Friday, 28 August 2015

Singapore Night Festival 2015

I don't go out much at night, maybe for dinner. Nothing could be described as painting the town red. Anyway, painting sounds very exhausting, even if it's just a canvas. BTW, I'm a night owl. It's just this night owl doesn't fly around town at night. My wings feel like a pair of car doors.

Last year, while I was going home after a dinner at Orchard Rd on bus 111, as it drove past National Museum of Singapore, we spotted a live performance. I turned around and asked Ada, in an keep-the-day-job Pommy accent, "Hello love, what's appening here. What is it then, heh?" She rolled her eyes. I don't know if she was doing what I do regularly, i.e. exercising the good old eyeballs, or was answering my question by blinking Morse codes like Jeremiah Andrew Denton, Jr. In any case, I couldn't read Morse codes.

In short, I still didn't know about the Singapore Night Festival until a few months ago. The mystery was finally revealed after so many sleepless nights (I probably rolled my eyes a lot during my REM sleeps). This turns out to be an annual event, running over 2 weekends in August. Why August? My speculation is that it coincides with the Hungry Ghost Festival in the 7th month. Before you accuse of a lack of basic numeracy skills, 7th Lunar month is usually falls in August, roughly. Or simply as a prelude to F1 Racing. Whatever it is, I've no complain.

programs, Singapore Night festival, Singapore National Museum, Singapore


Anyway, it turned out that this festival is quite big. In fact, its programs and events filled a 24 pages booklet. Perhaps because all festivals and celebrations are bigger in SG50 (the extra-ordinary item in Singapore government's P&L this year are bigger too). I dunno. I had never been to previous ones.

Live performance, Singapore Night festival, Singapore
One of the several live performance set up on the streets on Singapore Night Festival

The problem now was choosing what to see and do, especially since I only had 1 weekend left (I was in HK last week).

To make life easy, there was a main event, which took place in front of NMS (National Museum of Singapore), which is like the main venue for this festival.

SG50 video projection, Singapore Night festival, Singapore National Museum, Singapore
A static video  projection of SG50 logo onto NMS's facade.

I believe they brought in some internationally known performances and programs for this year's SNF. One example is the Anooki video projection or Light and Sound Show, which projected the Anooki carton onto the facade of NMS. It's an animation piece that has no dialogue that caters for international audience.

Here's a video clip showing a sample of it.



The museum itself was also opened to public for free. I didn't have enough time even for a grand tour of the museum, I only had time for an emergency toilet visit. This is when I came across one of the performer of Theatre Tol. So I decided to ask her for a portrait.

Performer of Theatre Tol, Singapore Night festival, Singapore National Museum, Singapore Performer of Theatre Tol, Singapore Night festival, Singapore National Museum, Singapore


The highlight of the night was the performance by Theatre Tol. If you're European, you're quite likely heard of them.  If you're from Belgium, you're definitely heard about them. They're noted for outdoor performance with unusual venue. This is perfect setup for SNF, which invited them this year.

I've heard of them, but hadn't have the pleasure of watching their performance. In fact, had no idea what their performance was about. Having watched it, I was so glad. If I'm going to compose a List of 100 Stage Performances You Must Watch before You Kick the Bucket (not me, I will never kick the bucket. I will never buy one), this performance would be included. Specifically, I'm referring to the Garden of Angels performance.


Theatre Tol performance, Singapore Night festival, Singapore National Museum, Singapore



Here are some of the photos of the spectacular aerial performance.

Gerden of Angels, Theatre Tol performance, Singapore Night festival, Singapore National Museum, Singapore
The audience roared and cheered as the Angels showered the audience with glittering confetti

Garden of Angels, Theatre Tol performance, Singapore Night festival, Singapore National Museum, Singapore Garden of Angels, Theatre Tol performance, Singapore Night festival, Singapore National Museum, Singapore
Garden of Angels, Theatre Tol performance, Singapore Night festival, Singapore National Museum, Singapore Garden of Angels, Theatre Tol performance, Singapore Night festival, Singapore National Museum, Singapore


Confetti, Garden of Angels, Theatre Tol performance, Singapore Night festival, Singapore National Museum, Singapore
The confetti of white stars and red hearts as well as streamers
and ballons (not shown) from the Angels' shower



While the're angels, they look far more like jellyfish to me from a distance - floating gracefully, and otherworldly. Pretty uplifting performance, isn't it? Who came up with the idea of a crane in theatre? Bravo! (You can argue that there's always lots of hydraulic, mechanic contraptions in the theatres. So why not cranes?).


Even if you're not interested in any of the large number of programs (aren't you picky?), just walk around the Bras Basah and Bugis area that centre around NMS and absorb all the sights and sounds, all the building light-up would be a worthwhile night out.

Bird sculptures, Singapore Night festival, Singapore National Museum, Singapore
Bird sculptures, Singapore Night festival, Singapore National Museum, Singapore
Bird sculptures at a tree on the ground of NMS

Lanterns, Singapore Night festival, Singapore National Museum, Singapore
Lantern light-up at a park next to NMS
Lanterns, Singapore Night festival, Singapore National Museum, Singapore
Kinetic sculptures, Singapore Night festival, Singapore National Museum, Singapore
Some kinetic sculptures installed at the same park

Every public buildings - most are museum - put on their festival best  for the night.

Light up, Peranakan Museum, Singapore Night festival, Singapore
Peranakan Museum nearby put on its Hawaiian party dress for the night out of town

 Peranakan Museum, Singapore Night festival, Singapore
Peranakan Museum actually worn the most flashy and colourful dress,
which in a sense, reflects the peranakan costumes
Light up, Peranakan Museum, Singapore Night festival, Singapore

Substation, Singapore Night festival, Singapore
Even the humble Substation was getting into the party mood


Traffic control, Singapore Night festival, Singapore
Thank you. They also wore pretty pretty flashy numbered number too

Hidden away in the garden of Armenian Church was a Japanese installation entitled Hanami by a French company. The whole effect of the installation is quite dreamy, and it represents the transient beauty of the cherry blossom.

Hanami installation, Armenian Church, Singapore Night festival, Singapore
Hanami installation

Hanami installation, Armenian Church, Singapore Night festival, Singapore

Hanami installation, Armenian Church, Singapore Night festival, Singapore
These Plastic cherry blossoms aren't so transient nor biodegradable.

Hanami installation, Armenian Church, Singapore Night festival, Singapore
I'm still scratching my head (part of it is due to my dandruff), trying to figure out the symbolic meaning
of the disco balls in the Hanami installation.

Capitol Thetre, Singapore
No. This isn't part of the festival. But it was what I saw in a rare occasion while I was out in the town at night.

I only spent 2 hours in 1 night on this 4 nights over 2 weekends festival. Needless to say, I missed a lot of stuff I wanted to see.

All the events are free, including all the museums' admissions in this area. Where had I been all these years living in Singapore? Day dreaming? Apparently, not night dreaming...

Since this is a traditional annual event. Better late than never. You need a gang of goons to stop me going there next years.




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