Headline Acts | SIFA-X 2023 Edition

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27 May 2023 | 8:00pm
28 May 2023 | 3:00pm
Black Box, 42 Waterloo Street

Do note that the Black Box venue is located on Level 2, and is only accessible by stairs.

Book your tickets to either or both Acts (Registration opens on 31 March 2023):

  • Act 1 | Sat 27 May, 8pm 
  • Act 2 | Sun 28 May, 3pm

Admission: Give-What-You-Can (via Eventbrite upon registering for a ticket)
All proceeds collected for this event will be evenly distributed to participating writers.

Headline Acts is a fun and informal reading series open to writers of all experience levels wishing to showcase plays or scenes. The only rule is, each work is a short (10-15 minutes) dramatic pieces that respond to recent headlines.

For this special SIFA edition of Headline Acts, part of Centre 42's group show SIFA-X: there is no future in nostalgia, we are turning our attention to that special dynamic between new and old, past and future. And so we're asking all participants to respond to a headline of their choice from 30 years ago - in the year 1993.

6 writers were shortlisted through an Open Call that took place on 1 March 2023. The works they will be presenting are: 

  1. "Sotong" by Kay Lynn Er
  2. "All Kinds of Time” by Wisely Chow
  3. “An Examination” by Ivan Choong
  4. “The Chilli Powder Sisters”  by Melizarani T. Selva
  5. "Kids, Gifts, COEs & Roast Duck" by Irsyad Dawood
  6. "Is It Because I'm..." by Isaac Lim

The events will be headlined by two invited writers whose careers kicked off in the 90s. Their new works are:

  1. "The Three Ages" by Jean Tay
  2. "Motherland" by Very Shy Gurl by fendy

These eight new short pieces are presented across 2 sessions. Acts 1 will take place on Saturday 27 May 8pm, and Acts 2 will take place on Sunday 28 May 3pm.

Acts 1

"The Three Ages" by Jean Tay
Responding to the headline "MRT trains collide at Clementi: 132 hurt"


A woman, Elizabeth, looks back at her life at three different points in time.

"Kids Gifts, COEs & Roast Duck" by Irsyad Dawood
Responding to the headline "Kids Gifts, COEs & Roast Duck"


A couple gets stuck on the highway on the way to their friends' child's birthday after their motorbike breaks down in the rain. While waiting for repair, they talk about their future, the world around them, and their expectations of each other. They confront their insecurities about moving forward in life as an adult in Singapore and start fantasising about a world with no worries. They start to play with the gift they have gotten for the party and eventually realise they should make the most of every moment starting from that moment. They decide to do something they have never done before, eat a whole box of roast duck in the heavy rain at the side of the highway. For a brief moment in a long time, they experience joy, together.

News Source: New Paper, 26 November 1993, Page 18

"Is it because I'm..." Isaac Lim
Responding to the headline "Why the Malay male is 'not romantic'"


Ibrahim is a sexy and charming man. But he just cannot find the right love. The reason? They all say he isn’t romantic enough. He recollects his past relationships over the past year to find the true problem.

"Sotong" by Kay Lynn Er
Responding to the headline "Zon Zon can carry on in spite of Pon Pon"


What starts as the purchase of the wrong brand of cuttlefish snacks turns into a heated discussion about one family's past and relationships with each other. 

News Source: The Straits Times 12 May 1993 pg22

Acts 2

"Motherland" by Very Shy Gurl by fendy
Responding to the headline "At the White House, Israeli PM Yitzhak Rabin and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat signed the Oslo Accords"


Two unknown soldiers deeply in love and with different loyalties contemplate the inevitable when the night sky in the distance starts to burn red.

Performed by: Irfan Kasban and Bada Jafari

News Source: September 13, various news media

"The Chilli Powder Sisters" by Melizarani T. Selva
Responding to the headline "Chilli powder sisters gets jail"


Armed with chilli powder and an aching desire to leave Singapore, two sisters hatch a plot to rob a woman at their HDB while arguing about the best ways to spend the bounty — on a dowry or or a degree.

News Source: The Straits Times, 27 March 1993

"All Kinds of Time " by Wisely Chow
Responding to the headline "Buy a CD and get to know me too"


A wedding is interrupted, a time folds onto itself.

News Source: November 14 1993, The New Paper

"An Examination" by Ivan Choong
Responding to the headline "376 to resit English exam as papers lost by June Kong"


A lost of test papers that were differing opportunities for two young lives. It leads to examinations with unexpected findings.

News Source: The New Paper, 20 July 1993, Page 9

This edition of Headline Acts is part of Centre 42's group show SIFA-X: there is no future in nostalgia, in collaboration with Singapore International Festival of Arts.


Jean Tay
Irsyad Dawood
Ivan Choong
Wisely Chow
Kay Lynn Er
Isaac Lim