A Day In The Life: Ivan Heng

An actor’s job is to make acting, singing and dancing – at the same time! – look easy. Ivan Heng shows us what that takes as he gets ready to dazzle audiences in La Cage Aux Folles.

7.30 a.m. Feeling Om I always try to start the day in the right frame of mind. A moment spent meditating stills my mind and centres me before the craziness of the day begins.

8 a.m. Makan Sutra I make up a recipe for cabbage soup, using a lot of different vegetables and spicing it up with chillies, turmeric and oregano – it’s quite yummy, and this vat of cabbage soup will last me for three days. I love to eat but need to shed the six kilos I put on over Chinese New Year!

9 a.m. Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff La Cage is a marathon, and each scene is a sprint – often in high heels! I hit the gym to stretch and build strength and stamina. I’ve taken to singing on the elliptical machine to prepare for my big songs.

10.30 a.m. Sing, Sing A Song! I’m not a trained singer, so it’s quite terrifying for me to carry a musical like La Cage. Since January, I’ve been working with my vocal coach, John Lee, who’s helped me with my technique. I’m beginning to feel more free and better able to enjoy the music – to play with it and tell a story through song. Here I am in vocal rehearsals with our amazing music director, Elaine Chan!

1.30 p.m. Best Foot Forward Walking in heels is the most unnatural thing any human being can do, but Zaza – my character – wears them. And thus, so must I! I check in with my podiatrist during my lunch break, bringing my heels along for good measure. She’s plastered KT tape to my foot to help ease the pain of bunions.

2.30 pm Let’s Face The Music And Dance! Time for dance rehearsal with the Cagelles! I trained to be a dancer before university and it’s been wonderful for me to revisit this aspect of performing. Lisa Keegan, our choreographer, has really pushed the boundaries in terms of telling stories through her work. I don’t think we’ve really seen the likes of it in Singapore theatre!

4 p.m. Setting The Scene After dance rehearsals, it’s time for scene work! Sean Ghazi is a very sensitive and intelligent actor, and we play an ‘old unmarried couple’, who have been through lots of ups and downs over the course of their 25-year relationship. Under director Glen Goei’s watchful eye, it’s been thrilling to discover the chemistry and dynamic between our characters.

6.15 p.m. Image Conscious The W!LD RICE marketing team grabs me for 15 minutes after rehearsals end to finalise the publicity images for Boeing Boeing, our next production. We have a season planned well into 2019. While the work is relentless, it’s also fun and rewarding.

8 p.m. A Little Night Music After a full day of making theatre, we head over to the Esplanade to support Elaine in her first solo concert. Elaine’s composed and orchestrated so much beautiful music for W!LD RICE and Singapore theatre – it’s a genuine joy and privilege to be part of her captive audience, celebrating her moment in the spotlight as a musician and composer. Bravo, Elaine!

11.30 p.m. Calling It A Day! My script is the last thing I read at night – I’ve found that helps the words to stay with me in the days to come.

At the same time, I unwind from the hectic day I’ve had with a good whiskey! (And some snacks too, obviously… #cheatday)

I go to bed at about 1am, grateful for a good day.

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