Midsummer Madness with Rebecca Spykerman

A chat with the stars of Twelfth Night

By Clara Lock, photos courtesy of Singapore Repertory Theatre

The feisty Rebecca Spykerman plays a cross dressing, gender bending pageboy secretly in love with the Duke, in Singapore Repertory Theatre’s (SRT) upcoming production of Twelfth Night.

Spykerman, a graduate from Lasalle’s Musical Theatre program, cut her teeth on last year’s production of Macbeth and the recently concluded musical Spring Awakening. She talks to us about her character Viola, and how she has grown into the role.

What sort of qualities do you think you share with Viola?

Not knowing what is going to happen in life but just plucking up the courage to dive into it anyway – the willingness to be open to what life will present, whether it’s good or bad.

Viola plays both genders in Twelfth Night. What do you consider your most male, and your most female character traits?

I can be quite a tomboy! On the other hand, I have a nurturing side too.

In Spring Awakening, you played Ilse, one of the supporting roles, while as Viola you’re one of the leads. How different is it being in the spotlight this time?

It is scary, in an enriching way. In Spring Awakening, I understood Ilse and enjoyed her distance from the characters because as an actor I could indulge myself in Ilse’s world of passion & angst.

I’m realizing Viola is a far cry from Ilse. Viola has so many layers that I’m still discovering – her lightness, intelligence & sharpness. I think it’s more important to focus on doing the best I can with Viola instead of focusing on the spotlight.

I realize a lead role can’t happen without the support of others in the storyline. I’m very fortunate to be able to have this opportunity.

What has been the biggest challenge in preparing for your role?

The role itself is my biggest challenge. I’m very new to this piece and am like a baby, learning to not just walk, but to stand up and hold my own. Bruce (Guthrie), the director, has been extremely patient and helpful in his rigor on specificity.

Lastly, tell us a secret we don’t know about you.

This isn’t a secret but a lot of people don’t know I can speak Mandarin conversationally well.

Twelfth Night plays at Fort Canning Park from 25th April to 20th May. For more information, visit www.srt.com.sg

Campus has two pairs of tickets to Twelfth Night to give away!

All you have to do is name any of the actors starring in Twelfth Night. Email your answers to interns@campus.com.sg with your name, contact number and ic number. Contest ends 20th April 2012. Good luck!