Darling, let's talk about money

The play 28.8, stars Al-Matin Yatim (far left) and Farhana M. Noor as a couple working out their finances. It is written by director Adib Kosnan (left).
The play 28.8, stars Al-Matin Yatim (far left) and Farhana M. Noor as a couple working out their finances. It is written by director Adib Kosnan (left).PHOTO: NIVASH JOYVIN FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

Teater Kami play looks at a couple in love and how they view their finances and new flat

Can a marriage work when two people love each other but disagree about money? Writer-director Adib Kosnan draws on his talks with friends and family for the play 28.8, presented by Teater Kami on April 7 and 8 at Aliwal Arts Centre.

The title refers to the wedding date set by 20something lovers Nerissa and Andy (played by 20somethings Farhana M. Noor and Al-Matin Yatim).

It is also the staggeringly high interest rate on a credit card one of them owns.

Adib, 32, says a friend of his signed up for a similar credit card without considering the financial implications. The friend was in a fix when the repayments were due.

  • BOOK IT/ 28.8

  • WHERE: Aliwal Arts Centre, 27 Aliwal Street

    WHEN: April 7, 8pm; April 8, 3 and 8pm

    ADMISSION: $25, call 9723-5774 or e-mail teater.kami@gmail.com

In contrast, Adib had been considering his finances seriously. Before he and his pre-school teacher wife wed two years ago, they had many talks about expenses, about whether or not to buy a car and how to pay for their build-to-order flat.

These were tough, but important talks, he says. As a freelance theatre practitioner, his income may be irregular. He and his wife have a 16- month-old daughter and another child on the way.

"Big financial decisions affect you when you are getting married. A lot of relationships break down because of them," he says.

28.8 follows a couple from first date to entering their new BTO flat. They are in love, but each thinks differently about money. Nerissa will shell out for new experiences, while Andy is thrifty and always thinking about the future.

"It creates conflict, it creates tension, but the play is not about who is in the right," says Adib. "It looks at how relationships work between two people and what needs to occur between two people."

The BTO flat figures large in the story, just as it would in most Singaporean romances. Multimedia effects by Yusri "Shaggy" Sapari will help the audience see the charm of the new flat that the couple take possession of.

In real life, Al-Matin, 28, is looking forward to moving into his own BTO flat with his wife and their six- month-old daughter.

He identifies so strongly with his character that "I bring him home", he says. However, in real life, his wife is the pragmatic one.

Adib says that while moving into a BTO flat is the dream, when he viewed his flat recently, he found it hard to be excited about a space that was so bare.

Farhana, 26 and single, says the appeal lies in doing up an empty space. "It's fresh and new. It's like a doll house," she says.

Adib adds: "But it's not so easy... to play masak-masak." Games are for children, adults have to think further when buying a home.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 28, 2017, with the headline 'Darling, let's talk about money'. Print Edition | Subscribe