Video: Corrie Tan in the Living Room with Alfian Sa’at

Corrie Tan in the Living Room with Alfian Sa’at was presented on 17 August 2016 in front of a live audience.

Arts writer and former Straits Times theatre critic Corrie Tan sits down in our Living Room with Singaporean playwright Alfian Sa’at to chat about his life and work.

You can watch the 75-minute Living Room session in 3 parts:

Part 1: Corrie gets Alfian to talk about his childhood as a “Mendaki kid”, singled out for his strong academic performance. The pair then move on to Alfian’s mentorship under The Necessary Stage’s Resident Playwright Haresh Sharma, and how it actually spurred him to move away from English play-writing towards poetry, short stories and Malay plays, all in a bid to differentiate himself from his prolific mentor. Corrie also brings up Alfian’s shortlived career as a theatre reviewer for the Straits Times.
[*Due to technical difficulties, audio quality temporarily drops from 02:32 to 05:34.]

Part 2: Alfian and Corrie talk about censorship in the arts; telling alternative histories; verbatim theatre; developing memorable characters; intertextuality; and using social media as a public platform for discourse. Plays mentioned include “sex.violence.blood.gore” (1999), “Asian Boys Vol. 1: Dreamplay” (2000), “Asian Boys Vol. 3: Happy Endings”, “Cooling-Off Day” (2011), “To Cook a Pot of Curry” (2013), “Hotel” (2015), and “GRC” (2015).

Part 3: Alfian fields questions from the audience.


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The Living Room is a programme by Centre 42 that welcomes chat and conversation. Through focused but casual dialogues and face-to-face exchanges, this programme encourages participants to re-examine trends, happenings, people (on & off-stage) and phenomena in Singapore theatre.

Find out more about the Living Room programme here.