- About the Playwright
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Welcome to the surreal world of Boom, where civil servants wake the dead, corpses are terrified of cremation, old women are besieged in their homes, and Ah Bengs still dream of being Superman. Boom tells the story of an elderly woman and her property agent son in Singapore, who are struggling over the potential en bloc sale of their home. Their destinies become interwoven with that of an idealistic civil servant, Jeremiah, who is facing the greatest challenge of his career—persuading a reluctant corpse to yield its memories. Boom is a quirky yet poignant tale about the relocation of both dead and living, and how personal stories get left behind in the inexorable march of progress.
Written by economist-turned-playwright Jean Tay, Boom was conceptualised at the Royal Court Theatre in London in 2007, and developed and staged by the Singapore Repertory Theatre in September 2008. It was nominated for Best Original Script for The Straits Times’ Life!Theatre Awards in 2009 and is now an ‘O’- and ‘N’-Level Literature text in Singapore schools.
“Jean Tay is one of the most gifted playwrights I have come across in years.”
—Gaurav Kripalani, Artistic Director, Singapore Repertory Theatre
Jean Tay’s stage plays have been performed in Singapore, the US, the UK and Italy, and include The Shape of a Bird (2016), It Won’t Be Too Long: The Cemetery—Dusk (2015), Senang (2014), Sisters (2013), Boom (2008, 2009, 2012), Everything but the Brain (2005, 2007, 2013), Plunge (2000), The Knot (1999) and Water from the Well (1998). In addition, she has written the books for the musicals The Great Wall: One Woman’s Journey (2017), The Admiral’s Odyssey (2005), the NUS Centennial musical Man of Letters (2006), and children’s musical Pinocchio (2010).
Everything but the Brain and Boom (both published by Epigram Books) have been used as O-Level and N-Level literature texts for secondary school students. The Knot was awarded 1st prize for Action Theatre’s 10-minute Play Competition 2010 and selected as a finalist for the Actors Theatre of Louisville’s 10-minute Play Contest. Tay has been nominated four times for Best Original Script for the Life! Theatre Awards, and won for Everything But the Brain in 2006. Her prose fiction has received honours as well: the 1997 Weston Undergraduate Prize for Fiction for “The Story”, as well as 1st and 3rd prizes for the National Arts Council’s Golden Point Award in 1995 and 2001, respectively.
Tay graduated in 1997 with a double-degree in creative writing and economics from Brown University, attended the month-long International Playwriting Residency in 2007 (organised by the Royal Court Theatre in London), and participated in LaMama’s International Playwrights’ Retreat in Umbria, Italy in 2010. She served as resident playwright at the Singapore Repertory Theatre (SRT) from 2006–2009, and helmed SRT’s Young Company Writing Programme from 2012–2016. She was also involved in the 2015 NDP: Majulah Singapura, Singapore’s Golden Jubilee, and the 2017 Home Team Show and Festival as scriptwriter.
Currently, she teaches playwriting as an adjunct lecturer at Nanyang Technological University, and conducts playwriting masterclasses at the Victorian College of the Arts (University of Melbourne) for students in the Master’s of Writing for Performance programme. She is also the founding Artistic Director of Saga Seed Theatre, set up in 2015 to bring Singaporean stories to the stage, and to provide a platform to showcase and nurture local talent.
Cover Type: Paperback
Page Count: 128
Year Published: 2009
Size: 145mm x 210mm