Happy Waiting by Grain Performance & Research Lab

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April 2019 - July 2019


An actress (Sonia Kwek) and a dancer (Neo Yan Zong) meet in Happy Waiting, a new play written by Beverly Yuen, inspired by Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days and Waiting for Godot. Choreographer/ dance artist Bernice Lee is making her theatre directorial debut with Happy Waiting. This combination is exciting and creatively stimulating for a text-based physical theatre performance!

Vicky (Sonia Kwek) is trapped in a mound, but in a cheerful spirit, with only her limbs and head seen. In the mound, Vicky enters into a series of memories, imaginations and recollections of stories told by her folks when she was young. Often, she speaks to her husband Victor as she recalls the happy days of their dating and marriage. However, she is not acknowledged with any response. She thinks— perhaps, her husband is busy. Thus, she sings, dances with her limbs and plays games to occupy time. She is constantly “visited” by Bobo (Neo Yan Zong) who dances past her frequently but does not seem to respond to her. Is he her memory, imagination, or someone from her life?

We follow through the life of Vicky as she passes through the routine of waking up to her alarm, brushing teeth, and making breakfast for herself and her unseen husband. She is totally comfortable and joyous in her routine, maintaining an electrifying positivity within the confines of her limited mobility, hoping that Victor will respond to her one day.

Happy Waiting is an absurdist play that portrays the situations when one is trapped and immobilised with a tint of dark humour.


While Vicky, stuck in the mound, is waiting for her husband to return, the play reflects any life situations when we are stranded, wanting to move on but afraid to do so, and thus choose [could be subconsciously] to stay in the comfort of a familiar, routine and nondescript condition. The absurdity of the characters onstage allows the audience to contemplate and ponder about their lives, be it their studies, career, relationship or family matters. 

Beverly Yuen 

Happy Waiting was developed under Centre 42's Basement Workshop (now known as the Creation Residency). Read about Basement Workshop here.

Development Milestones

April - July 2019
In-Residence at Basement Workshop
by Centre 42
18 June 2019
By-invitation only open rehearsal at Centre 42
3 July 2019
By-invitation only open rehearsal at Centre 42
12 – 13 July 2019
Presentation at Stamford Arts Centre Black Box Theatre

Creation Process

1 Oct- 2 Nov 2018
Happy Waiting (Process 1)

Putting herself in a box, Beverly Yuen, the playwright of Happy Waiting, started her journey in writing the original play, which is inspired by Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days and Waiting for Godot. She confined herself within the dimension of a box, exploring what it felt like to be stranded, and yet abiding in optimism; experience the bleak situation of being stuck, and yet hopeful. Her approach to writing is not merely sitting in front of the laptop! She was using a “doer” and “performer” approach to write the script. From there, she did an 8-minute presentation of Happy Waiting (Process 1) at Make It Share It’s Open Stage on 2 November 2018. 

April 2019
Phase 1 of rehearsals for the full-length play

Phase 1 of rehearsals involves exploration of the play with the director and the cast through script reading and improvisation. The script was finalised in the beginning of May.

May 2019
Phase 2 of rehearsals

In Phase 2 of rehearsals, the director will work on the blocking of the play with the cast and continue in-depth explorations of the script. The script will may still undergo slight amendments.

June 2019
Phase 3 of the rehearsals

Phase 3 of rehearsals is when everything comes together. The production design elements and the rehearsals will meet in the Phase 3 of the rehearsals.

July 2019
Phase 4 of the rehearsals

Phase 4 is the final phase of rehearsals leading up to the presentation.

The presentation will take place on 12 July (8pm) & 13 July 2019 (3pm) at Stamford Arts Centre’s Black Box.

Documentation of the process

Other Resources

Related Production


Beverly Yuen
Bernice Lee
Sonia Kwek
Neo Yan Zong
Shalyn Lim
Set Designer