In early June, Checkpoint Theatre sent me an invitation to tune in to their latest presentations. It had curious yet benign urgency. “In a time of increasing anxiety over the state of the world, we’ve been thinking about what we can do as a company of Singapore artists, in our small way,” it began. “We choose to gather our courage and press on in the face of adversity, offering original stories and pertinent discussions about these times, hoping to nourish, challenge, and inspire both the head and the heart.”
The program comprised a “free audio experience” of Lucas Ho’s The Heart Comes to Mind that the company streamed on Esplanade’s Offstage platform, followed by a ‘live’ dialog with the cast, playwright, and director on Esplanade’s Facebook page the next day.
The following week, they held a dialog online, In Conversation, with Dr Mohan Ambikaipaker, a scholar of ethnicity and race relations at Tulane University on “Resisting Racism and Antiblackness in Global Arts and Culture: An Anthropologist’s Perspective.” The invitation promised that the dialog “will present a nuanced and insightful discussion of global racial tensions and what we should be thinking about as artists and engaged audiences in Singapore”.
In August, I received Checkpoint Theatre’s offer for a complimentary ticket to their production of Two Songs and A Story commissioned and created for digital viewing, and available from 6 to 31 August. The invitation came with a new protocol: I would be issued a complimentary ticket in the form of a code, presumably by email, that will allow me to watch the play as often as I liked, for 72 hours, after activation. I was also instructed to indicate my preferred date to activate my ticket.
I sought out Mr. Huzir Sulaiman, Co-Founder and Joint Artistic Director of Checkpoint Theatre, to find out if he foresees virtual theatrical productions as the way to the future, or if they are the safedistanced radio dramas of the post-pandemic entertainment.
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