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Goh Poh Seng: Three Plays

Publisher: Epigram Books
  • Description
  • Praise
  • About the Playwright
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    An omnibus of groundbreaking Singaporean playscripts.

    Goh Poh Seng played an active role in the arts scene of post-independence Singapore. He was a pioneer of Singaporean drama, and the author of what is considered the first local English-language novel, If We Dream Too Long (1972). However, despite him winning the Cultural Medallion, his three playscripts have never been published…until now.

    Three Plays—consisting of The Moon Is Less Bright (1964), When Smiles Are Done (1965) and The Elder Brother (1966)—rescues these dramatic works from obscurity, and presents them on the sixtieth anniversary of first being staged.

  • “Where does one begin to address such neglect? [Goh’s] three plays, written and staged in the 1960s but never published, cry out to be documented and written about in greater detail.”
    —Clarissa Oon, QLRS

    The Moon Is Less Bright depicts the political and social awakening of Asian peoples, with all the fears, aspirations and violence of the era.”
    —Thespis, The Straits Times, 25 Nov 1964

    “If Lim Chor Pee and Goh Poh Seng had continued their playwriting activities, and if there had been others to follow, drama in English would certainly have surged ahead and found its mark in the mid-sixties instead of the mid-eighties.”
    Robert Yeo, Singapore Book World

    When Smiles Are Done is a delicate, unpretentious play with a large heart.”
    —Edward Dorall, playwright

    “No matter what we feel, think or say, it is fair to remark that [Lim] Chor Pee and [Goh] Poh Seng pioneered Singapore theatre in English and laid the foundations for a truly Singaporean perspective/voice on the Singapore experience.”
    Kirpal Singh, Esplanade Offstage

    “Set in Singapore’s Chinatown of today, The Elder Brother is simple yet very moving, and presents with stark clarity how home life can be wrecked through intolerance and lack of understanding on the part of the breadwinner. It should give much food for thought.”
    —Merry Andrew, The Straits Times, 7 Aug 1966

  • Goh Poh Seng was a playwright, novelist and poet, regarded as a pioneer of Singaporean literature in English. A medical doctor by training, his first novel If We Dream Too Long is widely recognised as the first Singaporean English-langauge novel, while his play When Smiles Are Done is one of the first instances of the use of Singlish in drama. Goh also released five books of poetry, founded the literary magazine Tumasek and formed Centre 65 to promote the arts. In addition, he chaired the National Theatre Trust and was Vice-Chairman of the Arts Council from 1967 to 1973. Goh received the Cultural Medallion for Literature in 1982 and emigrated to Canada in 1986. He passed away in 2010, leaving behind his wife Margaret, four sons and three grandchildren.

ISBN: 9789815105742
Cover Type: Paperback
Page Count: 328
Year Published: 2024
Size: 210mm x 145mm
Language: English