As a small Singapore neighbourhood undergoes renovations, a young property agent prowls for prospective sellers among the elderly residents. What ensues is unexpected renewal and rejuvenation, and not just of the buildings and lifts. Performed by The Necessary Stage’s Theatre for Seniors actors.
First published on . Updated on 26 Nov 2012.
This event has finished
In this play by The Necessary Stage (TNS) – about the renovation of an HDB estate full of elderly residents – the actors are mainly between 50 and 70 years old, all alumni of TNS’ Theatre for Seniors theatre training program and relatively new to the Singapore stage. The sole exception: scholarly Joshua Jonathan Lim plays estate agent Caleb Chew, who shows up on the scene to pester the aged residents into selling up. At 27, he’s both a fresh and young face: October marks his second major role in a professional production, with his first being a well-received turn as uncouth Ah Beng in this year’s Army Daze, a revamp of the famous local musical about National Service recruits.
‘It’s so different: then [in Army Daze], everybody at least passed for teenage,’ says Lim. ‘In October, everyone’s my parents’ age…or older!’ You might think that the aunties and uncles would inundate Lim with advice on acting, getting married or a ‘real job’. But these nonprofessionals are truly professional, he reveals: ‘I never see them direct each other. And they’re very open to director’s feedback: unlike actors with egos, they’re not defensive, they write down notes.’ And notably, they don’t probe into Lim’s personal life: ‘It’s actually cast members from “younger” shows who are much more gossipy, and ask about my girlfriend,’ laughs Lim.
He continues more seriously, ‘I’ve learnt there’s no excuse not to treat someone with respect. They don’t boss me around just because I’m young, and I respect them not just because they’re seniors – some are really actors to look out for.’ ‘Also, they share a sort of a kampong (village) spirit that my generation doesn’t know,’ he says, unconsciously echoing lessons young Caleb learns in October. ‘Everybody cooks and bring food to rehearsal. One actress owns a restaurant. These are the best meal breaks I’ve ever had!’ Jo Tan