What goes bump in the night? Ghosts... but also actors! The four Ghosts of A $ingapore Carol share a few ghost stories from Singapore’s many theatre venues – and let us in on a few of their bump-in secrets!
(L-R) Siti Khalijah Zainal, Audrey Luo, Candice de Rozario, Dwayne Lau
Tell us about the characters you play in A $ingapore Carol.
Dwayne Lau: I play Ali Inwan, S K Loo’s former business partner. When he was alive, Ali was mean, heartless and unscrupulous... and now he’s paying for it! He comes back to warn his dear friend to change his ways before it’s too late.
Siti Khalijah Zainal: I’m the Hantu of Christmas Past, who appears in the form of a tree – a tree with lines and a song and some comedy moments! I love that I’m not a typical ghost. It’s really creative of Jonathan Lim, our playwright, to have an object from S K Loo’s past come back and haunt him.
Audrey Luo: I’m the Ghost of Christmas Present, and what’s special about this version is that it’s very high-tech – like the world we live in now. I never knew exactly where that door was myself, but the thought of it still creeped me out!
Candice de Rozario: I don’t want to give too much away about the Ghost of Christmas Yet-To-Be. I would say that, while she’s very mysterious, this entity actually has a very strong opinion about the way things should be. And that’s actually why she’s called ‘Ghost of Christmas Yet-To-Be’, and not ‘Christmas Future’ – because the future can still be changed.
Audrey, Candice, Siti and Dwayne share a scene in A $ingapore Carol!
If you had the powers of your characters, what would you do?
Dwayne: Ali Inwan made a lot of money in life. So, if money is no object, I would go on a holiday with my family and friends to New York – where we would stay in a hotel, shop and watch all the shows on Broadway! I’d be able to pay for the best doctors to settle my dad’s dialysis so he can travel with us. What a dream that would be!
Siti: If I could travel back to my past, I would go back to this one perfect day I had when I was in Primary One. It was Family Day at my father’s company, and my entire family went to Big Splash, which is no longer around. It was my first time there, and I had so much fun with my sisters. It was one of those really special days that I know I will never have again.
Audrey: I think I’d want to use my ghostly powers to catch up with my dear friend, who passed on seven years ago. I still miss her very much. I’d love to be able to talk to her again – I hope she’s in a good place now.
Candice: I’m a bit of a space geek, and am very interested in what future technology may hold for us. So I’d like to go into the future, at a point in time when commercial space flight is affordable for the average person – or when we colonise Mars!
What gives you the creeps?
Dwayne: Not so much the supernatural, but my blood curdles at the very sight of lizards. And also at the relentless clicking sounds they make in the dark!!
Siti: I’m quite a scaredy cat! I’m quite easily shaken or shocked – even by normal, everyday things like loud sounds... a balloon bursting, for example.
Audrey: I have very bad trypophobia – which is a fear of patterns or micro-designs of things that are very close together. Like lotus seeds. All I have to do is think about them and I start scratching my skin and feeling uncomfortable!
Candice: I actually do get very creeped out by the idea of ghosts. I can watch horror movies like Alien, and zombies are fine, because they’re material. But I really can’t take the ones that are more psychological.
Siti getting ready for the show in the dressing room she shares with Audrey!
Famously (or infamously), there are lots of ghost stories related to the theatre. Do you know of any in Singapore?
Dwayne: Earlier this year, I directed a spooky tour of the Esplanade – it brought the audience into the belly of the theatre, while telling them stories about the spirits that people have supposedly encountered there. Apparently, there’s a couple named George and Mary who inhabit the concert hall and theatre. And there’s a little boy who runs about in the concert hall. Don’t forget to say hi when you watch a show next!
Siti: There are a lot of ghost stories to do with Victoria Theatre, actually – especially before it was renovated. I’ve heard many stories about the infamous spiral staircase that used to be backstage. You would apparently see or sense some things while you were going up or down the stairs.
Audrey: There was a room in the old Victoria Theatre that was always out of bounds too. They actually pasted the 福 (Chinese for ‘fortune’) sign on the door. I never knew exactly where that door was myself, but it still creeped me out!
Candice: Jonathan is a real supernatural buff. He told me a story that happened in the old Victoria Theatre. All the actors were hanging out in the dressing room before a really big show. Suddenly, one of them froze and told everyone else to get up slowly and step out of the room. Because there was apparently someone in the mirror who didn’t want them to be there!
These comfy bedroom slippers belong to (clockwise from left) Candice, Fauzie Laily and Siti!
To ‘bump in’ means to move into the theatre to get it ready for show-time. What must you always bring with you when bumping in for a new show?
Dwayne: My phone! In this day and age, your phone is your best form of entertainment. And it's even better when you have a good group of co-actors who can entertain one another. There’s a lot of photo-taking backstage!
Siti: My comfy bedroom slippers! They remind me of home. Also, it’s so much more comfortable, especially if you’re doing productions in high heels or you have to go up and down stairs a lot.
Candice: I pretty much move in! I’ve got my pillow, my sleeping bag, my bedroom slippers, my humidifier – everything!
Audrey: I always bring my Shrek ears with me! I first got them as a cast present in 2007, when I was part of the pioneer batch of young & W!LD. I make it a point to put on these ears backstage in every show I do. Partly because they always make people smile, which makes me happy. But also because the ears remind me of my roots – where I trained, and how we worked together as an ensemble for 18 months. They remind me to stay humble and work hard!