Fun Home is the musical currently playing at the Drama Centre Theatre. The musical, based on Alison Bechdel’s autobiographical memoir of the same name, follows Alison at three different stages of her life as she reflects on her dysfunctional family through a journey of self-discovery and self-acceptance. I spoke to Chloe Choo, the eleven year old who won the highly coveted role of Small Alison, the youngest incarnation of Alison in the show. She currently alternates performances with fellow child actor, Elly Gaskell, following Singapore’s laws on child labour, and making sure neither girl gets too tired from playing the challenging role night after night.
Despite its PG13 rating during its broadway run and the young cast members, Singaporean Government regulations also require the show to be an R18 in Singapore because of mature subject matter and explicit language. “We already talked about [the mature subject matter] during rehearsals so we understand how to deal with it,” Chloe answered, when asked how she handles the mature content during the show while being so young.
Chloe is no stranger to the stage, being cast in her first professional show, Annie at Marina Bay Sands, when she was just six years old. “I would say Annie is my favourite show I have done,” Chloe says, “It made me realise that I wanted to continue doing musical theatre.” Chloe won a role as part of the orphan ensemble after a gruelling audition process that cut the 350 girls who into a lucky 27.
Since then, she has performed in over 5 professional shows, and multiple commercials, in just 5 years. When I asked Chloe how she juggles school, a social life and all the time-consuming shows she performs in, Chloe told us that her teachers and friends are very supportive. “They let me know what they did [in class] or what our homework is, and they help me bundle my homework together so my mother can go to my school and get it.”
Only eleven years old with half her life filled with show experience, Chloe has lots of advice for other young performers looking to do theatre professionally. “They should always have confidence, always listen to the director and always be punctual!”. As for stagefright, Chloe reveals that of course she gets nervous before going on stage, but once she goes on she simply forgets to be nervous and gets into character.
Not only can you catch Chloe in Fun Home from October 1st to 15th, she will also be performing The Sound of Music at Marina Bay Sands from the 7th to the 19th of November, where she’ll be playing the role of Brigitta at select performances.