The comfort of love and laughter

Actors Siti Khalijah Zainal and Dwayne Lau are part of the cast for A Date With Dwayne - Let's Go Steady.
Actors Siti Khalijah Zainal and Dwayne Lau are part of the cast for A Date With Dwayne - Let's Go Steady.PHOTO: IVAN JOSHUA LOH

See the lighter side of loneliness in A Date With Dwayne - Let's Go Steady

Actor-writer Dwayne Lau lets viewers into his "love shack" in A Date With Dwayne - Let's Go Steady. The series of love-themed comic sketches will be staged at the ITE College Central Black Box on Feb 23 and 24.

Designer Melissa Ho created the set to resemble the blueprint of a house, with some rooms built up. The audience sits within the "house" and swivels to look at the action in the kitchen, toilet or bedroom.

"The idea is everyone is invited to my house for a house party," says Lau, 36, who is baring his inner self with this work in more ways than one.

The first edition of A Date With Dwayne was staged in 2015 as comic date-night theatre for Valentine's Day. This year's show is also about comforting the lonely, perhaps people who are single or who might be grieving for a loved one.

Lau knows how important it is to be surrounded by others when one is lonely or sad.

His mother, who worked in church ministry, died last February during a routine medical procedure.

In shock, he reached out to friends from the theatre community, who rushed down immediately to offer moral support and helped him organise the funeral. Their presence and help was essential to him as he navigated the grieving process.

  • BOOK IT / A DATE WITH DWAYNE - LET'S GO STEADY

  • WHERE: ITE College Central Black Box, Block A2, ITE College Central Campus, 2 Ang Mo Kio Drive

  • WHEN: Feb 23, 8pm; Feb 24, 3 and 8pm

  • ADMISSION: $30 from datedwayne.peatix.com. Limited seats available

Some months later, a protege of his mother's offered to fund any theatre project Lau wanted to do. The actor thought of A Date With Dwayne, which he had wanted to revive last year, before his mother died.

"I've been blessed with friends who love me and my family. I've also been there, I've been alone on Valentine's Day," says the actor, who is single.

He drew on his own experiences of unrequited love, break-ups and passion to create comic sketches. "I thought, 'We can laugh at the loneliness perhaps, rather than feel sad for ourselves.'"

The first A Date With Dwayne was directed by Judee Tan and performed by Lau with the help of Siti Khalijah Zainal and others.

This month's A Date With Dwayne - Let's Go Steady is directed by Pam Oei and performed by Lau, Siti Khalijah, Ethel Yap and Ryan Ang. Well-known musician Elaine Chan accompanies them.

Some familiar figures return, including a florist longing for love and Uncle Muthu the love guru, but there are new sketches celebrating "aunties" with crushes as well as couples in long marriages.

Lau's sister Daphne June, who is a musician and pastor, wrote a musical tribute to their late mother.

He says: "I want people to go back feeling loved after seeing this show. It's a lot of things from my own experiences and from my heart."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 13, 2018, with the headline 'The comfort of love and laughter'. Print Edition | Subscribe