Up Close with Emily of Emerald Hill!

By EditorEvents - 25 February 2011 3:11 PM | Updated 04 March 2011

Up Close with Emily of Emerald Hill!

Revisiting his role as Emily is the hugely talented Ivan Heng, teaming up with Glen Goei to play the powerfully moving tale of a headstrong matriarch. We catch up with Ivan for a short chat:

Hello Ivan! Congratulations on revisiting your role as Emily how would you describe the production to someone who’s coming to watch it for the very first time?

It’s a very funny, moving, powerful story about a girl who was abandoned by her mother, and who in the end becomes the matriarch of a large Peranakan household.   You will laugh a lot.  And unless you are very jaded or guarded, your heart will be touched – not least because you will see yourself, or be inspired to think of your mother or grandmother.  

You will be seduced by the charms of Emily, a great hostess, and you will forget that it is man playing the role, that is, until he reminds you. The show will lift your spirits, and the sweet memory of it will stay with you for a long long time.

What do you think is the most difficult yet overlooked part of impersonating a female matriarch?

To enable audiences to understand that underneath that hard exterior is a vulnerable human being.

Love the teaser trailers! Can you tell us any fun trivia about the production of the promotional videos?

Thank  you!  The video was shot over 2 days. It took 30 hours and I had 3 hours of sleep in that time. The jewellery I’m wearing, real diamonds and pearls, was from Foundation Jewellers and valued at half a million dollars.

The bed in the “bed of roses” scene was shot at the beautiful Presidential Suite of the Shangri-la Hotel.  Many powerful men have slept in that bed.  You can imagine what a thrill that was for Emily, hahaha!

This is the first time you’ve had true blooded Peranakans both in the lead role and directing the production. In your opinion, does this add an extra dimension to the experience?

The interesting thing is that because we’re Peranakan,  we did not have to talk much about “being Peranakan”.    But, like the privilege of every director and actor who has ever approached the play, we have shared a great deal about our mothers (not least as sons who have chosen unconventional paths), our families, growing older, and the society we live in. 

We have found that Emily really isn’t at all about being a Peranakan.   At its core, it’s a play about what it means to love and to be loved.

Finally, would Emily like to say something to our readers?

Here’s a thought for the day: “If you think the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, you are aiming too high!” 

WIN tickets!

Simply tell us the name of the actor who plays Emily for your chance to WIN a pair of tickets.

Send in your answer to [email protected] along with your full name, NRIC, inSing username and mobile contact number.

Contest ends: 1 March 2011

The performance will be held on:

8 March 2011 (Saturday), 8pm at the Esplanade theatre – winners will be notified via email to redeem their tickets at the door.


Emily of Emerald Hill is on from Mar 3-12, at the Esplanade Theatre. Tickets are on sale currently. For more information, please go to