Sunday, 12 October 2008
Daddy, why is that man wearing a dress?
It was not a pretty sight.
No, actually, at first I thought the picture of TheatreWorks’ Ong Keng Sen wearing heavy make-up, pearls, a black dress and a blue wig in The Straits Times recently was quite pretty.
Until I realised it was Ong Keng Sen - a man. And suddenly I had to explain to my 11-year-old son why it’s not all right for him to try on his sister’s clothes – at least not without his sister’s signed consent.
Ong was promoting his new play, Vivien And The Shadows, where he will be acting as a guy who “imagines himself” to be Vivien Leigh.
I told my son: “That man is acting as a woman in a play. That is the reason – and only reason – he is dressed like a woman.”
Then my son asked: Why didn’t they just get a woman to act as a woman?
“Because,” I said, “the character is not really a woman, but a man who is acting as a woman.”
“But why is the man acting as a woman?” he asked.
This was going nowhere.
So I went into this spiel about how in Shakespeare’s day, women weren’t allowed to act in theatre, so men had to play all the women’s parts as well.
Then it occurred to me it must have been damn confusing back then for audiences watching The Merchant Of Venice when the character of Portia, a woman who pretended to be a man, had to be played by a man pretending to be a woman who pretended to be a man. It was like a reverse Victor/Victoria without the big musical numbers.
My son’s response: "What is a Shakespeare?"
I sighed and decided it was time to just make something up.
I said the Government wanted Singapore women to have more babies, but all these women were too busy working. So the Government was phasing out all these women’s jobs so that they could stay home and have more babies. One of these women’s jobs was acting as women in plays.
My son stared at me blankly. Then he asked, “Is he like Kumar?”
I said yes.
He said, “Oh” and returned to bugging me to get him a PSP for Christmas.
A few days later on Tuesday, my 9-year-old daughter saw a picture of Ivan Heng in drag in the newspaper and wanted to lend her brother her clothes.
- Published in The New Paper, 12 Oct 2008
TRENDING POSTS OF THE WEEK
Are you sitting down? Apparently, a metal bench at a bus stop in Braddell Road is worth $1,500. And it’s not even created by Banksy . ...
There will be no Today tomorrow. At least in print form. On Friday, Mediacorp published the final print edition of Today newspaper and S...
So last week, The Guardian newspaper in UK published an advertorial sponsored by UK supermarket chain Waitrose & Partners featuring an...
Dear Ms Lerine Yeo, Just when I thought it was safe to watch Facebook videos again… You know that Nas Daily guy? His videos are so ann...
Last month, it was reported that Nike would stop supplying to smaller shops like those in Queensway Shopping Centre and Peninsula Plaza. ...
Flag-off at a little past 7.30am for Chua Chu Kang Big Farm Run (8km) this morning. I jogged from home to the starting line, which added 3...
I first met Darryl David at Gurmit Singh's wedding dinner in 1995. David's date was a woman named Lynette Pang , who was a stag...
When I learnt that Vernetta Lopez ’s autobiography Memoirs Of A DJ: Life In Progress was published last week, I rushed to the nearest major...
Two years ago, when celebrity radio deejay Glenn Ong revealed that he was dating fellow MediaCorp deejay Jean Danker after splitting fro...
Did you see the pictures of Ris Low in The New Paper on Wednesday? Those legs! That hair! The peek-a-boo panties! If the pictures wer...