Elsie Chin

elsie1I’m Elsie Chin and have been a choir singer for 43 years –  so you can imagine how old I am!  I’ve many years of choral conducting experience but have never acted before.  So it was extremely challenging for me when I took on the role of the Parrot/ Valley of Unity.

I always prided myself as being good in sight-singing, but the experimental music of Conference of the Birds by Johan is simply unsingable (at least, that was what I thought initially).  Where are the cues?  Am I in pitch?  I was rattled at first but soon got used to the new sounds.

The Parrot’s role requires me to be vain and seductive.  Oh no!  Another seemingly impossible task!  But after several rehearsals, I’m beginning to actually enjoy being a Parrot.

The whole Conference of the Birds experience has taught me that one cannot realize one’s potential unless challenged.  I never thought that I could execute those movements that Sek Thim insisted we do. And memorizing the music and words on top of all this has certainly pushed the limits of my brains to the extreme.

In the beginning, I was a little apprehensive about how I would fit in with the other younger members of the cast .  But  when Vanessa ( in the first session) who was my daughter’s classmate,  dropped the ‘Aunty’ and started to call me ‘Elsie’ , I knew I had ‘gelled’ with them.

Conference of the Birds has brought the cast closer together – between jibes and jokes, we’ve encouraged and spurred each other on.  This opera, so experimental in sound and abstract in story, has made me realize that acting is not just pretending to be a character but actually being that character!



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