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Esplanade Presents: The Studios

While summer in Singapore generally serves only as a harbinger of more unrelenting heat and tirades about living in the season-less equator, ‘Esplanade Presents’ has finally given us something to look forward to with its new summer programme line-up, The Studios.

A post-structural ode to theatre and dance, The Studios features contemporary and experimental acts typified by a distinctive departure from the mainstream. In blurring the lines between artist and audience, performance and participation, it effectively creates a new form of theatre that is unrestrained and innovative.

This year’s theme for The Studios is ‘Closer’. Performances are staged in a black box with only one or two performers, highlighting the intimacy and necessary connection that arises from the shared experience between artists and audience. It invites us to take a closer look at these performances, and also alludes to the closeness that is brought about by breaking down all ostentation and pretense that typically characterizes theatre.

Highlights of The Studios include the play ‘Snails and Ketchup’, a joint collaboration between Singapore and Scotland written by Ramesh Meyyappan, a dark comedy that speaks of a boy who leaves his dysfunctional family behind in favour of a life among the trees. The double bill ‘It’s Just Me Coughing’ and ‘Yokohama Stay’, both written by Zan Yamashita, creates new ways of expression by way of language and dance, in exploring pertinent questions of life and mortality, mind and body. ‘The Gunpowder Trail’, adapted from Claire Tham’s award winning short story by Teater Ekamatra, combines elements of mystery and drama in describing the journey undertaken by a reluctant mother and her daughter. ‘Raw’, a series of dramatized readings, will also allow the audience to get even closer to the artist’s process and achieve a deeper understanding of the texts.

The Studios will run from 22nd July to 10th September 2011. The line-up of performances promises to be a visually and intellectually stimulating affair. The Studios couldn’t have provided us with a better reason to duck out of the heat and head down to the Esplanade.

– Yishu

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