SINGAPORE – Malay theatre group Teater Ekamatra’s Shakespeare remake Bangsawan Gemala Malam and Wild Rice’s update of Moliere’s 17th-century scam satire Tartuffe: The Imposter lead the pack in 2023’s The Straits Times Life Theatre Awards, with nominations in five categories each.
Both are in contention for the coveted Production Of The Year award.
The directors of the two productions, Bangsawan Gemala Malam’s Aidli “Alin” Mosbit and Tartuffe’s Glen Goei, are also in with a strong shout in the Best Director category.
The Life Theatre Awards, inaugurated in 2000 by The Straits Times to recognise achievements in the theatre scene, returns in its 21st edition.
The awards has traditionally reflected developments in the theatre scene and this year’s nominees, ranging from glitzy full-scale productions such as Bangsawan Gemala Malam and Tartuffe to small one-man shows, track the scene’s robust return to the live stage.
Other nominations for Bangsawan Gemala Malam, a cross-cultural blend of A Midsummer Night’s Dream with traditional Malay operatic theatre, are in Best Actor for Rizman Putra for his multi-character blitz, Best Costume for Max Tan and Best Lighting for James Tan.
For Tartuffe, Joel Tan’s channelling of Moliere in his rewrite of the Wild Rice adaptation has earned a nod for Best Original Script. Frederick Lee’s jewel-toned baroque costumes put him in the contest for Best Costume, while the entire cast of Tartuffe has been nominated for Best Ensemble.
Both plays were praised by ST’s reviewers when they were staged.
Bangsawan Gemala Malam, a Singapore International Festival of Arts (Sifa) offering, was called “something of a coup” by ST’s senior culture correspondent Ong Sor Fern, with particular praise for “effortless scene-stea...