In Meenah and Cheenah, we understand that the both of you play numerous characters throughout the show? Is there any character that each of you play that stands out the most to you?
Siti: It’s really hard to choose! There’s a little bit of Siti in every single character that I’ll be playing. From the youngest character, there’s the naughty little rebel Siti. And in the oldest character, the Makcik-ness in me comes out too!
Judee: We each have a recurring character – two school girls who are BFFs and that for me stands out the most. I guess it’s a combination of reasons. Firstly, I adore the idea of two very different individuals being able to share a strong bond. Secondly, playing this character allows me to relive my childhood days. Also, It’s good because it makes me feel young haha. School girls have the most fun because they can get away with anything!
How do you feel Singaporeans watching will relate to the plights that your characters face in the show?
Siti: The characters are very Singaporean, and the issues that will be brought up are totally relatable for people of all ages. The show is also written in such a way that it’s very straightforward, punchy and super spicy.
Judee: All situations portrayed are every audience’s “dream”. Every scenario will be instantly recognisable – they will either make you laugh till you get a pat tor tia or be a painful reminder of some of the worst encounters you’ve had to experience as a Meenah or Cheenah in Singapore.
As Singaporeans through and through, have any of the events that take place in the show happened to any one of you in real life?
Siti: Definitely! We started working on this show by having discussions with Selena and our team of writers, led by Alfian Sa’at. There were so many funny and silly real life stories and observations that were contributed. We agreed that some of them were too good and just have to end up on the show. Judee and i re-enacted and improvised the proposed scenarios and they were later transcribed and edited by the writers.
Judee: While the scenes are obviously fictional, some of the sentiments expressed and dialogues are inspired by our own personal experiences.
How is it like working in a cast with just one other person? Is it challenging but are there perks as well?
Siti: It IS very challenging because it’s just ME & JUDEE, and JUDEE & ME. We rarely get to take a breather and have to just keep going, because the concept of the show is such that it has to be pretty fast paced. But i’m lucky to be doing it with her, because we’ve worked with each other before, and we’re both alright with just being open and speaking our mind during rehearsals and discussions, knowing that none of us are gonna feel awkward or take it personally. It makes our rehearsals even more efficient and productive.
Judee: Stressful. Cannot anyhow pon-teng ‘cos very obvious. The Cheenah in me observes that rehearsals are much more productive since lesser people means lesser opinions and as such discussions resolve themselves much faster. We save time and time is money!
What are each of your favourite things about being Singaporean?
Siti: I’m a foodie and i’m happy that i can have easy access to a wide variety of our cheap and super sedap local food at hawker centres.
Judee: That I am well-educated and have a good command of English. No matter how idealistic, I have my Singaporean kiasu-ness to bring me back to reality and keep a balance between chasing my wildest dreams and being practical in life. I do love my country, our history and our huge potential to be a positive, significant player on the world stage.
What are each of your thoughts on the racial commentary that writer Alfian Sa’at incorporated into the show?
Siti: I think it is important and necessary. Race is such a sensitive topic and Singaporeans are getting more afraid to discuss and talk about it. Alfian is the perfect person for a show like this because he’s able to bring out all the issues wittily while being mindful of the sensitivities involved.
Judee: Actually the racial commentary in this show is definitely not Alfian’s alone. It was something Siti, Selena and I discussed extensively when we were deciding what the main theme is going to be. The fact that we titled it Meenah and Cheenah dictates that we have to get into that territory. Having Alfian as the head writer, then, is a bonus and a good fit since he has always been personally and artistically very expressive in these issues. I think it’ll be a real treat for the audience to see what comes out from this combination of talents.
What is something each of you have learnt about the other’s culture while working together on the show?
Siti: I never realised the importance of the Chinese zodiac and how much it means to some of my friends, who still depend on it for advice or suggestions with regards to work and relationships.
Judee: Something I never knew was that there were actually SO many labels for Minahs (not Meenah) in Singapore. Watch out for that in the show.
As comedy show, Meenah and Cheenah will undoubtedly give audiences a good laugh. Is there anything more you hope the audiences can take away from watching Meenah and Cheenah?
Siti: I hope Meenah and Cheenah will help them realise that sometimes we shouldn’t take ourselves too seriously. That it’s ok to talk, and even laugh at ourselves.
Judee: Definitely. When Siti and I talked about what we wanted this show to be about, we both unanimously agreed that it was about a celebration of our diffeences, and to allow Singaporeans the opportunity to deal with these sensitive issues and be less uptight about it. No matter how great the cultural difference, Meenah and Cheenah are truly, at the end of the day, simply Singaporeans. And they love it.
Date : 11 – 22 May 2016
Venue – Victoria Theatre
Show duration: Approx. 90 mins (without an intermission)
Timing: Tuesdays – Saturdays: 8PM, Saturdays & Sundays: 4PM
- Preview Tickets (11 & 12 May 2016): S$80, S$60, S$46
- Standard Tickets (Tue – Thu, Sat Matinee & Sun): S$110, S$90, S$50
- Weekend Tickets (Fri & Sat Night): S$130, S$100, S$66
Tickets can be purchased from SISTIC at http://www.sistic.com.sg/events/mc0516 or via SISTIC’s Hotline at 6348 5555