Timeout…what’s my next role? An aging Thai transgender social escort, I believe…

Timeout.  It’s been a highly stressful week at work and rehearsals, so time out.  With barely two weeks to our opening night on 21 Aug 10 at The Club @ LA MAMA (I’m not even inserting links here!), I’ve been fretting about ticket sales, juggling business with hobby, escalating production costs – everything that a struggling artist like me (hey, I can’t even claim to be young!!!) has to manage without rich patrons.  Welcome to the real world of theatre, says our director Richard Chua who’s one of the most underrated and unappreciated directors in Singapore simply because he doesn’t have a pretty face and a rich father/boyfriend/whatever.  Let’s face it, theatre in Singapore is the playground of the rich and well connected – unless you have a pretty face. 

Over the past month or more, I’ve been beating myself up over the rationale for bringing the show to New York.  I mean, do New Yorkers really care in a time of recession and dwindling arts funding? Well, even in normal circumstances the only time a transgender woman creates news is when she creates a scandal, like fooling Alpha males on a silly reality show.  Then this Singapore trans lady – yours truly – comes along and plays, not just herself, but a Thai “ladyboy” and a Malay transgender sex worker too, and expects the whole of New York to sit up and watch her performance!!!  Out of 197 performances at this year’s FringeNYC.  And out of thousands of established performances in the whole of New York.  It’s madness!  Who cares???

In the cold light of reality, well, yes, I could have pursued a Masters in Sexual Health Counselling with the money I’ve invested.  But I know that come 2011, I’ll be itching to do something foolhardy again…like playing an aging Thai transgender social escort in a made-in-Singapore Thai movie.  I want to be the “ladyboy” who appears to have struck gold when a farang chooses her as his muse, but who subsequently gets beaten to near-death when her farang abandons her.  And as she lays on her death bed, she tells her protegee – an impressionable trangender youth who has decided to abandon her studies for the glamour of Bangkok’s glitzy cabaret shows – to ditch the fancy footwork and feather boas, and to concentrate on being a chemistry genius instead. 

In her dying moments, she says, “Don’t be like me.  You can always lip synch and high kick to your heart’s content when you become a full professor.  Heck – you can even sponsor your own cabaret.  Right now, you should just focus on your studies.  Remember, you will always be a woman whether you look like it now or not.”

And she dies after imparting these words of wisdom.  And her protegee weeps as she remembers her mentor’s glamorous days as the leading showgirl of Simon Cabaret.

Ah Ah Kua Show, you will live on!


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