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Studio | SIFA X: there is no future in nostalgia

May 9, 2023 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm

Responding to the rich layers of ambivalence and irony in Arthur Yap’s poem “there is no future in nostalgia,” the four residents of Centre 42’s Playwright’s Professional Development Residency present dramatized readings of new short plays that reflect on the tensions between technocratic and civic visions of life in Singapore.

These four new short plays are presented as double-bill performances over two weekends:

Studio A (Ahmad Musta’ain and Danial Matin), 20 May, 3pm and 21 May, 8pm

The Best of Us by Ahmad Musta’ain

They say you make lifelong friends in NS. For Khai and Taj, their army bestie was the camp canteen lady, Juweeta. Now, in a space beyond living and dying, these two boys must find their way back to save Kak Ju in her time of crisis. Together the three friends embark on a journey of nostalgia saturated with Beyoncé, cackles, and the tragedies of illness, and perhaps the only person who can save Juweeta is herself. By turns raucous and melancholy, Ahmad Musta’ain Bin Khamis’s new play is about unlikely army friendships, queer families, and the healing power of memory.

Asymptote by Danial Matin

A scientist digs up a skull in Antarctica, an exile reunites with his mother in a morgue, two trans-national lovers negotiate the future of their relationship, a pair of Malaysian parents grow apart from their child across the causeway… These are some of the beguiling, lyrical stories in Danial Matin’s new play about how time acts on the heart. Each tender vignette explores the myriad ways ordinary people wrestle with loss, and the restless, unstable nature of home. In the end, what is left to hold on to? And do we hold on to what is left?

Studio B (A Yagnya and Rachel Chin), 27 May, 3pm and 28 May, 8pm

Help! Our Dead have Dementia, and Other Stories by A Yagnya

Queen Elizabeth has just died, sparking the sudden appearance of Dada, who seems to have risen from the dead, for whom memory- in death – is (was?) (what is time?) a tenuous thing. Devan (who’s about to move out of his childhood home) is suddenly launched into the unreliable mind of his late grandfather. But nothing will stop the old man from narrating from beyond the grave at his grandson, who’s just trying to Marie Kondo his dead Dada’s life. Hilarious and poignant, this bold new play by A Yagnya asks: if the world keeps rebuilding itself, what the hell are the dead going to hold on to?

Where the Hantus At? by Rachel Chin

When their dad passes, sisters Lynette and Leia must decide what to do with his estate: to preserve what is there, or to sell their house and move on. But they’ve forgotten how much each gets on the other’s nerves, and as the resentment builds, an ugly battle of wills ensues. Naturally, the dead get involved. Rachel Chin’s whacky and hard-hitting new play is about hantus, family, love and memory. After all, they’re the same thing… right?


May 9, 2023
8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Event Category:


Black Box, 42 Waterloo Street
42 Waterloo Street
Singapore, 187951 Singapore
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