5 introspective plays by female playwrights to catch in April

It’s always great to see our local female artists get the recognition they deserve. This year, as part of their (extended) 15th anniversary celebrations, The Esplanade is putting five female artists into the spotlight, with five special commissioned theater works.

The works, which fall under The Esplanade’s developmental theater program The Studios, will be performed over the duration of Mar 29-Apr 29. Four are brand new works, and the last is a reworked production; all are original pieces by independent Singapore artists. This edition’s theme is “Between Living and Dying”—a seemingly morbid choice, but we’re looking forward to seeing how our local ladies delicately explore the universal question we all want answered: What makes life worth living?

A Good Death

(Written by Faith Ng, dir. by Chen Yingxuan)

The story follows Dr. Leong (Karen Tan), a palliative care doctor who journeys with her patients through their final days. At home, arguments surface over age-old (pun intended) concerns about what is best for ageing parents, and she begins to question what it means to lean on one another. Mar 29-Apr 1

In the Silence of Your Heart

(Written and dir. by Kaylene Tan)

Developed as an in-ear audio experience for the theater, expect a structurally unconventional performance in Kaylene Tan’s meditative tale revolving around a man, paralyzed for 13 years, whose mind remains active as ever. Lim Kay Tong voices the unseen Thian, who reflects on his family and his life—has it all gone to waste? Jalyn Han and Tan Hui Er perform onstage as ‘Woman’ and ‘Girl’ respectively.

An interesting thing to bear in mind—due to the seating configuration and level of concentration required, the performance is not suitable for children below 10; and audience members may be seated apart from their companions. Exciting. Apr 5-8

I Am Trying to Say Something True

(Written by Michelle Tan, dir. by T. Sasitharan)

Up-and-coming playwright Michelle Tan explores loss in new ways with this one-woman performance—through the spaces between people and places, the gaps between past and present, and the gulf between knowledge and belief. New performer Elllison Tan stars. Apr 12-15

How Did the Cat Get So Fat?

(Written by Zizi Azah Bte Abdul Majid, dir. by Tan Beng Tian)

Zizi Azah Bte Abdul Majid’s critically acclaimed work returns for a refresher 11 years after its debut, this time with Tan Beng Tian directing—relieving Zizi of her previous one-woman role of director-cum-playwright. Familiar face Siti Khalijah Zainal reprises her role as nine-year-old Fatimah, who through meeting people representing various segments of Singapore society, helps expose the socio-political hypocrisies present in our country.

The national pledge serves as a main vehicle for commentary here—an apt choice, because did anyone else ever realize how weirdly dystopian the Pledge sounds? Apr 19-22

Leda and The Rage

(Written and dir. by Edith Podesta)

Theater maker Edith Podesta does it all in this dark but honest look at trauma and recovery, inspired by actual events in her own life. The topic may be highly stigmatized in Singapore, but there’s no shying away here; be prepared to delve into the daily struggles of those living with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Due to mature themes and references to rape and sexual assault, admission age is 12 and above. Apr 26-29

Tickets for The Studios are available now here