Shane Mardjuki is no stranger to the female wardrobe. Donning a sarong kebaya, make-up and a wig for the play, ‘The (Extraordinary) V Conference’, he had no issues stepping into the racy costumes for his newest gig, ‘Purple’, a play on the life of Singaporean transsexual, Maggie Lai.
The play produced by Singapore theatre company Toy Factory Productions and written by veteran playwright Goh Boon Teck will run from 2 August to 18 August 2012 at The Joyden Hall at Bugis+.
What Mardjuki finds the most compelling with regards to Maggie is how multidimensional she is. Describing the role as super fun to play with, he gushes, “What's interesting about playing Maggie is that she has soo (he is particularly enthusiastic with that) many sides to her. At times you wonder if she is still the same person from scene to scene.”
This is a good thing, considering his hesitations with some of the acts that his work demanded. Candid, he admitted his initial dread for scenes where Maggie has to dance seductively. Today, he has no problems -- he enjoys it as well. He can’t find any reason as to why he wouldn’t take on similar roles.
Also read: Interview with playwright Goh Boon Teck
At the same time, he concedes that such characters do come with the added danger of playing up to be too campy or comedic, which could saturate, or satirize the message originally intended. Defending his role, he responds, “Maggie is not a typical campy drag queen and we are working on finding the balance between the campy scenes and the tender scenes.”
Most importantly, he just wants the audience to understand her.
“I hope that they will identify and empathise with Maggie and see a bit of themselves in her. Her life speaks volumes beyond the physical transformation and I hope that after understanding what Maggie goes through and the attitude she possesses, the audiences will be moved and be acquainted with her.”