LET’S WORK IT OUT! Most days, I hit the gym before I head to the theatre. My role as a Cagelle in La Cage Aux Folles requires plenty of stamina – I’m dancing and running around a lot. My costumes are also quite revealing! So I try to make sure that I’m a bit fitter in the show than I usually am.
WISHFUL SHRINKING I wasn’t required to lose weight, because La Cage is for all shapes and sizes! But I guess I was vain. To ensure my costumes fit better, I’ve been on a no-carb, next-to-no-sugar diet for the past three weeks. Pam Oei introduced me to this diet when I did Hansel & Gretel with her. It takes a while for your body to get used to it, though; I was super miserable in the first week. But, these days, I actually have to remind myself to eat so I have energy to do the show!
CALL OF DUTY We sign in two hours before the show opens, so that everyone is present and accounted for. I usually come in earlier for La Cage, especially, because we have to do our own make-up. On some other shows, I can be ready for the stage in ten minutes. But becoming a drag queen is far more complex!
WHAT’S ON THE TABLE? The ensemble shares one big dressing-room, but I always bring in some things from home for a more personal touch – like my Spider-Man mug! Most of the make-up you see here is actually my own, amassed from other shows I’ve done.
GET A GLUE! The humble glue stick is one of the most important elements in any drag queen’s make-up arsenal! We plaster down our eyebrows with the glue stick so they become a flat surface, like they’re part of our skin. After several layers, I dust my eyebrows with foundation powder so they disappear, and then we paint in bigger, more exaggerated eyebrows to get that full drag effect.
SOUNDING OFF At Radio City, we get mic-ed up for the show, before we head to the stage for a sound check. That’s when we sing or say a few lines from the show, so our sound designer can make sure that our mics are in working order and the company is well-balanced for harmonies.
THE RIGHT NOTES Glen Goei never really lets go of a show! Even after we open, he will pop in with feedback on how we can make the next performance even better.
TIME FOR A CHANGE! Make-up makes a character. And that’s definitely the case for La Cage! Bobbie Ng, our make-up designer, showed us all how to do the basic drag make-up, but we each got to customise our own looks to better fit our characters’ personalities. My character, Letchmi Yentertain-You, is a dominatrix, and Ryan Ang – my fellow Cagelle – offered to bring these studs that I’ve used to accentuate my fierce look!
SHOW TIME! Once the curtain goes up, there’s always a frenzy of activity backstage – actors coming on and off stage, changing costumes and having their make-up retouched. It’s all hands on deck, all the time. I help Tiffany Tallon, our dance captain, get zipped up before getting changed for my next scene.
Bobbie and our amazing hair designer, Ashley Lim, always check to make sure I look great before letting me go back on stage!
BACKSTAGE SHENANIGANS On the rare occasion that we get a spare moment backstage, we do what we do best: STRIKE A POSE! That empty bag of Cheetos I’m holding is A PROP hor, I’m definitely not cheating on my diet!! 😉
TAKE A BOW! Curtain calls have always been very special to me as an actor. It’s a time to be appreciated for your work on stage, as well as a moment for you to thank your audience. We’ve been so fortunate to play to standing ovations since we opened last week – getting to be a part of something that resonates with audiences is one of the main reasons I’m still acting today, 10 years after I got started in the business.