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Interview: Edward Choy from Toy Factory’s Singapore ‘Romeo and Juliet’

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Toy Factory starts the new year off with the enchanting Romeo and Juliet. So we spoke to one of the actors, Edward Choy, about this romantic tale of forbidden love and why audiences should watch this production.

You’ve done children’s/family theatre as well as more adult fare. Which one do you enjoy more and which one is easier?

I was just talking to Nelson (who plays Lord Montague) about this as we were queuing up at Mac’s this morning! It’s a lot more physically demanding to do Children’s Theatre, generally speaking. But for Shakespeare you do have to put in a lot more work to make sure that the intention behind what you’re speaking is very clear and well communicated, because the words often mean nothing to the audience. I enjoy being on stage, but neither is easy, I’ll tell you that!

Could you please explain the role you’re playing this time in Romeo and Juliet?

I’m playing Paris, who’s a nobleman courting Juliet. Let’s just say he really gets the short end of the stick in this play.

What drew you to this role and/or play?

I’ve always loved Shakespeare, and the opportunity to be part of a production like this, with the team involved in it, was something I jumped at right away. Besides, my wife is playing Juliet’s Nurse, and she has all the lines talking about how handsome and wonderful Paris is. Bliss!

How is Toy Factory’s version different from or similar to Shakespeare’s famous text?

Probably the biggest difference is that our Musical Director, Elaine Chan (she was the composer for the NDP song last year I believe), has adapted some of the most famous speeches to song, which means our audiences will be hearing portions of one of the Bard’s most iconic texts being put to original music specially written for the play. Objectively, it’s a big risk, but it’s quite exciting that they’re willing to have a go at it. Working with Toy Factory is really fun because they’re so willing to do things few other theatre companies here would even consider.

What can audiences expect from this production?

They can expect exciting fight choreography, stirring music, and Benjamin August Kheng as Romeo. Cue the screaming teenage girls!

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About Sharmila Melissa Yogalingam

Ex-professor, Ex-phd student, current freelance critic, writer and filmmaker.