An Interview with Hossan Leong

Popular comedian shares his experience in the local industry


By Sharmaine Chan

1.     A screen actor, television host, radio deejay and best known as a comedian. How and when did it dawn upon you that you wanted to pursue a career in the Arts industry?

I’ve always felt the desire to perform. I’ve been playing the piano ever since I was 6, always hosted Christmas parties etc. So becoming part of the Arts is really a dream come true.  There was no particular moment when that decision was made. It just evolved.

2.     The Importance of Being Earnest revolves around the story of two young gentlemen in 1890’s England using the same pseudonym (“Earnest”) on the sly, which was fine until they both fall in love with women using that name, which leads to a comedy of mistaken identities. How has this 18th century play been revived to suit a Singaporean’s taste in comedy in both the young and old?

The magic of Oscar Wilde’s plays: timeless. The issues he faced, that society faced during that period is uncannily mirrored in today’s context. We stay true to the script and let that speak for itself. The comedy of errors that happens during the play will resonate with everyone. And his clever use of words and phrases, sublime.

3.     Now here’s something intriguing – You play the role of Miss Prism, a lady, in this play. How do you manage to get yourself into character each and every time?

Learn my lines, enunciate, and try not to knock into any furniture (or Enlai). Miss Prism is such a fun role. I borrow elements from my aunts, my literature teacher and Lindsay Lohan (Kidding). And I incorporate their physical attributes into my character. Even changing my voice to sound older.

4.     As an unmarried woman in a society obsessed with marriage, how, in your opinion, do you think Miss Prism’s character portrays herself to be a comical character?

I don’t play her as a comic character. Miss Prism is a repressed, tortured, lonely old spinster. Not very comical right? But the lines are just perfect to bring the comedy out without playing her in a comical way, which I believe would undermine the integrity of the play.

5.     Do you think any of the characteristics in Miss Prism resemble you? If so, what and why?

The fact that I’m an old spinster? Bitter and twisted? Uptight and repressed with a deep dark secret past? What do you think?

6.     Lastly, anything we should take note of before heading for the show? Like tissues to dab the tears of laughter from our eyes, or an inhaler in case we get asthma?

Come with an open mind and your friends and family! And your pets too!