Everything but the Brain
- About the Playwright
What do Physics, three bears and a stroke have in common? Take a journey with Elaine, a middle-aged Physics teacher, as she explains the theory of relativity using the metaphor of three bears and a train, and devises a plan to turn back time and save her ailing father from physical deterioration.
Written by gifted playwright Jean Tay, Everything but the Brain was first developed at the Playwrights’ Cove at The Necessary Stage in 2001 and staged by Action Theatre in 2005. It won Best Original Script in The Straits Times’ Life! Theatre Awards in 2006 and has since been selected as an ‘O’- and ‘N’-Level literature text in Singapore.
“Jean’s adroit handling of themes, from the origins of genius to gene heritage and the tyranny of Time, makes Everything but the Brain one of the best things seen on stage here in a while.”
—The Straits Times
“One of the more thoughtfully constructed original shows to come out of Singapore in recent times.”
—The Business Times
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: 2010
Size: 145mm x 210mm