ART's Lim Yu Beng shares why he doesn't play favourites

ART's Lim Yu Beng shares why he doesn't play favourites

The art of play

Text: Adibah Isa

Image: Singapore Repertory Theatre,
Instagram | @thecollective_nafa,
Getty Images

Starring in Singapore Repertory Theatre's production of Yasmina Reza's Tony Award-winning comedy, ART, Lim Yu Beng's the subject of our favourites series — with a twist

Favourite moment on stage:
"I don't have a favourite, but a very significant moment happened for me at 15. I had been a delinquent in school and was bad at everything except English, Literature and Bible knowledge. I was playing Fagin in the school production of Oliver! and something just clicked. Suddenly, I felt 'This feels right, I was made to do this, I'm doing something good, and I'm actually good at it, and it brings joy to others'. I never looked back. The next year I was enrolled in theatre school overseas, and I've been a full-time theatre practitioner ever since."

Mark Lester in the 1968 musical film version of Oliver!

Favourite theatre he's ever performed in:
"Again, there is no favourite. I have some fond memories of the old Drama Centre though —the one on Fort Canning Rise, which is no longer there. In the original '60s Singapore play Mimi Fan, my father — a friend of the playwright — played the male lead on that very stage. My late mother was the lighting designer. Years later in my professional debut in 1989, I played on that same stage. I have also designed lights on that stage. It's gone now, but it was an important part of Singapore's theatre history, and my own."

A modern day production of Mimi Fan at the NAFA Theatre

Favourite local play:
"Again, there is no favourite. There are a handful of what I consider to be the most important Singapore plays, or the great plays. Lao JiuOff Centre, and more recently, Hotel. To me, they are some of the most socially, politically, historically and personally significant works of our time."

Wild Rice's Hotel

Favourite score from a production:
"None. Not interested. I get irritated with people who gloat over film scores. If it served the movie, great. If not, it failed."

Favourite actor or actress in Singapore:
"I honestly can't understand the logic behind the whole "favourites" thing, no offence. If someone is good, they're good. If they aren't that good in the next show, they aren't that good in that show. What use is having a favourite? My personal favourite is the art itself. That's the only thing that really matters. In fact, I think if we had sufficient depth to look beyond the cult of personality, we would all make better choices, vote better, serve better, govern better, parent better. We should all look to the thing that matters. To me, it isn't about the favourites. It's the work."

Gerald Chew, Lim Yu-Beng and Remesh Panicker
Lim Yu Beng will star in ART, a comedy about three friends whose friendships turn upside down when a piece of moden art is introduced. From 1 to 30 September. Book tickets to ART on Sistic here.