Nat Koh takes Centre Stage!
What’s it like to step out from the wings and into the limelight? Nat Koh chats with us about making the transition from stage manager to star in young & W!LD’s The Bald Soprano!
How were you first bitten by the theatre bug?
From a young age, I’ve always had a passion for entertaining people by creating art. As a child, I created my own one-woman shows and made everyone in the family sit in the living room every other evening to watch me perform! Throughout primary school, secondary school and, finally, my time in LASALLE College of the Arts, I always volunteered and signed up for film/theatre-related events and CCAs. It was natural for me to decide, after graduating, that I wanted to seriously pursue theatre as a career.
Apart from performing in young & W!LD, how have you been involved in theatre over the years?
I love attending local productions as an audience member. I’ve also been a part of backstage crews, and have once in a while stage-managed for shows, events and plays. I was one of the stage managers for the M1 CONTACT Contemporary Dance Festival two years back, and that was a really memorable experience – I met a great number of talented groups and individuals from different parts of the world, and got the opportunity to help them create art while enjoying their work at the same time!
Not all actors have worked backstage, on the production side of things. What have those experiences taught you as a performer?
To always be a responsible team player. Creating a piece of theatre is truly a team effort – often, people will be depending on me to deliver my line or call a cue before they can get on with doing what they’re supposed to do. Everyone works hard, together, and we reap the rewards as a team. No one’s job should ever be under-valued.
Why young & W!LD?
I was quite hungry to perform/create work on stage after many years of being the one behind the scenes, dressed all in theatre blacks! After speaking to a few members of the previous young & W!LD batch, I thought that it would be a great platform for me to try developing myself as an artiste. I’m glad to say auditioning for it has been one of the best decisions I’ve made. The people I’ve met in young & W!LD and the programme itself have really built my confidence and changed the way I thought of my own capabilities as a performer.
Nat doesn’t act her age – she certainly didn’t in Crossings!
You’ve been working with the directors and participants in young & W!LD for many months, staging shows like When S#!T Hits The Fam and Crossings. What has the entire process been like? What have you learnt about your craft and yourself as an artist?
Our past two showcases have definitely pushed me beyond my comfort zone. We were creating stories and characters from scratch, which meant that I had to make sense of a script as a writer, while also crafting relatable/believable characters as a performer. It was quite an exhilarating challenge.
Overall, the process has been arduous but rewarding. I’ve learnt that it can take a lot of time to develop a budding idea. I’m sure many of us have tried things we didn’t think we’d ever attempt – we even choreographed our own Bollywood number for Crossings! There’s a good mix of dynamics within our ensemble, and I’ve found myself learning a bit from everyone’s style. Most importantly, I’ve learnt that a great performance really involves a lot of playing on stage!
You’re currently working on young & W!LD’s final showcase, The Bald Soprano. What can you tell us about the show?
It’s an ironic look at human behaviour through the interactions among six characters. I was never really familiar with absurdism as a genre, but after a bit of workshopping, I’m enjoying the process of making this show happen. And trust me – our director and ensemble have plenty of tricks up our sleeves to bring this very interesting play to life. Be prepared to be entertained, tickled and weirded out by our interpretation. Come watch us because the ensemble’s doing what we do best – being strange, and entertaining you while we’re at it!
Catch Nat and young & W!LD in Eugene Ionesco’s The Bald Soprano, which runs from 7 to 11 June 2017 at the Drama Centre Black Box! Tickets available at SISTIC!
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