Some introspective levity to chase away the pandemic blues

It's a crazy difficult time for the arts scene. That's a given. But that doesn't mean we can't still infect ourselves (pun intended) with some good ol' humour (as the local stand-up community is doing). All in good jest, of course, and in a bid to simply counter the pervasive, pandemic-driven doom and gloom.

And leave it to three of Singapore's leading homegrown theatre companies—Pangdemonium, Singapore Repertory Theatre (SRT) and Wild Rice—to lead the way.

Introducing The Pitch, an irreverent satirical comedy about three Singaporean theatre troupes as they clash in their approaches to making art, and which ironically (also poignantly), marks the first ever co-production between the three homegrown theatre darlings. Yes, it's all very meta, and that's part of the charm.

It's not taking to the physical stage however, given current regulatory restrictions, but as a short film free for all to watch on their website, premiering online come 9pm, Aug 31. Acclaimed screenwriter and playwright Ken Kwek is co-writing and directing the film.

Playing leading roles are the leading personalities behind the three theatre companies—Adrian Pang, Gaurav Kripalani and Ivan Heng—each playing a fictionalised version of themselves, alongside co-stars the likes of Charlotte Nors, Tracie Pang and Tony Trickett.

“We are three very different theatre companies, but the pandemic has brought us together in our first co-production,” says Heng, Artistic Director of Wild Rice, on how this collab came about.

“We had enormous fun making The Pitch together. We hope it will lift our audiences’ spirits, while raising awareness of what our theatre industry is going through at this time.”

And while The Pitch is free to watch, they are hoping that audiences will pitch in via donations through platform Ray of Hope. All proceeds will be split equally between the three theatre entities, to help them keep their initiatives and operations going.

Audiences are also welcome to join in a live, in-depth virtual conversation with Heng, Kripalani and Pang the following week on Sep 7, 9pm. There, they will discuss candidly about the creative process behind The Pitch, as well as delve deep into broader issues on the future of live theatre and the performing arts in Singapore.

“Our entire industry is suffering, on a scale unlike anything we’ve experienced before,” says Kripalani, Artistic Director of SRT.

“We have had practically no income since theatres closed at the beginning of the year. This has critically impaired our ability to keep paying our staff, to offer employment opportunities to our freelance colleagues in the theatre community, and to plan for the future.”

So lend your ears, eyes and even your wallets. You pitching in can be a matter of life and death for Singapore's arts scene. And this time, we're not being dramatic.

The Pitch debuts online, Aug 31 at 9pm, and is free to watch. Donate to your favourite homegrown theatre companies on Ray of Hope.