Young Artist Award recipient Peter Sau resurrects various vastly different characters he has performed in the past to create a one-man show that somehow touches on money, mosquitoes, graves and pills
First published on . Updated on 12 Aug 2012.
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While most actors wait for directors’ calls, local actor Peter Sau turns the tables. ‘I cast a team of directors for my one-man show Tell Me When to Laugh and When to Cry. Maybe it’s a new way of theatre-making,’ laughs the loveable, candid recipient of the 2011 Young Artist Award.
Not that 36-year-old Sau waits much for work. The chameleonic journeyman has played a huge variety of characters, and Tell Me… is his personal showcase of favourites. Hence his team of all-star directors: each one has previously directed Sau as a different character, and now direct what these characters have become via Sau’s self-penned monologues in his new show.
There’s Mosquito Man (first directed by Natalie Hennedige for Nothing in 2007), whose wife is now deceased, and is now transferring his affections to the now sexually awakened housewife from House of Sins (first staged by director Li Xie for the Drama Box company in 2008). Both are linked to pro-opposition taxi driver Branson Sau (from last year’s Cooling Off Day, directed by Ivan Heng), who’s just lost his battle against the exhumation of his grandfather’s grave in Bukit Brown Cemetery, and HIV-positive patient Daniel (from 2006’s A Language of Our Own, directed by Casey Lim), who’s now near death.
A newly invented character is also introduced: Gaga Peterina, a singing, dancing Lady Gaga impersonator Sau calls his ‘fantasy character’, directed by Gani Karim. ‘Peterina’s a big statement maker, but the statement’s not her own,’ says Sau. ‘She stands for artists who’ve tried everything but are still searching for their own voice.’ There’s also a sixth, invisible character. ‘[The above characters] all have conversations with Peter Sau, whether as an unseen taxi passenger or as an interviewer,’ Sau says. ‘They reveal his political standpoint – it’s literally talking to myself. I’m trying to look back at what I’ve done and unite all these voices in my head to say what Peter still feels, still believes.’ Jo Tan