First published on 31 Oct 2012. Updated on 31 Oct 2012.
Glamorous actress and airline stewardess – both professions commonly thought to be top of the Singapore dating tree. This November, local singer/actress/dancer Hui Xuan Seong, 25, is both, thanks to her role in Dream Academy’s adaptation of the classic Sondheim musical Company, a comedy which covers topics relating to love, dating and marriage. For the production, Seong plays April, a somewhat shallow flight attendant (in this case made into a Singapore Airlines-like stewardess), one of three girlfriends of the central character Robert. This follows several turns as other beautiful women this year alone, such as the seemingly unattainable Lady Olivia in Twelfth Night and the pretty politician’s daughter in La Cage. We ask her what lessons she’s learned along the way and whether Company has made her look at the dating scene any differently.
Company is a musical all about love and relationships. Can locals in the dating game learn anything from the show?
Absolutely! Although it was a Broadway musical, Company is completely relevant to Singapore. We’re not unlike New York City in our international feel, the fact that we have so many people and are a city of strangers, many of whom secretly want to connect. This show has characters in so many different stages of love and marriage – or ex-marriage – that you will see people you know or relate to. So come see the show to learn important dating-related life lessons!
Like your character April, you’re pretty widely travelled. Have you met types of men discernibly unique to each country?
I’ve been to New York, London,Switzerland, Prague, Holland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, China, Malaysia, Indonesia... In each country there are several different types of men. But they’re just types of men in general. You’ll find them in every country. And that’s kind of comforting to know.
So how would you advise picking up a girl?
There’s no sure-fire way to get a date – girls are so different! But if you would like to never date: 1) Don’t brush your teeth; 2) Don’t shower; 3) Always, always steer conversations back to you; 4) When she asks you questions to make conversation, give monosyllabic answers; and 5) When she is telling you about how Stephen Sondheim changed her life, use that time to catch up on all the text replying you’ve been putting off. Which of these are lessons you’ve learnt from real life? [Laughs] My real life dating lesson is: On a first date you should not eat squid-ink pasta.
Noted. You’re constantly portrayed as the ideal love interest, whether as a Shakespearean sweetheart or Singapore stewardess. What is your secret, that we might emulate it?
Well, I would like to think it is because I am lovable and beautiful, but after doing this show I suspect it is because I have boobies. People in the cast remark on them all the time, especially because you can see so much of them on the show poster. During the photoshoot, the producer kept asking that April show more boob so I had to reach in my top and dig more out.
So, are you dating anybody right now? And if not, what type of men could give you the perfect relationship?
I’m not seeing anyone, but the romantic in me truly believes that, to quote a song from Company, ‘Someone Is Waiting’: I like guys who are smart, funny and passionate, but that’s everyone and no one. Connection and attraction are such intangible things. Also, I don’t think ‘perfect’ long-term relationships exist – paths diverge, life happens, people change. Though I think people should believe in true love and perfection. It gives us hope, something to aim for.
Can you offer some final words of dating advice?
The Portsdown Road and Dempsey Road areas are really nice for dates. There are cafés and things, but also nature – you can even go lie on the fields. Finally, trying to be someone you think another person would like will make you a very unhappy person. Whatever clicks, will click.
Company is at the Drama Centre Theatre from 1-11 Nov.