Permits & Passes
Book Review: Theatre Life!
Life! uses the rich resources available in The Straits
Times newspaper from 1958 to 2000 to document the history of
English Language Theatre in Singapore.
only natural that author Clarissa OON, who has been involved
in acting, directing and scriptwriting since her student
days, desires to fill the gap in our Singapore people's
memories of the role played by those who have been
instrumental in giving Singapore theatre its unique
this book you will find copious examples of the fruits of
labour of once-young Singaporean bright sparks, such as LIM
Chor Pee, ONG Keng Sen, GOH Poh Seng, Stella KON, LI Lien Fung, KUO Pao Kun, LIM Kay
Tong, Max Le Blond, Margaret CHAN and LIM Siauw Chong, some of whom have
moved on out of theatre into the mundane world of 9-5 office
is the stuff that these local talents proffered - as they
emerged into maturity - that we can identify with by virtue of
its youthful exuberance and the bare-bones
interpretation of life as the artists saw it in their
find out how these chaps, with their home-grown scripts,
were instrumental in getting the amateur Singapore theatre
to come out of the shadow of the expatriate groups in the 1980s,
and able to inspire new blood, such as KOH Boon Pin, Karen TAN,
Ovidia YU, Eleanor WONG and T. Sasitharan, to take English
theatre into the next stage of development - going
professional - in the 1990s.
way, understand the part played by education policies of the
60s and 70s - putting English as the main medium of
instruction - in shifting the status of English drama from a
minority concern to a mainstream activity in the 1980s.
book to feel the vibes of a new generation of
English-speaking Singaporeans dealing with growing up and
self-expression in an age of profound social change.
A Book Review
by Raymond HAN
ISBN 981 04
3705 6 Published in 2001
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We are now 3404 pages thick and growing.
the next public holiday. It falls on 25 Dec 2001.
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