It’s a busy, busy May for the arts, what with the Singapore International Festival of Arts going on, and landmark events like Shakespeare in the Park swinging into full gear. If you’re thirsting for more after the season ends (or if you find the abovementioned a little too high-brow for your taste), the Esplanade might be a good place to check out next. Flipside is a massive 10-day festival happening May 25-Jun 3, spotlighting unorthodox performances and art. As the name suggests, it wants to take conventional ideas of the arts and flip them—to present a refreshing take on something people might typically find inaccessible.
Here’s what you’ll get to do:
Watch a Singaporean musical in the dark
Catch an original commission by Singaporean composer and musical director Julian Wong, who’s collaborating with fellow musicians, vocalists and theater designers to create a one-of-a-kind musical and sonic experience in the dark. Sensing the Dark will take place in an intimate space designed with subtle lighting effects, and feature both original tunes and classics like Sarah McLachlan’s Angel.
Compose your own electronic music for free
Closet Garageband geeks can go trigger-happy at the Esplanade Concourse, which will be transformed into an arcade-style space (called Art Cade; goodness) with pop-up performances and interactive installations fusing technology and art. The one in question is Gridi by Israeli artist Yuvi Gernstein, which utilizes computer software to compose electronic music right there and then.
Play weird invented musical instruments
Sound Maze by Paul Dresher and Daniel Schmidt completely disregards the rules of music, in presenting an interactive experience for anyone who’s never made it past Grade 4 piano. You’ll get to play on a dozen invented instruments and sound sculptures—like “The Peacock”, a fan-shaped array of wooden keys casually ripped from a deconstructed pipe organ.
Tour the Esplanade backstage after dark
Usually strictly reserved for performers, the offstage area of the Esplanade will be open for poking around, in a special backstage tour The Spaces in Between. You’ll get to explore the lesser seen spaces of the performing arts institution—and hear the ghost stories that come with them, as the tour takes place at night.
Bring a giant yarn puppet to life
Along the Esplanade Waterfront, Singapore yarn artist Adeline Loo and Australia’s Spare Parts Puppet Theatre will collaborate to create quite the sight. Against a background of changing geometric patterns weaved by Loo, a 4-meter tall illuminated puppet will dance and move—with the audience’s participation in taking a string and controlling it, that is.
The festival comprises both free and ticketed events, the latter of which you can purchase here. Obviously we’re all for it; anything to get fellow Singaporeans more interested in this sector is a win in our books. See you on the flipside.
Flipside takes place May 25-Jun 3 at Esplanade—Theatres on the Bay.