Bitten: Return to Our Roots

Learning Arts Community culture and heritage intergenerational enviromental

Bitten: Return to Our Roots is a tapestry of stories and intimate conversations comprising oral histories of personal accounts and collective memories of Singaporeans who resided near the Kallang Gasworks, as well as legends and historical facts of Singapore, researched extensively and woven together by creators Pei Qin and Shanthini.

The project is mainly inspired by the creators’ own grandparents’ stories (including traditions and heirlooms) and homes situated within the vicinity of Kampong Bugis in the 1930s to 1970s. The team is keen to dig deeper into the collective stories and shared heritage which reside within this area marked by the Historical Site Kallang Gasworks Holder. They are also interested to discover what bonds and connects people of diverse origins and cultures, as well as the elements of history that get passed on to the current and future generations of Singaporeans.

This web of stories unfolds through a curious reimagining of the two women’s life experiences as a starting point, having both been bitten by the Aedes mosquito. They did not just survive the feverish states of the dengue condition, but have also experienced the transmogrification of their blood. Their journey is one that starts with self-discovery and the revisiting of family traditions, before expanding into a realisation of their connections with each other, and with others, which are larger than the self, larger than their own blood.

The performance is envisioned as a site-specific tour for different parts of the story to unfold within the charming Kampong Bugis area – from the Sri Manmatha Karuneshvarar Temple, to the nearby banyan tree, to the Kallang Gasworks Holder, and a grassy patch on the bank of the nearby Kallang River. Each pitstop of the tour is tied to specific and meaningful points of the story, and certain segments of stories will be told through non-verbal means, inspired by reinvented bharata natyam dance movements.

Throughout the entire performance and walking trail, the specific sites and histories will be introduced to the audience. These histories are tied to the places and personal stories of people who lived around the area. The treatment of the performance will include the languages and art forms that celebrate the individual ethnic cultures, and marry them together to form our collective and unique Singapore culture.

Poignant and itch-inducing, “Bitten: Return to Our Roots aims to bring audiences into a curious world abuzz with rich Singaporean cultures, and multiple truths. It looks closer at what fundamentally roots all of us, in our generation's attempts to re-connect with our cultures and lineage. Through this experience, the creators wish to foster a sense of community spirit amongst fellow Singaporeans.

Performances dates:
24-25 November 2018
1-2 December 2018

Bitten: Return to Our Roots

Learning Arts Community culture and heritage intergenerational enviromental

Thong Pei Qin & Nidya Shanthini Manokara

24 Nov (Sat) 2018 - 02 Dec (Sun) 2018

Completed

Kampong Bugis Event Site

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