The M1 Singapore Fringe Festival (M1SFF) may have evolved since its inception in 2005, but its core mission has always been to present local and international works that address social issues, broaden audience viewpoints, and encourage everyone to find new ways in relating to each other.
The much-anticipated 20th edition is set to captivate audiences from Jan 17 to 28 next year with a line-up of exciting, diverse works by Singapore-based and international artists.
The January 2024 programme introduces six productions that explore societal challenges and perspectives around the world. Their common goals shed light on adversity, resistance, and breaking free of stereotypes and routines.
Challenging the familial understanding of duty and love
Among the highlights is playwright Raimi Safari’s Oo-Woo (Singapore), an original production directed by Mohd Fared Jainal that takes place at Esplanade Theatre Studio. Developed during The Necessary Stage’s Playwrights’ Cove 2022, it stars Dalifah Shahril, Farah Lola, Isabella Chiam, and Yazid Jalil. The story revolves around a family whose pet Asian koel mysteriously disappears as they struggle to care for the elderly matriarch. Engage in an experience that challenges their notions of duty and love.
Exploring grief, depression, and suicide
Young arts collective Matter.Less (Singapore) debuts at the festival with Here Where You Were at NAFA Studio Theatre. Written by Danial Matin and directed by Moli Mohter, the sensitively crafted forum theatre work explores grief, depression, and suicide in Singapore’s Malay/Muslim community. Along with performers Suhaila M Sanif, Fadhil Daud, and Chng Xin Xuan, audiences are invited to examine these issues together in a safe, exploratory space facilitated by Adib Kosnan and Chng.
Examining love and betrayal
Motherland by Very Shy Gurl by fendy (Singapore) at Practice Space, The Theatre Practice, examines what love and betrayal mean to two unknown soldiers – deeply in love and with different loyalties – as they contemplate the inevitable in a tight embrace when the sky above their homes burns red.
Asking for empathy in the face of loneliness and vulnerability
Edith Podesta, Yarra Ileto & Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (Australia and Singapore) present Thom Pain (based on nothing) at NAFA Studio Theatre. Will Eno’s Pulitzer Prize-nominated play explores the agonies of human existence and asks for empathy in the face of loneliness and vulnerability through biting humour, desire, and lost innocence. Ileto and Podesta direct NAFA students in the story of Thom Pain, who tries to save his own life to save “yours”.
Challenging racial supremacy and police brutality
Choreographer J’Sun Howard and his collaborator-performers Dedrick “D. Banks” Gray and Timothy “Solomon” Bowser, and DJ Jared Brown, (USA) present aMoratorium at Esplanade Theatre Studio. The intimate dance-theatre performance challenges racial supremacy, police brutality, global anti-Blackness, homophobia, and xenophobia in the current socio-political climate and expresses generous, compassionate, and loving play between Black and Brown men in our current socio-political climate.
Pushing the boundaries of subtle humour, irony, and absurdity
Finally, explore the boundaries of subtle humour, irony, and absurdity in Same Same, an award-winning dance-theatre performance by Dame de Pic/Cie Karine Ponties & Temporary Collective (Belgium and Czech Republic).
Watch as two women discover their inner wild animal as they lose their direction in the corporate rat race. Even through the hilarity, Same Same, inspired by silent movie star Buster Keaton, whose trademark physical comedy was heightened by his deadpan expressions, holds audiences with its sincerity and depth.
An accessible fringe for everyone
M1SFF continues to work with Equal Dreams to make the festival more inclusive and accessible for all, including those with disabilities. In addition to Plain English text transcriptions on the festival website, visual stories for travelling to theatres, captions for performances in theatres, and speech-to-text interpretations after shows are available.
Tickets are priced at $35 and $28 (students, senior citizens, and full-time National Servicemen and Persons with Disabilities cardholders) and available at sg.bookmyshow.com.