Mae The Force Be With You

Get to know Mae Elliessa – aspiring actor, psychology student and part-time Disney princess – before she makes her Singapore debut in La Cage Aux Folles in April!

I grew up watching Disney. When I was two years old, my mum and her friend brought me to my very first movie – Pocahontas. They were apprehensive about whether I would be able to sit still throughout the movie, but I did! According to my mum, I was immersed in the experience and didn’t fidget one bit! We learn to cope with reality and things not going our way as we get older, but I think growing up with Disney means I still always look for happy endings: I always dream and I always hope!

My friends would describe me as a Disney princess, because I sleep all day and talk to animals. No, not really! I can appear pretty serious when I first meet someone, but I’m also prone to bursting into princess mode – gliding across the room and singing in a feather-light voice. That’s what I think I’m doing, at least!

A lot of people don’t know that I always carry around a notepad and a pen. I love making lists and taking down notes. And it’s useful when I remember something I’ve been forgetting, or there’s a line in a movie that I’d love to quote in future. I try to not let precious little moments slip away, so I jot them down for future reference!

My bucket list includes so many things I want to do! I want to travel all over the world – see the different faces of this planet and its inhabitants. I’d like to experience the creative process and challenges of writing and publishing a book. Oh, and I’m quite excited to say that I get to check a big concert off my bucket list pretty soon – Coldplay, here I come! Next up: staging my own concert!! (Hah!)

Mae with her La Cage director, Glen Goei

The first time I set foot on stage, I wasn’t nervous at all. We had been rehearsing for months, so I had built quite a rapport with the team. When it was time to perform in front of an audience, I felt so at home with my friends right by my side that it felt like playtime, only with harsher lights.

Performing live gives me… such a rush. (Get the movie reference, anyone? Anyone?) When I’m performing, I feel like I can surrender myself completely to the experience. It’s just something I feel so at ease doing – even when I’m going through hard times or when I feel like giving up – because it’s something I really want to do.

Theatre is home. I feel that the whole process of doing a show allows you to exercise – and not just in the sense of doing rigorous dance routines! You put yourself through the experience of emoting as a character, requiring you to analyse your own emotions, but you get to do all of that in a safe space. To me, theatre is #life.

One of my favourite shows of all time is Jason Robert Brown’s The Last Five Years. I watched it for the first time in Singapore, having bought a ticket with no prior knowledge about the show. I was lost for the first few songs but, slowly, every revelation, every message, started making more and more sense to me. There are so many elements that can make a show great, but I especially like shows with interesting ‘architecture’ – ones that are structured in a unique way, like The Last Five Years or Christopher Nolan’s Memento.

I can’t wait to perform in La Cage Aux Folles because it’s a show that reaches out to the heart – a comedy that will leave you feeling warm, loving and loved. This will also be the second time Aaron Khaled (who plays Jonathan) and I will be in a show together! Fun fact: the two stagings of La Cage by W!LD RICE mark our respective Singapore debuts. Aaron was in the 2012 staging (the same year we did our first show together!) and now, five years later, here I am! What a wonderful coincidence!

One thing I love about Singapore is the public transport system. Really! And I love checking out the arts scene here whenever I get the chance. I can’t wait to explore the entire country over the next couple of months that I’ll be here! Singapore, show me what’chu got!

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