A triple threat of sorts, Gavin Yap boasts an impressive curriculum vitae, which will soon have Pangdemonium’s Fat Pig on its “theatre acting” column. The rest delves into the realms of acting, writing and directing in various entertainment media, some of which are award-winning works. Calling him multi-talented would be an understatement.
Last seen as a female character in Wild Rice’s The Importance of Being Earnest, Yap is now reinstating his masculinity with Fat Pig‘s Tom, a guy who falls for a chunky girl named Helen (played by Frances Lee), but feels the necessity of keeping it from his friends.
We spoke to Yap about the production, “choosing between his children”, and his favourite insult (Hint: Coming to America).
How were the rehearsals so far?
Very intense, very fun, and very funny. It’s always fun to work with talented people and this group is no exception. I’m having a great time playing opposite Frances, who I think is really going to blow people away with her performance as Helen. And Zach and Elizabeth are hysterical in this play. Hopefully, I’m able to keep up. Haha.
What’s your favourite part of the play?
Just how well-written it is. Tracie was saying the other day just how well Neil LaBute writes men, and she’s right. There’s so much painful truth in the writing and yes, even though some of it comes across very harsh, there’s a truth to it and really gets under your skin. Also, having a director who gives you the freedom to go nuts but at the same time knows exactly what she wants is both rare and hard not to relish.
In terms of a favourite scene, it would probably be the first scene of the play when Tom and Helen meet for the first time. It’s such a sweet scene that in many ways, is the hardest scene to get right because the balance needs to be perfect. It completely fools the audience into thinking they’re about to watch something completely different.
What did you do to prepare for your role as Tom?
Oh, the usual—didn’t shower, starved myself, lived on the streets, did a lot of meth. Just kidding! Look, with this part, I felt that I understood this guy pretty well. He’s a very flawed person but his flaws are very relatable, so my approach to the character was to find a way that I could be as honest as possible in my performance.
If you look past the title and the obvious subject matter, this is still a love story, and that’s something we can all draw from. We’ve all had good and bad luck in that department so that’s definitely helped to inform my performance to an extent. But aside from that, it’s just about taking the time to explore different ways to make the guy interesting and real, which the writing already does most of the heavy lifting for anyway. Was that long-winded enough for you?
Have you in reality dated plus-size girls as well?
Of course, why would you not?
Do you think the outer appearance plays a part in developing a successful relationship?
Seems like you’re pretty multi-talented, having acted, written and directed productions. Out of the three, which is your favourite, and why?
Ah, the “choosing between your children” question… I love it.
It’s tough because it depends on the circumstances. This may sound like a cop out answer but it’s pretty equal because I find that each one serves as a holiday from the other. After I direct something, I can wait to act and let someone else worry about the big picture. Haha. And vice versa.
So, I never allow myself to get bored with any of them. Writing’s a bit different because it’s the loneliest of the three, and it’s the one job that I can do while working on something as an actor or a director. But if I had to choose, it would probably be directing, simply because I enjoy the problem-solving aspect of it. And I love telling stories.
Finally, channeling your snarky inner demon, what is your favourite underused insult?
Okay, I very rarely use this in conversation because I could never say it as good as Arsenio Hall did in Coming To America, but I love the insult he says to Eddie Murphy near the beginning of the film when he says, “Now let’s see if you can defend yourself, you sweat from a baboon’s balls!”
To get tickets to Fat Pig, press this button.
Venue: DBS Arts Centre
Date: 13 Feb – 2 Mar 2014
Admission: S$40 – S$55
Advisory: 16 years and above (Due to coarse language)
Photo credit: Pangdemonium Theatre Company