I’d Like To Know: Shane Mardjuki

Shane Mardjuki can do it all: from intense drama in The Pillowman to mile-high comedy in Boeing Boeing. He chats with us about Kumar, a booger-related mystery from his childhood, and spotting elusive wildlife in Singapore.

Do you have a ritual as a performer?

I have experimented with an array of pre-show warm-ups. This is the only one I do consistently for every show: jump up and down in the wings, while flopping my arms about like jelly right before I go on. It does nothing for me, but helps fool me into thinking I have some kind of control.

What keeps you up at night?

My three-year-old. Seriously, it’s almost two a.m. I am writing this with her in my arms since she fell asleep there and I dare not move lest I wake her.

You’re throwing a dinner party for five guests – dead or alive, real or fictional. Whom would you invite?

1. The kid from my primary school bus who would wipe his boogers on my leg EVERY DAY. Because I would like to ask him, “Why????! Why did you wipe boogers on my leg?” And also because I want to see what has become of a boy who was obsessed with wiping boogers on the leg of someone he didn’t even know.

2. Adam Sandler, ’cause I am a big fan of Brooklyn Nine Nine and I wanna high-five him.

3. Wait… Brooklyn Nine Nine is Andy Samberg. I got confused by the names. I meant Andy Samberg, but now I guess I have to invite Adam Sandler too. It would be rude to rescind my invitation. But Adam Sandler will probably be stuck talking to the booger kid a lot of the time while I fawn over Andy Samberg.

4. Robert Baden-Powell. The guy that invented ‘Scouting’. ’Cause I wasted every Saturday of my life as a Boy Scout for four years in secondary school. I would like to look at him disapprovingly once in a while throughout dinner and shake my head. He will be seated beside Booger Boy.

5. Your mom.

Portrait of Shane Mardjuki as a couch potato, photobombed by Sangeetha Dorai 😂😂

What’s one of your pet peeves?

When the Internet on my phone mysteriously toggles between wi-fi and 4G for no apparent reason. Just thinking about it makes me wanna slap someone.

If you were entertaining a visitor from overseas, what’s the one place in Singapore you’d take them to?

I would take them to watch Kumar perform. There is little else that feels so uniquely Singaporean and so universal, all at the same time.

What’s one thing you’ve done in the past year that you’ve never done before?

I saw a colugo. Two, in fact. In the space of two weeks. Colugos are these weird-looking lemur things that are native to Singapore. They can jump/soar between trees. Maybe you have seen one too, but thought it was some kind of large bat/flying squirrel/batman. Hard to find ’cause they camouflage really well and they usually come out when it’s dark. I always look out for them in the jungles but fail to see them. Then, two soar above me on two separate occasions while I am not even trying to find them. Magic!

Tell us about the theatrical experience that changed your life.

Doing a school show back in the day with Act 3 Theatrics. One day, there were zero teachers in the hall. ZERO. I kid you not. They had some meeting and booked us and some other performances as some form of cheap babysitting. It was Lord of the Flies. Not on stage. In the school auditorium. Kids were going crazy. Before we went on, they were already running around, screaming. We soldiered on and did the show. Even though maybe only two kids were paying attention. I learnt many a lesson that day. Here is but one of the many lessons learnt: Children are insane.

If you could import something that you can’t get in Singapore, what would it be?

Caffeinated peanut butter. Doesn’t that sound awesome? Instead of getting coffee breath, peanut breath. Mmmmmmm…

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