In the Living Room with Koh Boon Pin and Desmond Sim was held in the company of a live audience on 17 April 2015.
Veteran journalist and actor Koh Boon Pin converses with Singaporean playwright, poet and artist Desmond Sim about his play-writing journey and the juggling between his business consultancy and his artistic pursuits. They zoom through Desmond’s extensive list of creative works – plays, paintings, poetry – over the last three decades.
The 70-minute Living Room Chat has been repackaged into a 3-part video recording:
Part 1: The conversation opens with Desmond talking about the multiple scholarships and writing competitions he had won in his youth, and sharing important tips on how to write for the stage. Desmond also shares his experience being the first Writer-in-Residence at TheatreWork’s Writer’s Lab. The works discussed in this video are Old Woman’s Dying, Old Woman’s Dead (1989), Red Man, Green Man (1990), Storyteller (1990), Places Where I’ve Been (1993), and Drunken Prawns (1993).
Part 2: In this jam-packed second part, Boon Pin and Desmond discuss some of the playwright’s most popular works. To Desmond, his plays often attempt to explore the universal theme of love and/or to show a different perspective on life, even if these aims may sometimes be couched in frivolity. Desmond shares the stories behind the plays Elizabeth by Night (1993), Corporate Animals (1995), Who’s Afraid of Choy Yuen Fatt? (1996), Shrimps in Space (1999), The Swimming Instructor (1999), and Autumn Tomyam (2001), as well as the award-winning film Beautiful Boxer (2003).
Part 3: In Part 3, Desmond shares with Boon Pin and the Living Room audience some of the works which drew heavily from memories of his childhood and family. Desmond wrote the monologue Teochew Porridge (1995) as a way of coming to terms with the relationship he had with his late father. In Postcards from Rosa (2007), he drew from stories his Nonya grandmother would tell him as child. Desmond also found inspiration in his family life for his Peranakan-themed paintings. Other works Desmond and Boon Pin discuss in this third part include Jack and the Beansprout (2006), The Wedding Game (2009), the recent stagings in Malaysia, and an upcoming new play called Pintu Pagar. Desmond also comments on the selection of Autumn Tomyam for the Esplanade’s The Studios: fifty dramatized readings on 25 April 2015.
The Press preview for Postcards from Rosa (2013) played during the session can be viewed here.