Arts

Bring on the Night: The Best of Singapore Night Festival 2018

Indeed, no words in the vernacular can describe this great event… the Singapore Night Festival 2018 has returned. Our previous article covered some of the Singapore Night Festival’s Night Lights; this time, we bring to you the lowdown on the Festival Village, and what really stood out in this extravaganza. While the Singapore Night Festival has ended on 25 August, we reminiscence on some of the highlights that skirted the heart of Singapore’s town area.

Late Night Texting brought some of our city’s brightest sparks in the theatre sphere at Centre 42, with a collection of over 30 plays by various theatre companies such as The Second Breakfast Company, Dark Matter Theatrics, and Ground Z-0. Book lovers were also treated with independent bookstore BooksActually’s pop up store ’round the back – there’s nothing quite like the indomitable duo of literature and the stage for a truly arts-centric experience.

Located at the Armenian Street Valley, Backyard Sessions @ Armenian is one for music lovers. From local singers such as Jean Tan and Jill-Marie Thomas, and SMU Voix and Eurhythmix, there’s one for everyone to soak in the mood.

SNF 2018: Eat @ Festival Village
The Jim Beam Highballs were served in lighted cups!

They say it ain’t a festival without food – Eat @ Festival Village satisfied our gastronomic cravings, from roasted marshmallows (oh, oh, I want s’more!) to mentaiko eggs, and the festival staple of truffle fries. Over at SMU Campus Green, comfort food and hipster festival grubs await. There were stalls such as The Swag Social, whose rendition of truffle fries is particularly stellar – fragrant, yet still maintaining an excellent crisp exterior to soft interior ratio; and The Wicked Cream Co.’s, whose gently torched wicked mallows are a delight, with flavours such as Hojicha, Pink Lemonade, Ondeh Ondeh and Sea Salt Gula Melaka. For those looking for a touch of comfort food, Sofnade and Sunday Roast did it best – the former serves good ol’ meatballs with mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce à la IKEA, while Sunday Roast’s roast beef and cheese sausage with mashed potatoes are an instant palate pleaser.  

If we have to choose one that topped it all, Easy Eggs’ mentaiko eggs is an easy winner. Forming a medley in your mouth, the scorched mentaiko sauce over soft scrambled eggs is simply an umami paradise! Paired with a Jim Beam highball, it makes for a truly delightful experience. We love that these highballs come in lighted cups too, which makes for a fun and innovative addition to lighting up your night.

SNF 2018: Lords of Lightning
Hailed from the UK, the performance by Lords of Lightning was literally electrifying.

The Night Festival would not be complete without its performances, which featured attractions from all over the world that enchanted. UK-based group Lords of Lightning brought an electrifying touch to the carnival with The Duel at the Cathay Green, featuring two lords – Red and Blue – wielding multi-million volts of electricity from their bodies. The combined synergy of their performance was remarkable, as the two lords battled each other with bolts that crackle forth from their bodies, reaching forth across the two striking towers – a veritable flash-off.

SNF 2018: Six.5 (1)
Inspired by the concept of reflection, a graceful dance performance was delivered by local dance company, Six.5.

Lightning wasn’t the only element the edition of the Night Festival celebrated – local dance company Six.5 brought water to life with Elements: Water at the SMU Amphitheatre. This riveting site-specific piece was inspired by the concept of reflection, a theme that’s reflected (pun intended) in its set design of acrylic mirrors and water.

SNF 2018: Six.5 (2)
The dancers of Six.5 moved gracefully, becoming one with the dynamic lighting and stage set.

Elements: Water aims to highlight the need for awareness of one’s environment, as well as to encourage an attitude of gratitude and thankfulness for water, one of our most precious resources. It certainly presents great food for thought, and what better way to show that than through the medium of dance? Trust Six.5 to take our breaths away with a performance that is as graceful as it is elegantly dynamic.

SNF 2018: Automatàrium
Automatàrium is clearly not for the faint-hearted.

Automatàrium by David Berga is yet another show stopper. Inspired by coin-operated automatons in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, this attraction exemplifies the magic of the circus at its finest.

SNF 2018: Automatàrium (2)
A human, or a humanoid? Guess there’s one way to find out…

At the insertion of a coin, the rustic wooden booths light up with a song, and the actors mimic the robotic actions of automatons in a display that is simultaneously creepy, fascinating, and above all, incredibly realistic.

SNF 2018: Automatàrium (3)
Trust the actors of Automatàrium to deliver such a realistic performance!

This installation at Queen Street is the perfect blend of comedy and song, bringing the theatricality and flamboyance of the circus to the Night Festival.

SNF 2018: FierS à Cheval
The majestic FierS à Cheval performance took our breath away.

However, it was FierS à Cheval that stole our hearts for the night. Held at various locations throughout the Bras Basah and Bugis precinct, this wondrous display by Compagnie des Quidams is the embodiment of a dream. Horse-like apparitions, supported by performers, inflate to become gentle giants measuring 3.5m tall, and sashay slowly but powerfully through the street. There’s an almost ethereal quality to these creatures, who pivot and wander as their limbs move languidly across the ground, and children follow, drifting in their wake.

SNF 2018: Cover
A young boy reached out to stroke one of these ethereal beauty.

At one point, the horses bow and rear up to pose like majestic beasts, and the audience is at once struck by their quietly incandescent beauty. The performance is deeply evocative of childhood, with a poignant and haunting melody reminiscent of a fairy-tale. Towards the end, the horses are gathered in slowly and lovingly, like the end of a dream, folding in and deflating back to sleep. The audience is left to ponder on the beauty of art, and its poignant and powerfully moving nature.

For a full list of the performances and attractions, visit the official Singapore Night Festival website at: https://www.nightfestival.sg/.

Photos by Jerron Chua of the DANAMIC team.

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Maisie Leong

The cross between an artistic brain fart and intense idealism, Maisie (not Margaret) is a tea junkie, lit nerd, and aspiring punmeister. Enjoys a good book (even better with a good cuppa), slightly pretentious conversations, and all things words.

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