Bookends

Our Company artistic director Luke Kwek is directing its first original devised work, Jonathan, David & Me.
Our Company artistic director Luke Kwek is directing its first original devised work, Jonathan, David & Me.PHOTO: QIU HUIXIANG

Who: Luke Kwek, 34, legal counsel at a global restaurant company and artistic director of theatre group Our Company.

Kwek is directing the local theatre company's first original devised work, Jonathan, David & Me. The play, about platonic friendships among Singaporean males, will run from Oct 14 to 18 at the Drama Centre Black Box. Tickets at $30 are available from TicketMash.sg. The play is recommended for ages 16 and above.

What are you reading now?

I am reading Upstairs At The Party by Linda Grant. I am in the midst of directing Jonathan, David & Me, which is about friendships, so I am drawing on books for inspiration.

Upstairs At The Party is one of few recent works in which friendship plays a central part. It is set against the 1970s freedom movement in America and Grant portrays the era evocatively.

  • PHOTO: LITTLE, BROWN BOOK GROUP

  • PHOTO: EERDMANS BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS

  • PHOTO: METHUEN PUBLISHING

What books would you save from a burning house?

I would save The Theatre Of Steven Berkoff, by the English theatre practitioner himself. It is out of print and quite hard to find, so I would dash to save it.

I was introduced in my early teens to this collection of photographs from plays he directed. The pictures exemplify his unique use of mime in theatre and capture the expressive and dramatic potential of the human body on stage. They opened my eyes to the imaginative possibilities of physical theatre. Since then, I have often turned to the images in this book for inspiration.

Modern publishing and digital technology have made most books readily accessible and replaceable, but I would want to save irreplaceable editions of books I grew up with.

One such book would be Dangerous Journey: The Story Of Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan, retold by Oliver Hunkin.

I first read the book when I was in primary school. Even as a child, I was terrified and fascinated by the power of this spiritual allegory. Although written for children, this edition does not shy away from the darker aspects of the 17thcentury text and has held up in repeated reading over the years.

The book impressed upon me the idea that life was going to be a difficult journey and that as long as I stuck to the path, no danger would befall me.

I do not necessarily subscribe to that view today, but some lessons have stuck: the need to keep moving and choosing the right path.

  • Upstairs At The Party ($34.99, 2014, Virago) is available from Books Kinokuniya. Dangerous Journey: The Story Of Pilgrim's Progress ($24.50, 1985, Eerdmans Books for Young Readers) and The Theatre Of Steven Berkoff ($148.50, 2006, Methuen Publishing) are available from Amazon.com
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 04, 2015, with the headline 'Bookends'. Print Edition | Subscribe