As part of The Necessary Stage’s (TNS) Devising Platform in 2020, the company launched Playwrights’ Cove, a playwriting training and mentorship programme led by Resident Playwright Haresh Sharma, with the aim of nurturing, processing and platforming contemporary playwriting for Singapore theatre.
Playwrights’ Cove returns in 2022, and over the course of six months, 11 emerging playwrights and theatre-makers met weekly to undergo training and discuss theatrical forms and works, as they worked on new drafts of their plays. Local theatre practitioners were also invited to give guest lectures on a variety of topics throughout the programme.
The culmination of Playwrights’ Cove 2022 will see the participants present their newly developed works as live presentations of readings from 2 to 6 November 2022. Each playwright will have their play directed by veteran and emerging Singapore directors, and read by various actors from the industry. Each performance slot will feature up to two plays presented to a public audience at Practice Space, The Theatre Practice, followed by a post-show dialogue with the playwrights, facilitated by Haresh Sharma.
On Wednesday, 2nd November, Playwrights’ Cove will feature Amitha Pagolu’s The Way You Cook, following a young girl who has a difficult relationship with the grandmother who raised her. When she finds out she is pregnant and gets into yet another fight with her grandma, she decides it is time to move out and figure things out for herself. As she tries to find a place to live, both she and her grandmother must figure out themselves, each other and what it means to call a place home. Directed by Adib Kosnan, and read by Grace Kalaiselvi, Periyachi Roshini and Wendi Wee Hian.
This will be accompanied by All, All White by Deonn Yang, following three women from three different generations living in the same household. These three women want to see the world beyond their home, but a dampener has been put on their plans after financial struggles and signs of dementia creeps into their lives. The three of them will have to find ways to support each other and come to the realisation that they are more alike than different. Directed by Serena Ho, and Read by Cheryl Ho, Doreen Toh, Goh Guat Kian and Sharon Mah.
On Thursday 3rd November, Playwrights’ Cove presents Into the Void by Adeeb Fazah. The plot follows Sam, who lives with his ageing father. He dreams of buying his own house and moving out but struggles to do so when father-son tensions cause their relationship to sour. Compounded by his father’s failing health and an encounter with a bird, Sam must navigate finding a way to get his dream home and being the only person who can provide care for his father. Directed by Adib Kosnan, and read by Kaykay Nizam, Rino Junior John Zara Sophia and Zulfiqar.
This will be accompanied by BITE by Andy Pang. BITE keeps on biting things, which is causing an issue. To cope with the chew, Father encourages abstinence, Mother practice benevolence, and Sister sustains nonchalance. But as the teeth gnaws on, nibbles become chomps, and soon, the snapping becomes too much to bear. The mouth must be put in place, and someone needs to be the wedge. Directed by Lim Shien Hian, and read by Hang Qian Chou, Jayden Lim Jun De, Lareina Tham and Sharon Mah.
On Friday 4th November, Christopher Chee’s We have no time but I can’t say I love you gets a reading. Estranged for several years, Robert attempts to reconcile his relationship with his son, Alan, after being told that Alan is moving to Australia. Would reconciliation be possible with time running out? Directed by Sim Yan Ying, and read by Catherine Sng, Joel Low, Thomas Lim and Vanessa Ronald.
This will be paired with Baby Bird by Eleanor Tan, where a Singaporean woman finds herself at a crossroads, as a broken relationship and a family crisis signal the end of her carefree youth, and push her to come to terms with the true meanings of family, friendship and adulthood. Directed by Sim Yan Ying, and read by Deborah, Jasmine Xie, Julius Foo, Sheena Chan and Tysha Khan.
On Saturday 5th November, Amanda Chong presents Psychobitch. Anya Samuel is an overachieving journalist who does everything in life to the highest degree of excellence. When her tech bro boyfriend Galven accuses her of being “too emotional” and tasks her to explain the five times she cried in public in the course of their relationship, she cannot help but bring her A game. But as Anya prepares a slide deck to save her relationship, she is forced to encounter dark truths she has avoided. Psychobitch is a one-woman show that explores gender power dynamics in relationships, and the lies we tell each other in order to live. Directed by A Yagnya, and read by Sindhura Kalidas.
This will be paired with Oo-Woo by Raimi Safari. Four family members and an incident of a family pet bird went missing forces the family to rediscover the meaning of filial piety, love and sacrifice. Directed by Serena Ho, and read by Ellison Tan, Elnie S Mashari, Rusydina Afiqah and Yazid Jalil.
Finally, Playwrights’ Cove will conclude on Sunday, 6th November, with Homepa by Mitchell Fang. Living with his widowed mother Hui, Oliver finds that the only solution to managing a break-up while trying to keep their friends; is by holding a house party. Yet everyone coming to the party shares their own set of secrets—the unemployment, the drugs, the gender identities. How do people navigate personal boundaries in shared spaces? Directed by Sean Tobin, and starring Karen Tan, Nicholas Bloodworth, Ryan Ang, Tan Rui Shan and Vignesh Singh.
This will be paired with To Mars, With Love by Lim Shien Hian, where after getting accepted into a space program to Mars, a girl needs to decide whether to leave or stay. Directed by Sean Tobin, and read by Chaney Chia, Mitchell Fang, Oon Shu An and Zelda Tatiana Ng.
Playwrights’ Cove 2022 runs from 2nd to 6th November 2022, with a different pair of plays being performed each day, at Practice Space. Tickets available on BookMyShow
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