Tan Kheng Hua, Singapore's veteran actress, now performing in Wild Rice's La Cage Aux Folles, takes some time off to answer questions about acting in Singapore, and how she handles the delicate matter of aging.
You must be the “Sarah Jessica Parker” of Singapore’s acting scene in terms of career longevity! In an industry where even young people get out after a few years of struggling to find enough acting/singing jobs, what do you think has made you a success story?
Sarah Jessica Parker? Hmmm, I think I’d rather be the Annette Bening of the local acting industry. She’s well respected for her work, and she doesn’t come out to work that often; however, when she does, she’s on good projects because of her track record and she still manages to remind people she’s able to contribute positively to the scene. I’d like that for myself.
As for my “success” story, maybe it’s because I don’t really think of my story as a “success”. It’s just an ongoing story, both in my professional and my personal life. I never really feel I’ve made it. I constantly want to do more!
Right now, where you’re at professionally, do you still have to worry about your next acting job? Is it still a struggle? Or are you booked up to the year 2035?
Thankfully, I don’t really have to think about what’s my next job. I’ve come to a point where there’s always something there for me if I want it, so no, it’s not a struggle. What is a struggle is to get the sort of projects you want. So nowadays, if I really really want something, I won’t wait for someone to give it to me. I’ll just get up and try to initiate that dream project myself!
You seem to have done it all – musicals, comedy, drama, television, theatre, movies. Tell us, what is your ONE true love actually? What is the ONE medium/genre/form you can see yourself doing every day, forever and ever?
My ONE true love is my daughter. And as for the medium/genre/form I see myself doing, well, can I be greedy and say I want as many good roles in ALL genres as possible?
You’re married and a mother to a teenager in real life. Yet producers seem to still cast you as unmarried younger characters such as Anna in Closer (which you took over from the late Emma Yong). Do you prefer playing characters closer to your age, or a younger character?