The annual Singapore Arts Festival launches this year on the wings of Mark Chan’s The Flight of the Jade Bird, a chorusical where the struggle between industrialisation and old-world tradition is sung-told as a modern fable.
Consisting an ensemble of five singers, 10-piece orchestra, a dancer, and a narrator, Jade Bird’s austere staging somehow felt awkward against the rather quirky narrative script. Perhaps that’s the intention of Mark Chan, Jade Bird’s story originator, music composer and director, to let audiences experience the chasm that modernisation has driven into humanity.
Great artistic risks were definitely taken with the scripting and stylistic presentation of the piece. If I were to use an analogy, it would be like eating Myojo noodles from a fine China porcelain bowl with pure silver fork, spoon and knife. Being the dimwit at fine art appreciation, I fought hard to connect with Jade Bird’s disharmony of eastern-western instrumentations and the abstract interpretation of the title character in the form of a dancer writhing with a dark drape of cloth. That kinda resembled a phantom or Casper trapped inside a giant black pillowcase. Again, the artistic intent could be spot on in portraying the Jade Bird as a shadow but I was expecting something more visually stimulating. Perhaps this theatrical piece would be more at home as a CD soundtrack release.
I am no connoisseur of the arts so please do not take my juvenile comments as a qualified review of Jade Bird. What I failed to appreciate may make a lot of sense to somebody else. The Flight of the Jade Bird will be staged for two nights only (18 and 19 May 2012, 7.30pm) at the Esplanade Concert Hall. Ticket prices range from S$20 to S$100 purchaseable online through SISTIC.
About Singapore Arts Festival 2012
To the theme of Our Lost Poems (2012), this year’s arts fest is the final edition of a three-part trilogy preceded by Between You and Me (2010) and I Want to Remember (2011).
The festival will run from 18 May to 2 June with ticketed shows and a bevy of free public performances at the Festival Village (Esplanade Park) by a stellar line-up of local and international acts. Don’t miss the artful entertainments happening these two weeks made possible by the Singapore Arts Festival!
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