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The Optic Trilogy

A tourist has a dalliance with a rent boy she has summoned from the Yellow Pages. 


A nervous photographer hires a blind model. 


A woman proposes marriage to a man she has just met on the Internet. 


… Who are they, and what have they come for?


The Optic Trilogy is a play of and on our senses. The conversation between light and sight, the vibration of sound and phantom touch; the taste of thought and the warmth of a kiss. Composing of 3 interconnected stories, each a duet between strangers, this play is a meditation on memory and perception — capturing the poetry of chance meetings in a cold and pitiless Singaporean landscape.


Written in 2001 by Singaporean playwright Alfian Bin Sa’at when he was just 24 years old, it has gone on to garner both local and international acclaim. The play, originally written in English, has been translated into Swedish, German and Italian, and has been performed in Singapore (2013), Malaysia, as Die Optische Trilogie in Zürich (2006), Berlin (2008) and Munich (2011), as 3D – en optisk trilogy in Stockholm (2006), and most recently in Italy (2017). It received a Best Script nomination at the Straits Times Life! Theatre Awards in 2002, and is widely regarded to be the playwright’s most lyrical work. 

date. 21st - 23rd February 2018

venue. caryl churchill theatre, royal holloway university of london

size. professional

This production utilised a tripartite approach of sonar landscapes, virtual projection and lighting as tools to create the interwoven narratives, and was lauded to be the first professional performance of a Southeast Asian play to be staged in Royal Holloway University and in Surrey. 

The Optic Trilogy


"I very much enjoyed this performance, it was thoughtful, beautifully designed... The use of physical theatre added thoughtfully to the symbolism of the play, particularly the shadow play with reaching for the star, and the moments of shadows behind the screen as well. I felt this was an excellent production, with a real vision and beautifully, clean aesthetic. It would be worth taking forward and you have clearly developed a strong ensemble commitment between your cast members. I thoroughly enjoyed the performance and greatly appreciated the opportunity to see something that made me think so deeply."

- Dr. Sarah McCourt, Senior Lecturer at Royal Holloway University

"I count myself as extremely privileged to get a first viewing of this heart-stopping show and I can't recommend it enough. The play itself is already rich with emotional complexity, but Sean and Jenny's bold honesty and sheer talent just takes your breath away! And can I mention the aesthetics? Their use of projections and lighting take you somewhere else, whether that's Singapore or not you'll have to see for yourselves.. See this, because it made me an emotional wreck."

- Eloise Baker, Drama and Dance graduate from Royal Holloway University

"The Optic Trilogy freezes real-time, painting the stage with squares of dark and light... To act blind requires the process of taking away and Jenny Collins, under the direction of Rebecca Goh, does this beautifully and with such humanity. ​The director's cleverly created subtleties and brave staging choices are upheld by the performers' clinical commitment to character and impressive acting ability."

- Hamza Ali, actor and director at Royal Holloway University

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