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Interview with Nora Samosir, of Pursuant: A Musical by Singapore Lyric Opera

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Pursuant: A Musical is a new Singapore Lyric Opera musical, set in a future Singapore where dreaming is banned. Composed by Chen Zhangyi, written and directed by Jonathan Lim, and starring Nora Samosir, it tells a story about a young boy and his quirky sidekicks who go on a quest to find the reasons, and to restore the nation’s dreams.

Nora Samosir answers some questions about this musical and her life as an actress.

NORA SAMOSIR

You’re both an educator and an actress. Why have you always straddled both areas and not given up one for the other?

I have not always straddled both. I was a full-time actor for a few years. It allowed me opportunities to do film and television, but eventually I realised that I prefer the theatre and teaching drama and theatre afforded synergy in my work life.

If you had to choose, which one – being an educator or actress – appeals to you more?

Oh, that’s a very hard choice! But if I had to choose only one, then it would be the theatre.

Are you more choosy about which roles/plays you sign on for these days, as opposed to when you were first starting out?

That is a natural progression of ageing… I can’t do as much as I could do when I was first starting out; the spirit is still willing but the body just ain’t up for it anymore.

We don’t seem to see you much on stage in the last few years. Any reason for this?

What do you mean? I do about two or three plays each year. Perhaps you have this impression because now I do smaller productions, as I prefer less conventional theatre.

Hollywood, Broadway or West End perhaps?

Neither, there is a lot of work here Singapore. Here, I am part of a fraternity of like-minded theatre artists. I have no interest in losing myself in the maddening crowd of Broadway or the West End.

Could you please describe your role in Pursuant?

I play the role of the Cardboard Box Aunty who is part of the rebel gang called Dream On. I also sing four songs… Intriguing? Come and see, lah!

What drew you to the role and play?

I was intrigued by the writer/director Jonathan Lim’s vision of a dystopian future that becomes affected by a boy who is full of hope. I can’t resist quirky plays!

How have rehearsals been for this play?

As I predicted, “it’s going to be a bumpy ride,” but I do love roller coasters!

What can audiences expect from this play?

The audience can expect many layered songs, familiar yet strange settings, kids, grown-ups and an old man!

What are you hoping they take away from Pursuant?

Many happy memories.

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About Sharmila Melissa Yogalingam

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