Written by Adinda Ayu Savitri
Guess what! We were invited to the media launch of Singapore Arts Festival 2012 – Our Lost Poems. We spent an evening of the artsy tour with enchanting exhibits about myths, legends, wandering thoughts and hidden stories. Want to know more about what to expect at this year’s festival? Read on!
On Wednesday, after rounds of hors d’oeuvres, drinks and yellow balloons, the highly anticipated tour was finally opened by the General Manager of the Singapore Arts Festival 2012, Low Kee Hong.
“We’ve brought the Village back and we’ve intentionally made it bigger and better – this year’s Festival Village features seven different spaces within the Esplanade Park, all filled with exciting activities for everyone. We’ve lined up more than 300 free performances, from well-known local and international acts, as well as more experiential artistic encounters, to allow festival-goers to discover the arts in a varied yet fun and accessible way. We hope that the vast number of offerings at this year’s Village offers something for everyone to enjoy at the festival,” he said.
Right after his warm remarks, we were taken to explore the Festival Village, which was interestingly constructed out of shipping containers. Our first destination that evening was a satirical theatrical act titled “XII – In Search of 13”. It was about a match where twelve contenders vied to be the ultimate national icon of Singapore, performed by a group of local theatre artists. If you want to see the Merlion boxing with other “icons” of Singapore, head to the peculiar boxing ring facing the bay at 7 or 9 pm – it’s hard to miss!
As the evening got darker, we were led to the bay near the Esplanade Park for one of the festival highlights: Flux by Théâtre du Centaure. Coming from France, the performance was based on a story about mythical centaurs, which co-existed within our world. It inscribed the carnal power of a utopian creature into everyday spaces, begun by a light and water show on the canvas of CBD skyline. Before we knew it, two “real” centaurs appeared at a nearby stage, charming us with a dance to hypnotic background music. Catch it for free from 18-23 May at 8 pm.
If you have little siblings, be sure to bring them to the Kids Arts Village, a special area filled with activities and programs curated by children! The Kids Arts Village will feature Tangle, an interactive play space where children will get to transform the area into a life-size web through the weaving of colored elastic bands.
Other programs include “The Young Ones! Performance Showcase”, a series of dance, music and drama performances by children from various schools and community groups in Singapore, and Splash Art and Crafts, a handicraft area for kids to get creatively messy. However, the one that grabbed our attention the most was Spooky Stories, a ghost storytelling session by children. These cute school children will take you to “undisclosed” locations, relating spooky encounters to scare the hell out of you. As the space for Spooky Stories is limited, be there on time at 9 pm on selected days.
After an hour of walking and enjoying the artsy stuff, we decided to take refuge from the heat at the Festival Café where the program, Bridge Café Project by Kim Itoh (Japan), was presented. While savoring Cold Stone Creamery’s ice-cream, we were entertained by an energetic staff of “oyajis” (Japanese for “uncles”) and youths as they break out in song and dance! Do visit these lovely uncles from 6.30 to 9.30 pm every day.
All in all, the Village did live up to our expectations. The atmosphere was festive, enlivened by a variety of music performances ranging from solo artists, music ensembles, deejays and instrumentalists. For you shopaholics, there will be a flea market under the Esplanade Bridge on weekends. Also under the bridge is Laser Tag 2.0, where you can try your hand at virtual graffiti art on weekdays from 7pm. So, don’t miss out on this festival, because it’s a one-stop destination of entertainment for any of your arts craving!
The Festival Village runs from 18 May to 2 June 2012, and will open daily from 4:00pm to midnight on weekdays and 4 pm to 1 am on weekends. Family-oriented programs will run from 4 pm to 8 pm, main shows from 8 pm to 9 pm the more intimate productions from 9 pm to 10 pm, and musical performances from 10 pm to midnight. For details of show times, please refer to this Festival guide.