Photos: Camelia Ting and Goh Li Xin
Once the media tour of The LKY Musical stage set at the MasterCard Theatres at Marina Bay Sands ended yesterday, former MediaCorp actress and host Sharon Au immediately approached veteran actor Adrian Pang to wipe his sweat and clung onto his arm for the entire press conference, as if she was living out the role of Mrs Lee Kuan Yew (Mdm Kwa Geok Choo) and tending to her husband in the upcoming musical.
Though it’s been 10 years since Adrian and Sharon last collaborated (they co-starred in Jack Neo’s romantic comedy I Do I Do in 2005), the pair have not lost their chemistry, in fact, they seemed to have grown closer while working on the musical.
During the interview with Toggle, 49-year-old Adrian, who plays Singapore’s founding Prime Minister Mr Lee Kuan Yew, let on that Sharon makes him honey drinks every day during rehearsals. He added, “My (real) wife Tracie makes ginger tea for me every day. I bring it to work, but [Sharon] forces me [to drink] honey everyday.”
When asked if this is part of her method acting, Sharon immediately shook her head and said, “It’s not! I genuinely feel that he needs it to keep his voice in good condition.”
“He has a lot of lines and songs to sing [in the musical]. When he stops, [in] not more than three seconds, I’m already there, ready to feed him honey,” the 39-year-old chuckled.
Challenges of playing Mr and Mrs Lee
As the late Mrs Lee had always kept a low profile, Sharon revealed that she only had one video clip as reference to capture Mrs Lee’s mannerisms.
She explained, “I kept watching the video clip, which was the tribute clip paid to Mdm Kwa Geok Choo that was shown on the day of her funeral.” Describing Mrs Lee as a person who’s not very dramatic and exaggerated, Sharon added that she kept telling herself to act the opposite of herself, who has a funny disposition.
As for Adrian, he revealed that he did not face any massive challenges playing the role of Mr Lee as he has always been able to separate his work from his personal life. However, there was one role in which that he didn’t quite succeed.
“My kids told me that I was quite different at home during the time I played a serial killer [in the play Frozen] last year. I wasn’t even conscious of that,” adding that his family noticed that his mood “was a bit intense”.
However, one area Adrian needed to work on was his speaking tone to bring Mr Lee to life. The actor explained, “Mr Lee was a Peranakan, he had a very particular speech pattern, which was quite different from mine. Even though he had studied in the UK for a few years, he still retained that [even though he was] very well-spoken, but there were certain consonants that he retained throughout his speeches.”
As Mr Lee was often seen in official capacities, where he had his speeches and interviews presented in a stern tone , Adrian revealed, “I am also trying to imagine how he was like in his private moments, how he spoke to Mrs Lee, the way they talked to each other.”
The LKY Musical
Dates: Jul 21 (Tue) to Aug 16 (Sun)
Tue-Fri: 7.30 pm
Sat: 3 pm & 7.30pm
Sun: 1.30pm & 6pm
Sun (9 Aug): 1.30pm
Venue: Sands Theatre, MasterCard Theatres at Marina Bay Sands
For ticketing details, please visit SISTIC.
Sharon Au feels “really lucky” to play Mrs Lee Kuan Yew