Chinglish Comes To Singapore

Driving Oon Shu An to take Mandarin tuition

This week, the David Henry Hwang play Chinglish opens. Apart from being Pangdemonium Productions’ first bilingual play, it’s also lead femme fatale Oon Shu An’s. Can her Mandarin cut it? We caught up with the thespian to find out.

So, how’s your Mandarin?  

“It’s improving! I’ve gotten myself a Mandarin tuition teacher. Mandarin is tough! And it’s not just Mandarin I have to pull off, but China-accented Mandarin. I’m still trying to decide on whether to go with a general China accent or an accent from Gui Yang, where my character is from. I think I’d best just focus on getting the Chinese right! About 50 per cent of my dialogue is in Mandarin, but don’t worry, there will be English subtitles!”

Do you think the play will strike a chord with Singaporeans? 

“Singaporeans will find it very funny! Even when I was reading the script, I was laughing a lot. Then there’s the whole relationship side of it. The show is about miscommunication, pragmatism, relationships, and I think these are what people will find really entertaining.”

Tell us more about your role.

“I play Vice Minister of Culture, Xi Yan. She’s a femme fatale because you don’t know whose side she’s on, or who she’s playing. You don’t know if she’s in love or using love to get what she wants. Her agenda is extremely unclear.”

What’s the funniest Chinglish you’ve come across IRL?

“I’ve seen a product called Rexona Girl 24 Hour Pussy Wind anti-perspirant. Crazy, right?”

Chinglish plays at Drama Centre Theatre from 9 to 25 October. Tickets available from Sistic.

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