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Photos by Antonio Vega ENGLISH | PLAIN ENGLISH

Django in Pain

Por Piedad Teatro & The Play Company (Mexico | USA)

ASIAN Premiere Book Now

Content advisories: This story is about a character who is dealing with depression and contains strong images and language associated with suicidal thoughts and actions. There are non-photographic depictions of injured animals in distress.

“Inventive and impactful. Django in Pain serves as an important remainder of the powers of connection and accountability.” — The Unforgettable Line

“A day will come when you might need to kill a wolf; a mad wolf out there, or a wolf inside of you...”

A playwright wants to write a happy play. He can't do so because his main character is so depressed that he wants to end his life. Hopefully the playwright will find a way to give Django's journey a happy ending. Or is it the other way around?

Django in Pain is a surprising and healing piece about depression, creativity and love. A table-top puppet show that chronicles the adventures of Django, and a stray dog that keeps getting in his way. The puppet’s character is roughly based on a musician named Django Reinhardt. The stories are often funny but also sad. It is a very personal but relatable story of deep sadness, loyalty and hope.

Django in Pain was first shown in New York City in Oct 2021, and got lots of great reviews. The Spanish version, Django con la Soga al Cuello, has been presented in Mexico and Argentina. It received more than 6000 views in just three days.

“In a world that seems to give us lots of reasons to give up, Django in Pain is a cry of hope.” — Juan Carlos Araujo, Entretenia.com (translated from Spanish)

Artist Statement

This work asks two questions:

  1. How can we create and work with others when we are all alone?
  2. How can art heal in times of inner struggles?

Django in Pain is an uplifting tabletop puppet show. It talks about depression and thoughts about suicide in ways that are personal and relatable. There are two main characters, a Playwright and Django. Django is a puppet roughly based on a musician named Django Reinhardt. Both are both struggling with different levels of depression. Hopefully the playwright will find a way to give Django’s journey a happy ending. Or is it the other way around?

People often feel ashamed or judged when they talk about depression and suicidal thoughts. This work makes sure people feel safe to talk about these topics. It is a complex issue, so we hope to carefully help people better understand.

As theatre artists, we face hard times in ways we don’t expect. This work talks about this experience. The process to create this work was special. It also uses a mix of theatre and cinema styles to make a digital work.

Our aim is that Django’s journey brings hope, happiness, and life to those in great sadness.

Content advisories: This story is about a character who is dealing with depression and contains strong images and language associated with suicidal thoughts and actions. There are non-photographic depictions of injured animals in distress.

“Inventive and impactful. Django in Pain serves as an important remainder of the powers of connection and accountability.” — The Unforgettable Line

“A day will come when you might need to kill a wolf; a mad wolf out there, or a wolf inside of you...”

A playwright wants to write a happy play, but he can't because his main character is so depressed that he wants to end his life. Hopefully the playwright will find a way to give Django’s journey a happy ending. Or is it the other way around?

Django in Pain is an astonishing, exquisitely detailed and healing piece about depression, creativity and love. Made and staged within the isolation of the early days of the pandemic in New York City, using only hand-made puppets and scrap materials found around their home, this feature-length table-top puppet show filmed on a cellphone chronicles the often-humorous with razor edges of grief misfortunes and adventures of Django—a puppet loosely inspired by Django Reinhardt, and a stray dog that keeps getting in his way. A deeply personal and at the same time universal, multi-layered tale of despair, loyalty and hope.

Django in Pain premiered in New York City in October 2021 to rave reviews. The Spanish version, Django con la Soga al Cuello, has been presented in Mexico and Argentina, where it received more than 6000 views in just three days.

“In a world that seems to give us lots of reasons to give up, Django in Pain is a cry of hope.” — Juan Carlos Araujo, Entretenia.com (translated from Spanish)

Artist Statement

The way that the piece was created is in itself an exploration of the timeless questions about creativity and collaboration within the constraints of isolation and the healing powers of art in times of inner turmoil.

Django in Pain is an uplifting tabletop puppet show that deals with depression and suicide ideation in a way that is at the same time deeply personal and universal. The main characters, a Playwright and Django—a puppet loosely inspired by musician Django Reinhardt—are both struggling with different levels of depression. Hopefully the playwright will find a way to give Django’s journey a happy ending. Or is it the other way around?

By stripping the theme of depression and suicidal thoughts from the shame and prejudice that still surrounds it, we hope to offer both complexity and understanding of the issue in a responsible and respectful way.

The unusual creating process and the hybrid “theatrical-cinema” digital result is our creative response to the challenges we face as theatre artist in unexpected difficult times.

Our aim is that Django’s journey brings hope, happiness, and life to those in despair.

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Date & Duration
4 to 15 January 2023
60 min with no intermission

Location
Digital table-top puppet theatre via video on demand

Price
$15

Accessibility Features
Closed captions in English. A version with audio description is also available.

Rating
NC16 (Some Mature Content)

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PorPiedadTeatro.org
PlayCo.org

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Photos by BIRDS MIGRANT THEATRE ENGLISH | PLAIN ENGLISH

Foreign Bodies

Birds Migrant Theatre (Singapore)

WORLD Premiere Book Now

Arif and Ani are migrant workers in Singapore. They met and fell in love. But they have duties in their home countries. How can they be with each other in Singapore? They receive some bad news. It makes their love difficult.

Foreign Bodies is created by the Company. The actors are migrant workers. There are two Singapore actors: Grace Kalaiselvi and Fahim Mushed. Haresh Sharma and Serena Ho direct the play. It looks at how difficult it is to be a migrant worker in Singapore. They are told to focus on working. They want to make money for their families back home. They often want a better quality of life in Singapore. However, sometimes things don’t go as planned.

Post-show dialogue after 5pm performance.

Artist Statement

Singapore has about 1 million migrant workers. But we seldom talk about their lives in the arts. Foreign Bodies looks at issues faced by migrant workers in Singapore. We look at pregnancy and abortion. What happens when a migrant worker gets pregnant here? What choices does she have? Will she be at a dead end? This issue is more common than what is reported.

Women have no choice but to take extreme actions. They do so for reasons like:

  1. to keep their child
  2. to keep working in Singapore
  3. so their family back home does not shame them.

Foreign Bodies looks at these issues through complex characters. They are forced into making hard decisions. The play is not black and white. The migrants are not victims, and the employers are not bad people. How can people work together to overcome flaws in the system?

Arif and Ani are migrant workers in Singapore. A chance encounter develops into a romantic relationship. However, can they afford to fall in love in Singapore when they have obligations back in their home countries? Complications arise when news threatens the foundation of their relationship.

Foreign Bodies is devised by the Company and performed by an ensemble of migrant workers and Singapore actors Grace Kalaiselvi and Fahim Mushed. Directed by Haresh Sharma and Serena Ho, it looks at the desperate and extreme situations migrants in Singapore sometimes find themselves in. Although they are told to focus on working and making money for their families back home, often they desire a better quality of life in Singapore. However, not everything always goes as planned.

Post-show dialogue after 5pm performance.

Artist Statement

Singapore is host to about a million migrant workers. Yet there is little discourse about the migrant experience in the artistic realm. Foreign Bodies focuses on certain issues faced by migrant workers in Singapore, specifically pregnancy and abortion. What happens a migrant worker gets pregnant in Singapore? What are her options, legal or otherwise? Will she be at a dead end? This issue is more common than what is reported. Women have had to resort to drastic measures, either to keep their child, to continue working in Singapore or to be spared public shaming by their family back home.

Foreign Bodies looks at these issues through complex characters forced into making difficult decisions. The play does not just present migrants as victims and employers as oppressors, but looks at how different people can work together to overcome systemic flaws.

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Date & Duration
15 January 2023, 2pm, 5pm & 8pm
60 min with no intermission

Location
Esplanade Annexe Studio

Price
$15

Language
In English, Bahasa Indonesia and Bengali with English subtitles

Accessibility Features
TBC

Rating
Advisory 16 (Some Mature Content and Coarse Language)

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Photos by Zivanai Matangi ENGLISH | PLAIN ENGLISH

Kafka’s Ape

Phala O. Phala & Tony Bonani Miyambo (South Africa)

ASIAN Premiere Book Now

“The fact that it’s actually more relevant today than when it was written 100 years ago suggests that the world we currently live in has some serious problems.” — Heather Taylor Johnson, InDaily

“The audience is left both dumbfounded and in awe at the end of this hour of theatre. It has been a mighty trip into a hideous hypothetical. It has been a display of masterful acting, it has been a graphic lesson in humanity and an unforgettable experience.” — Samela Harris, The Barefoot Review

Kafka’s Ape is based on a short story called A Report to an Academy, by Franz Kafka. There is only one actor.

It compares to society in South Africa. In the past, people there were separated based on race and skin colour. This rule is now gone. The performance talks about how it is tough to understand who you are, and what it means now that the rule is gone.

An ape named Red Peter is caught. He wants to escape his cage. He learns to act like humans. He asks whether who we are is based on how we look. His story makes us think about whether different is bad.

The actor, Miyambo, won many awards for this role, such as:

  • Winner of Outstanding Performance award at Prague Fringe Festival 2019
  • Best Satire Award at New York’s United Solo Festival 2019
  • Graham F. Smith Peace Foundation Award at the Adelaide Fringe Festival 2021

Open captions in English for all shows.
Post-show dialogue on 13 January 2023, with speech to text interpretation available upon request. Please email your request to info@singaporefringe.com before 22 December 2022.

Artist Statement

The play uses the point of view of an animal to show us how it is hard to understand things that are different. Humans and animals are similar. The ape wants to be like humans, even though the human world has many problems. For example, some people might be treated badly based on their race, sex, or where they come from.

Kafka's Ape shows us that there is something outside our normal world. There is also "the other".

Red Peter feels trapped, which makes him learn the truth about who he is. The play makes you identify with “the other”. It also makes you wonder how you feel about those who are different from you.

“The fact that it’s actually more relevant today than when it was written 100 years ago suggests that the world we currently live in has some serious problems.” — Heather Taylor Johnson, InDaily

“The audience is left both dumbfounded and in awe at the end of this hour of theatre. It has been a mighty trip into a hideous hypothetical. It has been a display of masterful acting, it has been a graphic lesson in humanity and an unforgettable experience.” — Samela Harris, The Barefoot Review

An adaptation of Franz Kafka’s A Report to an Academy, Kafka’s Ape is a solo performance about a primate’s struggle to overcome the confines of captivity. The hard-hitting play presents a metaphorical view on South African society, highlighting the complexities of identity in post-apartheid South Africa as well as in the human race.

An ape named Red Peter is captured. In his quest to break out of his confinement, he learns to imitate humanity and contests identity based on outward appearance. Through his journey, Kafka’s Ape questions the understanding of otherness.

Miyambo has received multiple accolades for this powerful performance, including Winner of Outstanding Performance award at Prague Fringe Festival 2019, Best Satire Award at New York’s United Solo Festival 2019, and the Graham F. Smith Peace Foundation Award at the Adelaide Fringe Festival 2021, among others.

Post-show dialogue on 13 January 2023.

Artist Statement

The play explores, through the animal gaze, the tension between self and other. The borderland between human and animal presents the ape’s insatiable desire to become human, despite a world laden with racism, sexism, chauvinism, tribalism, etc.

Kafka’s Ape opens up the reality that there exists something outside of and in addition to our “normal,” “typical,” “wholesome” world—and that is “the other”. For Red Peter, a feeling of being trapped becomes determinative for existential truth. The play compels one to identify with and to meditate on their response to otherness, to interrogate how external sociological constructs and internal psychological constructs define the existential condition of the self and the other.

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Date & Duration
12 to 14 January 2023, 8pm
50 min with no intermission

Location
Esplanade Theatre Studio

Price
$32 | $24*
*Concession for students, NSF, senior citizens and PWD cardholders

Accessibility Features
Open captions in English for all shows

Rating
General

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Photos by Crispian Chan ENGLISH | PLAIN ENGLISH

Less than Half

Adib Kosnan, Yarra Ileto & Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (Singapore)

WORLD Premiere Book Now

The story is set in a made-up world in the future. The country's rule is that all human lives are Equal. Sama Wholeness Centre agrees with this.

Some citizens are not Equal. They are put through a tough training programme. They can only enter the country when they become Equal. Those who fail the programme are kicked out. The recruits learn that they must work both alone and together. They are not sure what will happen. What have these recruits signed up for? Will they change themselves to become Equal? Or will they accept what makes them "less than half"?

Adib Kosnan and Yarra Ileto direct Less than Half. Aswani Aswath is the playwright. The students from the BA (Hons) in Performance Making programme at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts created and perform it.

Co-presented with Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts.

Open captions in English for all shows.
Post-show dialogue on 6 January 2023, with speech to text interpretation available upon request. Please email your request to info@singaporefringe.com before 22 December 2022.

Artist Statement

Less than Half is created by students who are also the actors. The students shared their stories about privilege and inequality. The writer took these texts and put them into a made-up world. Sama Wholeness Centre is in this world. The artists want to tell stories of the minorities. How do they go through life? What happens when those in power meet those in the minority? What makes a group or person a minority? How does this term affect them in society? Singapore is not a colony anymore. As we are growing, we are still searching for who we are. Some of our attitudes are still from the past. How do we change them?

Set in an imagined, futuristic world, Sama Wholeness Centre believes in the country’s mandate that all human lives are Whole.

Citizens who do not conform to the status of Whole are put through a rigorous training programme that will help them achieve the desired status before gaining admission to the country. Citizens who fail the programme are ousted and lost forever. Given the high stakes, the recruits soon discover that they must work both individually and collectively. Uncertainty ensues.

What have these recruits really signed up for? Will these recruits choose to conform to the demands of the programme, or will they stick to their roots and embrace what makes them “less than half”?

Directed by Adib Kosnan and Yarra Ileto, and written by Aswani Aswath, Less Than Half is devised and performed by students from the BA (Hons) in Performance Making programme at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts.

Co-presented with Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts.

Post-show dialogue on 6 January 2023.

Artist Statement

Less than Half is a devised performance that hopes to explore complex issues such as privilege and inequality using experiences from the performers as verbatim texts juxtaposed with a fictional world where Sama Wholeness Centre exists. We seek to explore stories told from the perspectives of those in the minority. How is life experienced by the ones who make up less than half of the whole. Where is the nuances of interactions between those in positions of privilege and those in the minority? What makes a group or individual a minority? How does this term affect them in society? In our local context where we are still searching for what it means to be who we are as we continue to develop as a post-colonial nation, what are some of the attitudes and mindsets that are still shaped by our past and how do we move on from them?

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Date & Duration
5 to 7 January 2023, 8pm
7 to 8 January 2023, 3pm
60 min with no intermission

Location
NAFA Studio Theatre

Price
$32 | $24*
*Concession for students, NSF, senior citizens and PWD cardholders

Accessibility Features
Open captions in English

Rating
Advisory (Some Mature Content)

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nafa.edu.sg

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Photos by Edwin Sitt & Dan McBride ENGLISH | PLAIN ENGLISH

Mother of Compost

Noémie Huttner-Koros (Australia)

ASIAN Premiere Book Now

“Whimsical yet powerful, Mother of Compost, is a show with ecological advice that’s worth hearing and heeding” — Seesaw

“Mother of Compost tackles climate change and social responsibility through the lens of young artists as they contemplate nature and regeneration, what legacy we will leave on our children, and whether it is, indeed a good idea to birth at all. Equal parts love-letter to and manifesto on ecology, Mother of Compost is ground-breaking theatre that serves to enrich the mind.” — The Fourth Wall

“Noémie Huttner-Koros was a joyful, sometimes sad, brilliant presence in the room.” — Weekend Notes

Dearest compost, I am your mother and I am your child.

Earth is in danger. Some of us don't want to have children. Some worry that when their children grow up, Earth won't be a good place to live in. Either way, we have lots of love to give each other.

In this show, we will rethink what it means to give birth and be born. We will dance.

The show is messy, exaggerated and queer, with lots of interaction.

It makes us think about:

  • What makes a family
  • Giving birth
  • Evolution

In the show, the audience starts as strangers, and becomes like family. Mother of Compost is a queer and messy family gathering. It is also a way for us to grieve together about what is being lost.

Two queer performers created this show. They are Noémie Huttner-Koros and director Andrew Sutherland. Mother of Compost asks you to roll up your sleeves… Change only comes from getting your hands dirty.

With the support of the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries, Government of Western Australia.

Open captions in English for all shows. 
Post-show dialogue on 5 January 2023, with speech to text interpretation available upon request. Please email your request to info@singaporefringe.com before 22 December 2022.

Artist Statement

Mother of Compost relooks at care and family-making. It asks an audience to grow together. We are facing a climate crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic. It is easy to only feel doom and alone. This work asks us to care, parent and nurture even when it seems hard.

“This work started during the Black Summer bushfires (2019-2020). It burned across many parts of Australia. Smoke covered my hometown for weeks. I thought about what it would mean to give birth to a child in this world.

Mother of Compost is based off: 1. The things I fight for to create change; 2. Talks with people of different ages. It looks at how caring for each other is important when the future is uncertain.”
— Noémie Huttner-Koros

“Whimsical yet powerful, Mother of Compost, is a show with ecological advice that’s worth hearing and heeding” — Seesaw

“Mother of Compost tackles climate change and social responsibility through the lens of young artists as they contemplate nature and regeneration, what legacy we will leave on our children, and whether it is, indeed a good idea to birth at all. Equal parts love-letter to and manifesto on ecology, Mother of Compost is ground-breaking theatre that serves to enrich the mind.” — The Fourth Wall

“Noémie Huttner-Koros was a joyful, sometimes sad, brilliant presence in the room.” — Weekend Notes

Dearest compost, I am your mother and I am your child.

We live in an ecologically precarious time. Some of us don’t want to bring children into this world, others are worried their children won’t have a world to grow old into... but we’ve still got a whole lot of love to give. Rethink what it means to give birth and be birthed, and dance along with us in this gooey, camp and interactive subversion of family portraits, birthing classes, and evolutionary biology.

Over the course of the performance, the audience transforms from strangers to the beginnings of a family. Mother of Compost is a queer and unruly family gathering and a communal grieving for what is being lost and everything left to fight for.

From the minds of queer performance-makers Noémie Huttner-Koros and director Andrew Sutherland, Mother of Compost asks you to roll up your sleeves this Fringe Festival… Change only comes from getting your hands dirty.

With the support of the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries, Government of Western Australia.

Post-show dialogue on 5 January 2023.

Artist Statement

Mother of Compost re-imagines nurturing and family-making by inviting an audience to grow and entangle. Amidst the climate crisis and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, when we are so tempted to feel doom and alienation… this work invites us to care, parent and nurture even when it seems impossible.”

“This work had its beginnings during the horrific Black Summer bushfires of 2019-20 that burned across large swathes of the Australian continent. Smoke covered my hometown for weeks and I wondered about what it would mean to bring a child into this world.” 

Mother of Compost is grounded in my practices of activism and intergenerational conversations, and explores how the energy of care-giving can be harnessed as we go into this uncertain future.”
— Noémie Huttner-Koros

Download artist biographies

Date & Duration
4 to 6 January 2023, 8pm
60 min with no intermission

Location
Esplanade Theatre Studio

Price
$32 | $24*
*Concession for students, NSF, senior citizens and PWD cardholders

Accessibility Features
Open captions in English

Rating
Advisory 16 (Nudity and Some Mature Content)

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