There are four categories of performance for this year’s festival; Fringe Highlights, Live Fringe, Fresh Fringe and Fringe Activities. The Fringe Highlights include locally-produced Foreign Bodies by Skin in SIN and Labels by UK company Worklight Theatre. Skin in SIN is a new burlesque troupe in Singapore making their debut at the Singapore Fringe Festival. Foreign Bodies has a multicultural cast, the common element among the performers is that they have all lived abroad at some point in their lives. The performance addresses the foreignness of much of Singapore’s nearly seven million strong population by taking off their clothes.
With Labels, Joe Sellman-Leava tells the true story of his experiences growing up in the 1990s in rural England and the difficulties he faced because of his mixed heritage in an environment that wasn’t exactly accepting of multiculturalism. He tells his story through the words and phrases we assign to ourselves and each other and the long-lasting impact those terms can have.
One of the most difficult to find performances of Live Fringe will be the #CompulsiveCharcoal series by UK-based artist Liz Atkin. Atkin, who suffered Compulsive Skin Picking disorder for more than two decades, found her way to art as a way to control her condition. She will be sharing her experiences while completing one-minute sketches as she travels around Singapore on public transit for the entire 12 days of the festival.
Another performance during Live Fringe is by Singaporean director Tan Liting in Pretty Butch, who considers the connotations of the ideas ‘feminine’ and ‘masculine’ and the experiences that people have when they don’t fit neatly into one or the other. The work is inspired by the true stories of people who have experienced bigotry first hand for not conforming to other people’s notions of these terms.
Fresh Fringe is a one day only event on Saturday January 14th, which will showcase three works that are still in development. In Bitten, two characters fumble through an existential conversation about love, fear and death while battling dengue fever and its ensuing paranoia. Chrysanthemum Gate takes a searing look at the roles of power and sexuality in Singapore, a country often seen as at the heart of what it means to be from the ‘east’ or ‘west’. Finally, Deep in the Heart of Me goes through the stages of a relationship from first meeting to breaking up.
The Singapore Fringe Festival takes place at The Necessary Stage from January 4th to 15th. Visit the Singapore Fringe website for more details.