The Wild Rice-led Singapore Theatre Festival is happening from Jun 30-Jul 24 at Lasalle, and this year’s plays touch on topics like decolonization, LGBT issues and the lighter side of politics. Here are the titles to catch.
Hotel (Jun 30-Jul 24)
Hotel by Wild Rice.
Directed by Ivan Heng and written by Alfian Sa’at together with Marcia Vanderstraaten, Hotel presents Singapore’s transition from its time as a British colony to an independent nation, all through the staff and guests of an old timey hotel, as they check in and out over the span of a century. The five-hour play is divided into two parts. Tickets start at $80 and are available through Sistic.
Riders Know When It’s Gonna Rain (Jun 30-Jul 3)
Riders know when it’s gonna rain by Wild Rice.
Enter the world of mat moto (youth motorbiking) subculture in Singapore through this piece writted by biker and multimedia journalist Nessa Anwar. Four youthful friends united by their love for bikes from the moment they received their 2B licenses soon face challenges of transitioning into adulthood that test their loyalty for one another. In Malay with English surtitles. Tickets are $35 (double billed with Hawa) from Sistic.
Geylang (Jun 30-Jul 3)
Geylang by Wild Rice
Singapore’s infamous red light district gets a tender treatment in Geylang, told through four stories revolving around a single mother, a gang leader, a civil servant and a pair of star-crossed lovers unfold. Tickets are at $35 from SISTIC.
Grandmother Tongue (Jul 6-11)
Grandmother tongue by Wild Rice
Language, dialect and generation gaps are time-honored topics in Singaporean arts, and in this play, a young man tries to bridge that gap with his 84-year old Teochew-speaking grandmother, by teaching her how to use a mobile phone and going on a hunt for her favorite brand of soya sauce. In Teochew with English surtitles. Tickets are $35 through Sistic.
My Mother Buys Condoms (Jul 14-24)
My mother buys condoms by Wild Rice
In this cheeky spin on active ageing, an unconventional romance blooms between a retired schoolteacher and an aircon repairman as she teaches him how to read. The play challenges society’s attitudes towards senior citizens and their sexual lives as the supporting characters react to the whole situation. Tickets are $35 from Sistic.
GRC (Geng Rebut Cabinet) (Jul 14-24)
GRC (Geng Rebut Cabinet) by Wild Rice
Bringing together two dynamic subjects (politics and race), this farcical play presents a madcap election in which a Chinese candidate becomes the minority in a political party alongside four Malay candidates who hold positions of a Minister, a Brigadier-General, a high-flying lawyer and a grassroots organizer. Tickets are $40 from Sistic.
Let’s Get Back Together (Jul 7-10)
Let’s get back together by W!LD RICE
Hot on the heels of Pink Dot and ensuing drama in the news is this play focused on LGBT issues in Singapore. Pieced together through extensive interviews conducted with over 50 people, the testimonial-style piece deals with topics such as coming out, discrimination and a fraught relationship with religion. Tickets are $35 from SISTIC.
Hawa (Jun 30-Jul 3)
Hawa by W!LD RICE
Hawa is a black comedy whose main character is recent convert to Islam, Siti, who oversees the funeral of her close friend together and meets an intriguing stranger along the way. The play deals with issues of faith and love as Siti goes on a journey to rediscover herself as she grieves over her losses.Tickets are $35 (double billed with Riders Know When It’s Gonna Rain) from Sistic.
Love Singapore theater? Read our interview with Ivan Heng, artistic director of Wild Rice.