Season of diversity

Season of diversity
Ten Thousand Tigers, featuring (from far left) Rizman Putra, Sim Pern Yiau, Hiro Machida and Bani Haykal. Produced by artist and director Ho Tzu Nyen, the show explores the folklores and cosmologies surrounding the Malayan Tiger.

A snapshot of the diversity of local theatre is what the Esplanade's The Studios promises this month when the annual season of offbeat and experimental works returns for the 12th edition.

Four out of the five ticketed shows are premieres. The last is a re-staging of The Finger Players' Rant & Rave, which was commissioned for the Esplanade's 10th anniversary two years ago.

The Studios season opens on April 17 with Ten Thousand Tigers by film and performance artist Ho Tzu Nyen, 38, who presents a multi-disciplinary performance about the history of the part-real, part-folkloric Malayan Tiger.

Wrapping up the season in July is Butterfly by Glasgow-based, Singaporean theatre practitioner Ramesh Meyyappan, 39.

Ms Pearlyn Cai, programmer at the Esplanade, says: "We have a good representation of the diversity of Singapore theatre, which ranges from the experimental Ten Thousand Tigers to Butterfly's visual theatre to the realist play Red. It's apt to have Rant & Rave in this season, which in itself is a piece tracing the history of Singapore theatre."

Red, a Tony Award-winning bio-drama written by John Logan about the life of American painter Mark Rothko, is presented by Blank Space Theatre and directed by Samantha Scott-Blackhall, 36.

Ms Cai, 32, says: "Samantha is a skilful and thoughtful director. In her hands, we believe Red is going to be an intellectually and theatrically exciting play."

Butterfly is a theatrical adaptation of Madame Butterfly, the tale popularised by Puccini's opera, using devices such as puppetry. Says Ms Cai: "This piece is about a woman experiencing intense grief and how she tries to cope. We've all experienced grief directly or indirectly and I believe this is a piece which audiences can identify or empathise with."

Another new production is Checkpoint Theatre's #UnicornMoment, an autobiographical work written and performed by actress Oon Shu An, 27, in which she explores her past and what has made her who she is.

Says Ms Cai: "While this piece is very personal to Shu An as she digs deep into her own life experiences, it's also reflective of that search process that many of us go through as young adults, that search for identity and purpose and our place in this world."

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