Book: Eleven Hours
In the eleven hours it takes to deliver a baby, the parallel stories of two women unfold. New Yorker Lore, composed and as prepared as a woman can be for labour, with a comprehensive and instructional birth plan; Franckline, her Haitian midwife, drawn to the mysteries of childbirth even before she reached adolescence.
Pamela Erens condenses these eleven hours into a novel of the same name, a slim but compelling 165-page read that offers a window to the events that have led to their meeting in the delivery ward.
Book: Diary of a body
No detail of the human body is spared in Daniel Pennac’s aptly named Diary of a Body, the fictional (but very real) account of one man’s physical state from pre-adolescence to death.
This novel approach starts out refreshing. Pennac presents familiar bodily functions with an unflinching honesty not commonly found in popular culture, but his observations are spot-on, humourous and always tasteful, even when the subject matter would not be kosher for the dinner table.
Theatre: Dancing all night
When My Fair Lady opens into Edwardian London, we see two very different worlds collide. Read more...
Long after we have grown up and left the education system behind, many of us can still remember our PSLE scores. It is the first time we come to be defined by “The System”, something playwright Faith Ng explores in her latest work, Normal. Read more...
Theatre: On the verge of something wonderful
Entering one's twenties can be a scary time. It's when one swaps the growing pains of adolescence for the big shoes of adulthood. But the latter often seems less acknowledged – you're an adult now, society seems to say – so you'd better get your shit together.
The four twenty-somethings in Edges don't (not all the time, at least), and the result is an earnest exploration of their triumphs and trials performed almost entirely in song. Read more...
Theatre: Toil and trouble
Witch hunting drives the plot of Arthur Miller's The Crucible, and it's a practice, director Rayann Condy opines, that is not as distant from our daily lives as we might think. At the forefront of Toy Factory's latest production are the foibles of human nature – the sniping, finger-pointing blame games society indulges in, especially in today's comment-first, think-later social media landscape. Read more...
Theatre: Tempest in a teacup
A challenge for any thespian is unmasking a character. Stepping into a new identity and learning to wear it like a second skin can often be a lengthy process. But Jacob Rajan, who performs in the one-man play Guru of Chai, does this multiple times during the 75-minute show. Read more...