Reviewer: Lee Min Jie
Performance: 26 July 2016
Peer Pleasure initially started out as part of the M1 Singapore Fringe Festival in 2014. Response to the programme has been so overwhelming that in 2015, it became a stand-alone festival on its own. With M1 as its title sponsor in 2016; M1 Peer Pleasure Youth Theatre Festival, this youth festival is probably here to stay.
Organised by ArtsWok Collaborative, this platform allows youths to showcase their works to the public. This year six original works, largely devised and performed by the youths themselves, will explore the theme of “Home”.
Programme A opens with Housing Games. Performed by CHIJ Katong Convent Secondary School, it resembles The Hunger Games novel and movie series. Set in SG100, students from the Dramatic Arts Society put up a reality game show where audiences double as television viewers. Three families are plucked from HDBs and battle it out on “Do You Belong?”, for the opportunity to continue living in Singapore.
The cast is dedicated and each contestant’s backstory and characteristics are nicely fleshed out. The flashy hosts have good camaraderie and are on point with their comic timing. Transitions come as a pleasant and refreshing surprise, when backstage crew reveal themselves and shout cues on stage instead of shifting props in the shadows.
The second item by Singapore Polytechnic is put up by students from Diploma in Applied Drama and Psychology. This performance follows the friendship of two young girls, the struggles of their respective families are thrust under the spotlight. An absent father’s presence is sorely felt and it seems the challenges of a single parent family are insurmountable. Parents who fail to achieve work life balance also fail to realise that nothing, not even money, can buy them time spent with their children during their growing up years.
Unnecessarily exacting movements and prop shifts during transitions are painful to watch. However, one can forgive the technical glitches when faced with a scene where both girls reveal how little they need to be happy.
Body of Land by School of The Arts concludes the evening. Students present excerpts from a series of signature Singaporean works by Haresh Sharma, Jean Tay, Kuo Pao Kun, Natalie Hennedige, Ovidia Yu, and Zizi Azah. The excerpts chosen are interesting and the students bravely put their own spin on the subject matter. The ensemble is bold and gives their all in performing. Insects are affectionately personified, even unscrupulous aunties are comically portrayed. Expect onesies, singing and dancing, and animal head gears.
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ABOUT THE PRODUCTION
PEER PLEASURE PROGRAMME A by ArtsWok Collaborative
26 & 27 July 2016
Esplanade Recital Studio
ABOUT THE REVIEWER
Lee Min Jie is a third-year Theatre Studies major at the National University of Singapore who is drawn to Theatre’s ability to immerse one in a world carefully conjured up by artists.