Pangdemonium’s previous two plays, musical comedy The Full Monty and intense drama Closer, both went down a storm. So we’re looking forward to the company’s new production, Dealer’s Choice. Written by Patrick Marber and first performed in London, Dealer’s Choice won both the 1995 Evening Standard Award for Best Comedy and the Writers’ Guild Award for Best West End Play. Singapore-based expat actor Daniel Jenkins, who plays Sweeney in the play, tells us more.
You play a poker player in Dealer’s Choice. Can you relate to your character?
He is a man with family responsibilities, and as a father of two I understand the obligations and demands that come with this role. Luckily, I have never had to resort to gambling as a means of income!
How much poker knowledge do you need to appreciate the play, which is set around the game?
None. The play is more about the men, their lives and their relationships; poker is only a tool to explore their issues. It’s very funny, moving and dramatic – all the elements of a great play!
Is it just one for the boys, then?
Definitely not! My wife Jules read it and loved it – I could hear her laughing out loud from the next room. Plus it has a wonderful cast of six hunky men; what more could a girl want?
Tell us about your time in Singapore.
Amazingly, I’ve been in Singapore for nearly 14 years now. I was an actor in the UK, though like most UK actors I found myself doing many weird and wonderful jobs whilst “resting” in between jobs, so my wife and I decided to come to Singapore to see Asia and have an adventure. To begin with, I worked solely as a drama teacher before slowly becoming more involved in the local acting and performance scene. I am lucky to spend my time doing what I love: acting, directing and teaching drama.
How do you find the arts scene here?
It has really begun to thrive, with more productions, higher standards and more creative freedom, which is good news for everyone involved in the arts. I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some of the most respected theatre companies in Singapore, and perform challenging roles alongside Singapore’s best actors. There are increasingly more opportunities for actors and directors to make an impact, and my work has been rewarded with two Straits Times Life Theatre Awards, which is an honour.
What are the challenges of being an expat actor in Singapore?
As with most professionals in the arts, it’s not possible to rely solely on performing for an income. Fortunately, as a qualified and experienced drama teacher I am also able to teach at LASALLE College of the Arts and Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts. I have recently launched my own drama company, The Drama Playhouse, which aims to encourage creativity and a love for drama and performance in children by taking high quality and affordable drama programmes into schools and kindergartens. I hope to open my own studio soon.