The Writers’ Lab programme was inaugurated in April 1991 in an effort to nurture and develop playwriting in Singapore. It is a unique self-help programme developed and organised by TheatreWorks in order to provide aspiring playwrights with the opportunity to hone their skills. Members attend workshops by local and foreign playwrights, enter into dialogue with theatre practitioners, and gain feedback from the audience. The aim is to create more Singapore plays and a greater awareness and recognition of such plays. Since its inception, the programme has seen more than 50 plays read and 11 fully produced. Two compendia of selected works from the programme have been published, with a third to be launched this year. The success of the programme is demonstrated by the attention it has attracted overseas, with a similar Lab having been set up in the Perth. In an attempt to encourage a new generation of playwrights. a new component, ‘Writers’ Lab Goes To School’, was also introduced last year. Under this programme, playwriting courses are conducted in secondary schools.
The Writers’ Lab programme has been sponsored by Singapore Press Holdings through its years of existence. SPH has been a proud contributor to the development and growth of theatre through its commitment to the nurturing of creative writing in Singapore.
Ginnie’s Favourite Colour (22 — 25 August 1996)
A startling blend of poetry and performance. This is a novel presentation with a twist on the traditional form of poetry readings. No droning hyperbole here – instead, there is music and movement as these pieces are dramatised by TheatreWorks’ actors. Written by Alfie Lee, these poems explore a range of emotions and ideas from the current and contemporary, to the poignant and personal.
The Buried (30 August – 1 September 1996)
Set in 1940’s Singapore, ‘The Buried’ tells a tale of betrayal, lost innocence, and hidden desires. Han is a history teacher who has no reality of his personal history. His life suddenly changes when Kai Yun steps into his house. Ostensibly on a search for her own father, Kai Yun unearths more than bones in Han’s bunker. Who or what was buried? What actually happened during the time of the Japanese Occupation? Why can’t Han remember?
‘The Buried’ leads us into the psyches of the two protagonists as they embark on a search for their pasts. Part mystery theatre and part psychological exploration, this is a play that is not just intellectually stimulating, but also theatrically exciting.
Quiet The Gorilla (4 – 7 September 1996)
Siew is just an ordinary working girl. Uptight, overworked and in need of a shower… desperately.
Min is her younger sister. A dropout who suddenly returns home from Boston… pregnant.
Mrs Lee is their neighbour. Herbal soup specialist and agony aunt to the heartlanders.
The Gorilla is a runaway from the circus and frequent visitor of Siew’s dreams.
Three women and a gorilla in search of peace in a world of chaos. A hilarious HDB living room situational comedy full of comic one-liners, infectious humour, and a lot of hair.
Come if only to meet the gorilla.