In The Substation’s latest programme lineup, the arts centre has been tackling one of Singapore’s most famous icons of all – the Singapore Girl, as they present a series of talks, performances and parties interrogating, exploring and of course, celebrating the sarong kebaya clad stewardess in all her myriad forms. Of these programmes, local thespian and newly minted “Crazy Rich Asian” Tan Kheng Hua will be presenting theatre variety show She’s A Great Way To Fly.
In this show, Kheng puts the spotlight on artists Yen Then, ScRach MarcS, André Chong, Lim Zeharn, Joie Tan, Jana Ann, Joy Ng, Leonard Choo, Audrey Teong, Shirin Keshvani, Alysha Chandra and Jacqueline Chang, as they present a myriad of presentations ranging from performance lectures to film, plays to even a yoga flow sequence, each questioning the character of the Singapore Girl and her relevance, personality and position today. We spoke to Kheng about what audiences can expect from this “anyhowly put together” show, and why they should come and watch it. Read the interview in full below:
Bakchormeeboy: How did this project originate and who initiated it?
Kheng: Alan Oei of The Substation and I work together often and i adore him and his visions. He told me about the theme he was working on : The Singapore Girl, Or Heritage Deployed, and honestly, he had me at hello.
Bakchormeeboy: Why did you decide to respond to the concept of the Singapore Girl in this way?
Kheng: I knew I wanted to see different responses to the subject matter and theme on different artistic platforms and styles. I also knew immediately who would be suitable for this project. Thankfully they all said yes! These are artistes whose minds I adore and whose company and dialogue I crave! So I out them altogether! And oh my, they certainly delivered.
Bakchormeeboy: How did you curate the performers who would be featured in the show, and why did you choose them?
Kheng: I know who and what I like. And somehow, whenever I accept a project, I immediately know who I want. It was like this for this project and quite honestly, they have proven me right!
Bakchormeeboy: You don so many hats, as an actress, and of course as a creative producer. Tell us about your style of creative producing, and what kind of works you’re most drawn to?
Kheng: I don’t micro-manage. I believe your work is done when you get the right people with the right attitude on the job. I don’t know what type of work I am drawn to but I know what I like immediately.
Bakchormeeboy: What was your own experiences with Singapore Girls growing up?
Kheng: At some point all girls want to be an air stewardess, as was the case for me. But i don’t know whether I specifically wanted to be an SQ girl, and my want was because of a children’s book I read when I was young. I knew loads of people who wanted to be SQ girls though, and many of them ended up becoming one! To me, it always seemed to be a transitional career though, one that would lead to somewhere better.
She’s a Great Way to Fly runs from 26th October to 4th November at The Substation as part of Singapore Girl, or Heritage Deployed. Tickets available from Peatix
Singapore Girl, or Heritage Deployed runs from 6th October to 4th November 2018 at the Substation. For a full list of programmes, visit The Substation website here