Arts Preview Singapore Theatre

Preview: Happy Waiting by Grain Performance & Research Lab

Screenshot 2019-05-16 at 11.49.15 PM

This July, inspired by the works of seminal absurdist playwright Samuel Beckett, Grain Performance & Research Lab presents Beverly Yuen’s new play Happy Waiting, combining ideas and taking inspiration from Happy Days and Waiting for Godot. 

With Happy Waiting, Vicky (Sonia Kwek) finds herself trapped in a mound. But contrary to how you think she might react, she remains cheerful, and begins to recall memories of the stories told by her folks when she was young, happier days left in the past. While she waits, she gets visits from Bobo (Neo Yan Zong) who dances past her frequently but does not seem to respond to her. Who exactly is he? Does it even matter, as we get to know Vicky through her daily routine and unending optimism and positivity?

Directed by choreographer Bernice Lee, the first time theatre director hopes to explore concepts of freedom even while a body is physically stagnant in this text-based physical theatre performance. Meanwhile, playwright Beverly Yuen says: “Happy Waiting is an absurdist play that portrays the situations when one is trapped and immobilised with a tint of dark humour. While Vicky, stuck in the mound, is waiting for her husband to return, the play reflects any life situations when we are stranded, wanting to move on but afraid to do so, and thus choose [could be subconsciously] to stay in the comfort of a familiar, routine and nondescript condition. The absurdity of the characters onstage allows the audience to contemplate and ponder about their lives, be it their studies, career, relationship or family matters.”

As with any absurdist play, there are no easy answers, nor are there easy (if any) explanations to fully interpret or truly understand the meaning behind the piece. And with absurdist works being such a rarity in today’s day and age, it’s certainly exciting to see a new theatre company embark on such a bold production as they experiment with form and young performers – we’re looking forward to seeing what Grain brings to the stage with Happy Waiting this July.

Photo Credit: Megan Chia

Happy Waiting runs from 12th to 13th July 2019 at Stamford Arts Centre. Tickets available from Peatix

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