiang was lauded for being ahead of its time. The comedy revolving around a popular TV host who meets three transsexual characters at a sex change clinic dared to broach what was then a taboo topic—and handled it with both humor and sensitivity. 14 years after its last professional restaging, the sensational play is back, as the inaugural production of Chiang’s new theatre company Play Things. The reboot sees Beatrice Chia-Richmond directing, and a cast littered with familiar names: Chua Enlai, Shane Mardjuki, Zee Wong and Jo Tan, to start. The script may remain largely not-updated—a deliberate move on Chiang’s part—but the relatable jokes and riffs on the Singapore Broadcasting Corporation (now MediaCorp) prove just as effective; while its serious moments reflecting on local laws are nothing but timely. Has anything really changed since the ‘90s? Tickets from $43.

Where: Drama Centre Theatre, National Library Singapore

The Old Woman and the Ox (Nov 15-17)

The young theatre-makers of The Second Breakfast Company (2BCo) are staging an all-new Singaporean script, by 20-year-old playwright Isaiah Christopher Lee. Selected over 40 submissions in an open call held last year, The Old Woman and the Ox explores themes of fear, guilt, loss and love, through protagonist Aileen’s emotional journey disentangling traumatic events from her past. Set against the absurdist backdrop of a crumbling house, the narrative is inspired by Lee’s mother and grandmother, and seeks to blur the lines between surrealism and reality. 2BCo has previously debuted entirely new works of two other young playwrights—Lemmings and The Wedding Pig—as well as a restaging of Goh Poh Seng’s canonical The Moon Is Less Bright. This next show will involve new stage elements like shadow puppetry for a more sensorial experience, and conclude their main season for the year. If you’re in the market for fresh blood, make a date. Tickets at $35.

Where: Gateway Theatre Black Box, 3615 Jalan Bukit Merah

Marie and The Nutcracker (Nov 15-Jan 6)

Remember how the toys all came to life in the story of The Nutcracker? Now you too can play a part in the magical Christmastime tale, as immersive theatre company Andsoforth brings the classic story to life in their latest theatrical feast. Journey through four rooms in a secret location with The Nutcracker himself, defeat the Mouse King, and reap your sweet rewards in the Kingdom of Sweets at the end. Not just pure theatre, the show includes a four-course meal inspired by cuisines from Nuremburg and the original story by German author E. T. A. Hoffman. You’ll play the role of the toys that come to life, so come dressed appropriately. Tickets from $98.

Where: A secret location revealed to all guests 24 hours before the show

A $ingapore Carol (Nov 23-Dec 15)

Mark your calendar and shake out your piggy bank; Wild Rice’s annual Christmas pantomime that you’ve been saving up for is back. This year, they’re localizing the hallmark Christmas tale A Christmas Carol, for a uniquely Singaporean take on miserly men and ghosts of Christmas past, present and future. Instead of Scrooge, cosy up with S.K. Loo—multi-millionaire app developer with a penthouse view, but no real friends or family to share it with. ‘Singapore Boy’ Hossan Leong directs an all-star cast comprising Siti Khalijah Zainal, Candice de Rozario and ‘Broadway Beng’ Sebastian Tan. Going by what we’ve seen from Wild Rice time after time, it’s sure to be another rousing performance. Tickets from $50.

Where: Victoria Theatre

BITTEN: return to our roots (Nov 24-Dec 2)

Come experience Kampong Bugis like you never have before, in an immersive, site-specific theatrical journey through the historic neighbourhood. BITTEN: return to our roots is part documentary theatre, part dance, brought together by director Thong Pei Qin and choreographer Dr. Nidya Shanthini Manokara. The show—which will bring audiences around sites including the Sri Manmatha Karuneshvarar Temple, a mysterious banyan tree at Kallang Riverside Park, and even Camp Kilo—features previously unknown stories of past residents and workers in Kampong Bugis. It’s your chance to uncover memoires and histories of the community that once lived there, told through a mix of verbatim theatre, Indian bharata natyam, and contemporary dance. As for the quirky name—‘Bitten’ was inspired by the two creators’ shared experience of dengue fever, and their subsequent curiosity to discover the various connections that bind people, beyond just blood relations. Never say our arts scene isn’t creative. Tickets at $35.

Where: Kampong Bugis