Moon-Talks vol.3

On Today’s Moon-Talk, we get to the lovely ladies of the younger generation, coming from very different worlds is city-girl Choo Leng played by Cheryl Tan and fiery revolutionary Lian, played by Lynn Chia.

Pictured above: Choo Leng/Cheryl Tan (left) and Lian/Lynn Chia (right)

What is the brighter moon for you?

Choo Leng/Cheryl Tan: If ‘brighter’ necessitates a comparison then it’s the realisation that life is not at all simple and fine and dandy, like it seemed when Choo Leng was living in the city. It’s the realisation that there’s a whole larger world of pain out there beyond the little bubble of comfort that the city people have been confined to – whether they choose this lifestyle or not.

Lian/Lynn Chia: The tides will be bigger when it is a full moon, if we fish on such days there will be more fishes.

What can we hope to learn from you/your character?

Choo Leng/Cheryl Tan: I’d like to think she’ll help us remember the whole Copernicus story haha. That the world does not revolve around you or what you think you know. Choo Leng starts out thinking she’s got a fabulous grasp of the world and how it works until she meets Ah Seng and realises how terribly incompetent she is at understanding things that go on in the farm.

She then also realises how limited her experiences have been because living in the comfort of the city does not grant you exposure to the toil that living on a farm demands. Still, she thinks that learning more about it will only bring nothing but extreme joy.

But gradually she begins to realise that the truth hurts, and she learns this lesson fully immersed in a physical environment and amidst the emotional turmoil the farm family has to deal with in the time of war, and finds herself caught in this pain too because at the end of the day it’s very much her own – it concerns people and issues she comes to care about and hold dear.

And most importantly, this is also where we learn that people can overcome differences in socio-economic background and upbringing and that at the end of the day question – do these things really matter when larger issues are at hand, issues that a country or community of people must face together? Choo Leng believes that there won’t be time at all to be concerned about differences because sometimes there are more urgent matters at hand that demand unity.

Lian/Lynn Chia: Firstly, not to stereotype the name.

Secondly, I hope that everyone will be able to see the reasons behind the decisions she made. I think as long as you can see the reason behind her loving who she loves, you will start to see the cause of all her actions.

Lastly, back then Lian suffers from sexism and ostracization for being in the poorer class. I hope that we today will move on from those ideals.

Could you pick one line of dialogue from Goh Poh Seng’s original script to sum up your character? Or, what is your favourite line in the play? Why?

Choo Leng/Cheryl Tan: “I disappoint.” Because she does, and she acknowledges that she does. For all the wealth she’s accustomed to living with in the city compared to the farmers, I think that to verbalise and realise that sometimes city people are poorer than farmers where matters of the spirit are concerned is important. Wealth is a sad measure of a person.

The city people are not challenged enough to be exposed to and understand the spectrum of pain that the farmers must deal with, and when calamity hits, you realise that people can be poor in very different ways.

Lian/Lynn Chia:  “How I wish I am not a woman!”

I have said lines like this when I was younger, I would say “I wish I am a boy, boys can do so much more things.” I thought they were stronger and cooler until I realize to see people for who they are as in individual!
But that’s me, not Lian, when Lian says this line it is because she knew that if she was a man she opinions will finally be taken into account

What do you love and hate about your character? Also, what is the biggest challenge of your role?

Choo Leng/Cheryl Tan: I love that she’s so brutally honest about what she’s feeling. It’s actually very fun to play that because she says whatever is on her mind and loses her shit whenever she feels like it. You can only do that onstage haha so as an actor it feels quite liberating.

The biggest challenge is not judging her precisely for being brutally honest, because whatever she does is something really weird in the real world, I mean who goes around saying “I want to learn, teach me everything wow everything is beautifullllll”? Nobody. NOBODY. It’s so cringe-y, but Choo Leng does have an earnestness and the humility to change when the time comes, and the responsibility she thrusts upon herself at the end of the play and sacrifice she makes also redeems her in some way.

Lian/Lynn Chia: Well other than the fact that this is historical. The research which leads to knowing how Singaporeans suffered back then during this era was heartbreaking.
I personally love Lian’s resilience and the cause of her bitterness, the only thing I hate is how she does not realize how much she can actually invest in herself more than others.

What does this play mean to you?

Choo Leng/Cheryl Tan: This play is a huge blessing to me primarily because of its process. Working with people in the industry who are the right balance of passionate and playful to craft this re-staging – complete with all the struggles, the jokes, coffee runs, and the moments in between – has reminded me time and again why my first love will always be Theatre.

Lian/Lynn Chia: A reminder of terror and a good reflection of how much we have changed. What should matter in times of war isn’t dividing ourselves but to unite and defend our land.

Now for the most important question: What is your character’s ideal breakfast?

Lian/Lynn Chia: Fish porridge, what is even more ideal will be a bottle of orange soda

Choo Leng/Cheryl Tan:  A book.

Wow, sounds….nutritious. (Choo Leng might have an eating disorder, we’re looking into it.)

 

Image result for eating book
Image courtesy of The Incredible Book Eating Boy

-Ivan

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