Collected Plays Three by Alfian Sa'at
Collected Plays Three by Alfian Sa'at

Collected Plays Three

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by Alfian Sa'at


Alfian Sa’at explores the Malay identity and racial relations in this third volume of the Collected Plays series. This volume collects plays written and staged in Malay, and translated to English for the very first time. In Nadirah, a young woman is shocked to find out her mother wants to marry a non-Muslim. In Parah, a group of students can no longer ignore the stereotypes and prejudices that divide the races, and the strain it puts on their friendship. In Geng Rebut Cabinet (GRC), we’re transported to an alternate reality where the Chinese are the minority in Singapore. And in Your Sister’s Husband, five sisters try their hardest to reckon with their superstitious, old-fashioned eldest to farcical ends, raising questions about black sheep, outcasts and sociopaths. 

About the Author

Alfian Sa’at is a Resident Playwright with W!LD RICE. His published works include three collections of poetry, One Fierce Hour, A History of Amnesia and The Invisible Manuscript, a collection of short stories, Corridor, a collection of flash fiction, Malay Sketches, two collections of plays as well as the published play Cooling Off Day.

Alfian has been nominated eight times for Best Script at the Life! Theatre Awards, eventually winning in 2005 for ‘Landmarks’, in 2010 for ‘Nadirah’, and in 2013 for ‘Kakak Kau Punya Laki’ (Your Sister’s Husband). In 2011, Alfian was awarded the Boh-Cameronian Award in Malaysia for Best Book and Lyrics for the musical ‘The Secret Life of Nora’. In 2013, he won the Boh- Cameronian Award for Best Original Script for the play ‘Parah’.

In 2001, Alfian won the Golden Point Award for Poetry as well as the National Arts Council Young Artist Award for Literature. He has also been nominated for the Kirayama Asia-Pacific Book Prize and the Singapore Literature Prize for A History of Amnesia. His short fiction collection Malay Sketches was longlisted for the Frank O’Connor Prize in 2013. His plays and short stories have been translated into German, Swedish, Danish and Japanese and have been read and performed in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Brisbane, Melbourne, London, Zürich, Hamburg, Munich, Berlin, Copenhagen and Stockholm.



“In Nadirah, we perhaps found a common space to begin the negotiations of living in a multi-faith society. Alfian, who is known for raising political and social issues in his plays, posed this poignant question: What if we were all praying to the same God? The play transcended the demarcated spaces of the private and public spheres for religion to lay open, truthfully and beautifully, the complexities of the human existence.”
– Tara Tan, The Straits Times

“Writer Alfian Sa’at has folded into his story a couple of bravura reversals and a lyrical subplot. The political incorrectness that drives much of the humour in the play, for example, is so funny because it rings so true. Nadirah which is incredibly moving at some points, is marked as much by its warmth, empathy and compassion as by its wit and intelligence.”
– Matthew Lyon, The Flying Inkpot 

“But the most remarkable thing about the play, presented by Teater Ekamatra as part of the Man Singapore Theatre Festival, is probably the depth and breadth of issues that Sa'at managed in the 100-minute production. […] Intimate, yet stirring, Nadirah is a perfect example of how theatre can be amazing even without a sky-high budget - which is, perhaps, precisely what the Singapore theatre scene needs to see more of.”
– Natalie Koh, The Business Times


“Alfian ingeniously weaves among moments of budding romance, teenage crushes on teachers and boys being boys some really complex, confrontational situations where the four friends’ (three boys and a girl) innocent, racially-blind relationships with each other are challenged by an awakening to their respective positions within Malaysian society.”
– Mayo Martin, Today

“Without over-explaining a complex issue, it invites further conversation and promotes awareness, not just about Malaysia’s social norms and habits but by comparison Australia and the wider world’s as well. Parah is the perfect mix of funny, engaging and instructive theatre and is well worth a visit.”
– Lauren Sherritt,

“The cathartic Parah opened a floodgate of raw, suppressed emotions that we’ve been wired not to acknowledge or process. […] Parah represents a defining moment in local theatre and culture. A play so powerful that it goes beyond the four walls of a black box.”
– Wong Boon Ken, Timeout Kuala Lumpur

Your Sister’s Husband

“Holy crap, this show is hilarious. Kakak Kau Punya Laki (Your Sister’s Husband) tackles issues of cultural erosion through the genre of farce. […] This script therefore breaks new ground for him – and it’s a treat for audiences, too. This is one comedy you’ll be sorry if you miss.”
– Ng Yi-Sheng, The Flying Inkpot

“The punchy acting does full justice to Alfian’s latest “proper” play (after two consecutive documentary-esque offerings, Cooling-Off Day and Cook A Pot Of Curry) and director Mohd Fared Jainal shapes it into something delightfully bizarre, with touches of mysterious, exaggerated shifts in mood.”
– Mayo Martin, Today Online

“Alfian Sa’at’s Kakak Kau Punya Laki (Your Sister’s Husband) strikes gold. […] The standing ovation it received bears testimony to Alfian’s standing as one of Singapore’s finest dramatists. […] All in all, it is a valuable addition to Alfian's oeuvre, and a mature return to a traditional style of drama.”
– Laremy Lee, The Straits Times 

Geng Rebut Cabinet (GRC)

GRC is a funny play. There are laughs but these lead to sobering realisation, as the audience sees itself reflected in the funhouse mirror of the world on stage. […] Performed in Malay and English—and even a little Mandarin—with English surtitles as required, GRC is as inclusive as the reality it represents fails to be.”
– Akshita Nanda, The Straits Times 

“Fueled by the script’s punchlines and steady wit, GRC delves into the intricacies of politicking during elections, touching on gerrymandering, doublespeak, media control, and dealing with the opposition, among others. […] And throughout, the play’s zingers have an especially biting edge to them precisely because the situations sound so familiar—but not quite.”
– Mayo Martin, Today Online 

“Much of the commentary is amusing in its familiarity to most Singaporeans, from jibes at how Group Representation Constituencies (GRCs) make no geographical sense—complete with cheery Powerpoint demonstrations—to a deliberately cheesy music video showing the WAP candidates mingling with their constituents. […] However, if anyone can make you laugh heartily and feel terrible at the same time, it is Alfian Sa’at.”
– Jocelyn Chng, Centre 42’s Citizens’ Reviews programme

• • •

ISBN: 978-981-14-0042-1 (paperback) | 978-981-14-3250-7 (e-book)
Published: 2019
Dimension: 130mm x 200mm
Extent: 292
Finish: Paperback



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