The struggles of women have long been a topic explored in Singapore theatre, as the works of prominent playwrights such as Ovidia Yu and Stella Kon (author of Emily of Emerald Hill) suggest. These authors have written poignant plays reflecting the expectations and pressures placed on women in society. More recent works include W!ld Rice’s powerhouse production The House of Bernarda Alba, where we see women becoming the very perpetuators of an oppressive patriarchal society.
Well, it seems like issues regarding gender and women’s rights are coming back to the forefront of the local theatre scene for the next two weeks. New theatre groups GenerAsia and Our Company will be bringing you bold and thought-provoking works which highlight gender inequalities and scrutinize the nature of women’s roles in society.
If you’re looking to enjoy a performance that will ignite conversation long after the end of the show, these plays will definitely be worth your time. Here’s a teaser of what to expect from both productions.
1. GenerAsia’s Women of Asia
Directed by acclaimed playwright and theatre practitioner Asa Gim Palomera, Women of Asia is an intricate piece which weaves together seven different stories that bring to light the abuse and exploitation faced by Asian women. The production will be making its highly anticipated debut in Singapore on the 19th of June, having already been performed to sell-out audiences in New York, Melbourne and Bangkok
Seeking to question myths and stereotypes surrounding the image of the “ideal Asian woman”, several theatrical forms and genres such as comedy, tragedy and poetic dance will also be combined. Characters featured include an under-aged prostitute sold into sexual slavery, a woman cruelly abused by her in-laws, and an opera heroine taking on the iconic role of Madame Butterfly.
In addition to its exquisite choreography and provocative story lines, the show also marks the return of veteran actress Koh Chieng Mun to the stage. Affectionately known to Singaporeans as Dolly in the popular sitcom Under One Roof, Koh’s role in Women of Asia will be her first theatre appearance after an 8 year hiatus. Rounding up the cast are theatre veteran Nora Samosir and fresh faces Nadia Abdul Rahman and Kimberly Chan.
Tickets for Women of Asia are available at Ticketmash.
Venue: Flexible Performance Space, LASALLE
Date: 19 June 2014 – 21 June 2014, 26 June 2014 – 28 June 2014
Time: Thursdays and Fridays, 8pm
Saturdays, 3pm & 8pm
Photo Credits: GenerAsia
2. Our Company’ Dear Nora
The second production not to be missed is Dear Nora, produced by dynamic theatre group Our Company. After a sell-out 2013 production titled Three Children & Hokkien Me: A Double-Bill, it looks like Our Company is geared up to make its mark in local theatre.
This June, they return with a work adapted from Henrik Ibsen’s classic A Doll’s House. Ibsen’s ground-breaking play stirred up much controversy when it was first staged in 1897. Defying gender and marital norms during the time, A Doll’s House features a woman who willingly walks out on her husband and children so as to find her own happiness.
Written by playwright Michelle Tan, Dear Nora transposes the play’s action and characters to modern day Singapore. Happily married (or so it seems) Nora Huang appears to have the perfect life. A rich husband, a soon-to-be born baby, a brand new flat. However, Nora is soon forced to confront the reality of her unhappy marriage, leading to a risky decision that would change her life forever. As the play suggests, the issues brought up in Ibsen’s work still remain as relevant and incisive as they did before.
Tickets for Dear Nora are available at Ticketmash.
Venue: Drama Centre Black Box @ The National Library
Date: 18th to 22nd June 2014
Time: Evening shows (Wed – Sun) – 8pm || Matinees (Thurs, Sat & Sun) – 3pm
Student/NSF/Senior Citizen: $26
OC Member: $28
Photo credit: Our Company