Strokes and Physics with Theatre Actress Koh Wan Ching in Sight Lines’ New Production

Though she may claim to “catch no ball” with Physics, experienced theatre professional Koh Wan Ching definitely gave us a pretty good breakdown of Einstein’s theory of relativity in our interview with her. Aside from being an adjunct lecturer at NAFA, she has also performed and directed plays in Drama Box, Hatch Theatrics, Nine Years Theatre and The Necessary Stage.

As an actress, she managed to get in the groove of her character and “faked it till she made it”? After all, she is playing the female lead – Elaine, the Physics teacher – in Sight Lines Productions’ new play, Everything but the Brain. Find out about what the theatre actress had to say about strokes, Physics and the play she has never watched before.

Popspoken: Did you manage to catch the previous versions of Everything but the Brain?

Wan Ching: Unfortunately for some reason, I missed both stagings. However, I’m also quite glad because it means I get to jump into the work without any expectations or preconceptions.

Popspoken: Prior to the play, do you know anything about strokes or Physics?

Wan Ching: Nope. I think I only had a rather hazy idea about stroke and stroke attacks. Perhaps because of the influence of TV, stroke attacks conjure up the image of middle-aged men who having received some kind of shocking news or dramatic rebuttal, would clutch the back of their head and stagger backwards. We cleared up these misconceptions after starting research on the play.

As for physics, I am still frantically trying to get my head around some basic concepts having never studied the subject in school. I really do suspect that the part of my brain that processes 3-D visualisation and mathematical thought is significantly underdeveloped. Catch no ball!

Popspoken: What did you do to prepare for the play?

Wan Ching: I read Chad Orzel’s How To Teach Relativity To Your Dog and now I am moving on to How To Teach Physics To Your Dog. Actually, it’s more like I would read one paragraph and then go back and over it in order to digest the concepts. Some of the information doesn’t sit so well and comes right back out again.

Popspoken: In this play, you try to save your “father” from stroke. Did you draw from any experiences with your real father for this play?

Wan Ching: As actors often we have to draw upon experiences other than our own. During rehearsals, rather than pin down who Elaine is and what particular relationship she has with her father we try to explore different possibilities. It is a joy to create in this way and I believe the audience will also share in a deeper, richer experience. We were also very lucky and immensely grateful to have had a session with the National Stroke Association where a doctor, stroke survivors and volunteers spoke to us very candidly about their experiences.

Popspoken: How was it like working with Gerald Chew?

Wan Ching: Gerald is so keen in body, mind and spirit that it makes it challenging and all the more rewarding for me to meet him in creating the piece with the rest of the company.

Popspoken: If you could travel back in time to change something, what would it be?

Wan Ching: Ah-hah! One of the best-known consequences of Einstein’s theory of relativity is that nothing can ever travel faster than the speed of light, in order that causality be preserved. This is the idea that effects must always be preceded by their cause. We can’t travel back in time but that doesn’t stop Elaine from attempting to slow down time.

Get your Sistic tickets to Everything but the Brain, from 10 August to 21 August 2013, and catch Koh Wan Ching in action! Alternatively, you could go here ( and WIN some tickets for yourself!

Check out our review with Gerald Chew here.

Image Credit: Sight Lines Productions


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