A dose of Art

When a weekend starts on Thursday it is sure to be an exciting one. Read on as I give you a small dose of what I got in the last three days.


Macbeth was taught to us in school. The tale of ambition, greed and murder meant to show us what the worst in life really was. Tragedy would seem an understatement to define one of Shakespeare’s greatest works. The Singapore Repertory theatre produced the play at Fort Canning. The fort is very English, built on a hill, with a vast expanse of garden all around it. The fort, very unlike the forts in England or in India, is very simple in its detailing but extremely dainty in its conservation. The picnic terrace as it is called is a very likely venue for the play. An unimpressive backdrop of a made-up fort on stage matched up to the unimpressive theatronics, I really wonder why they didnt use the existing one?! Anyway the play started and to my surprise I remembered quite a number of lines. But what I absolutely loathed was the speed with which the protagonists narrated the lines. They spoke English like Mandarin! The speed of speech did not thrill but certainly did kill. Chinese looking Macbeth and Lady Macbeth did not go down well with me. Nor did the stillness in the air that saw a drained out audience in a span of about 2 hours. Though it was a fun experience to watch a play after what seems like ages, the critic in me knew no boundaries! Fort Canning Park was the only thing that deserved some points, the green expanse just off Orchard. A discovery I hope to keep coming back to.


This day took me by total surprise as I watch the award-winning Spanish movie, “Biutful”,  extremely teary-eyed.

Javier Bardem makes a heart-wrenching Uxbal and brings out so much depth in his character and the story that our lives start seeming very bleak and shallow. He is on a free fall, his tragedy is that of redemption. The movie is spell-binding, heart-wrenching and takes your breath away. The emotion you are surmounted with is sadness, deep deep sadness. Even the moments of jovial uncertainty are washed under by the tide of empathy. One cannot help oneself but feel for Uxbal, his children, his wife but mostly and unwaveringly him. The Chinese, the Africans in Spain are so out-of-place. Their tragedies are brutal but its Uxbal who you are with, all the way.

Personally I like watching movies in a different language with English subtitles. They seem so authentic, so exotic. This one is no less. If for a moment we keep the characters aside and watch the locations you know what am talking about. They tug at your heart. The background score is winning. Spain is winning. The tragedy is winning. The best part is perhaps the end. Snow in the color white after all the grim reality makes you want to rejoice death, for it seems far better than the life, of Uxbal. Even as I type my eyes are moist. It is one character am not likely to forget. Forever. One movie whose essence I will carry, forever.


After a roller-coaster morning I prepared to volunteer as a gallery host assistant at the Singapore Biennale. The venue was the Old Kallang Airport, last used in the 1950s. Changing into the bright orange tee I was ushered into the section under my care. Spread across three different partitioned spaces, I had three exhibits under my care. One of which was super inventive. Artist Simon spent a considerable while in the famed John F Kennedy airport in New York clicking all those things that officials threw out of passengers bags at the security check. It is hilarious and incredible, the things people carry with them into the aircraft. The turnout at the event was real good while the other exhibits were amazing. The barn was also inventive and refreshing. Many people walked in and out. I struck chord with some other volunteers but the heat was daunting.


Water for elephants took up a major part of my day. What a lovely book, I must say. Reading about the circus is refreshing. As a child I probably saw one or two, atleast they are the ones I remember even today! Sara Gruen is engaging and am not surprised as it still stands as the top NYT bestseller for the fifth month in a row. August, Marlena and Jacob circle in my head and so does Rosie. How can any weekend be complete without a visit to the super market?? So off we went to Cold Storage and did some weekly damage. Another thing picked up was my long due Birthday cake. Called Boston Chocolate from Breadtalk, it was a stunner. You should all try it, its simply marvellous. Sugar blues were on hold for a bit.

The ride was fun and the perspectives got were many. So much for an extremely arty weekend.


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