Ever been to a speed dating event? You enter the room and sit across the table from your potential partner. Following approximately three minutes of conversation, a bell is rung and you move on to the next table, and the cycle goes on. 11, the never-before-seen experiential performance by Singaporean artist Dawn Ng works the same way — only this time the conversation is scripted.
But the objective here is not to find a life partner. Not actively, anyway. It’s a way of seeing inside ourselves, reflected in a (probably) perfect stranger. The best part? The performance piece starts with a stiff drink at the bar of Telok Ayer Arts Club, which is hosting the show over six exclusive sessions leading up to a Valentine’s Day finale.
“Some may get lost, some may find themselves, some may fall in love and some may want their money back.”
Under Dawn’s artistic direction, the Arts Club transforms into a black box performance space (even the toilet is blocked off – but that’s not the point) with 11 confession booths for 11 pairs of people to immerse themselves in, yes, 11 intriguing narratives. Each depicts a story of truth, hope, humour, vulnerability, loss, and longing penned by the artist herself.
You are one of the ‘actors’ within the performance. Each round, you place your hands on top of your companion’s. Then the bell rings, and you play everyone from a sardonic taxi driver to an emotionally inept robot, from a smitten lover to a cog in a machine. Every story is a personal vignette of Singapore city life, interwoven with the existential, the whimsical, the quotidian, the traumatic, and the ironic aspect of the daily grind.
Will you find affinity? Intimacy? Each act lasts approximately three minutes, but each trauma may last a lifetime. Expect to leave the room with a hotchpotch of emotional experiences, and if that’s not enough for you, Telok Ayer Arts Club’s music director Hasnor Sidik will be organising a special edition of Kelab Ma11am, the establishment’s signature club night on 19 January. True to its tradition of off-menu exhibition cocktails, beverage manager Din Hassan is also offering his take on the classic Penicillin, prepared with The Famous Grouse whisky, ginger syrup, lemon juice, honey, and a splash of peaty Laphroaig for $17++.
While tickets for four out of six sessions are already sold out, tickets are still available at the point of writing for the 8pm show on 26 January, as well as a special afternoon matinee at 5pm.
Tickets are priced at $48 per pax (includes a cocktail) and available for purchase by calling +65 6221 0712 or via email to email@example.com. Group or corporate bookings are available dependant on the artist’s schedule. More details here.