Made famous by hit movie Florence Foster Jenkins, starring Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant, heartwarming play Souvenir debuts here next month. Singaporean director SAMANTHA SCOTT-BLACKHALL tells us more.
Our chat with the director of Souvenir
How did you get into directing?
I’ve always had a passion for theatre. My mother was a theatre producer with the now defunct theatre company Stars. In school, I was in the drama club and choir. I pursued drama as a subject in secondary school and as a Higher Level subject for IB where I directed a play titled Ernie’s Incredible Illucinations by Alan Ayckbourn. I was amazed by the big picture and various elements of putting a show together. At that point, I decided to further my studies in drama and directing.
What’s been your favourite production to date?
All my productions are like children to me. They They’re re unique and memorable for different fferent reasons, so I find it hard to choose just one! To name a few, I love The Physicist for its falling wall and d choreographed candle lighting scene, Quills for its intense e journey based on the prison time of Marquis de Sade and Agnes of God for working with Christina Sergeant and Karen Tan. All my productions are a labour of love!
Tell us a bit about the casting of the show.
Hossan Leong is absolutely perfect t for the role of Cosme. Besides being a highly talented alented actor with perfect comic timing and wit, he can play the piano, sing and, if needed, dance nce at the same time!
I was racking my brain to think hink of someone who can sing (opera, no less!) and have the acting chops to pull off such a complicated and sensitive role as Florence Foster Jenkins. Leigh Mcdonald d is superbly talented both as a singer and actress. Believe me, it takes a very gifted singer to sing badly! She does not live in Singapore anymore, so I emailed her to ask; she replied, “Life is funny; only today, the film about Florence came on, and my uncle and I said we’d love to watch it. Yes, I’m definitely interested!”
What’s the main message of the play?
It’s not about how well – or how badly, in this case – someone can sing. It’s about the passion to do so. It’s about having a dream and pursuing it at all costs. Hossan’s character says something to the effect of, “It’s the music in your head that matters…” This idea, to me, will resonate well after the play ends.
In 10 words or less, what can theatregoers expect from Souvenir?
A lot of laughs and a lot of soul.