For Better Or For Worse, on stage and off - Checkpoint Theatre looks at marriage

Actors Julius Foo and Jean Ng are not married to each other. But the long-time friends certainly behave like a married couple with a comfortable past.

This easy chemistry should come in handy for their next performance together - the duo will be acting as a middle-aged married couple who have been together for decades.

The intimate work, For Better Or For Worse, will run at the Drama Centre Black Box from March 20 to 24. It is presented by Checkpoint Theatre.

Written by young playwright Faith Ng, 25, the 100-minute play focuses on the ups and downs in the life of husband-and-wife pair Gerald (Foo) and Swen (Ng), tracing the triumphs and trials of their marriage against a very Singaporean backdrop. It is directed by Claire Wong.

Foo, 47, and Ng, 43, met more than 20 years ago during rehearsals for a production by Action Theatre. They have remained good friends since, and have taught many drama classes together for the Down Syndrome Association (Singapore). In fact, during this interview with The Straits Times, they readily complete each other's sentences.

Ng says: "I was telling Claire recently that you accept things which you might not like about the other person. Not only do you accept it, you actually learn to support that. Because it's come to a stage where after 20-odd years, he's not going to change, I'm not going to change. Some things, forget it, either you love it-"

"-Or ignore it," Foo adds, matter-of-factly, prompting a round of guffaws.

Playwright Ng spoke over the telephone from the University of East Anglia in Britain, where she is pursuing a master's degree in creative writing.

She says: "I wanted to create little snapshots of the pressures and expectations that are put on a Singaporean couple, the kind of stresses in a relationship that are very subtle, like financial responsibilities in Singapore, the Singapore dream, how it all changes when you have children - the complexities of a Singaporean relationship."

Tickets at $35 from Sistic (go to www.sistic.com.sg or call 6348-5555).