updated 28 Feb 2009, 23:34
    Powered by
user id password
Fri, Jan 23, 2009
The New Paper
EmailPrintDecrease text sizeIncrease text size
She turns kopitiam kaypoh for aunty role
by Tan Kee Yun

HOW do you play a character who's middle-aged, married and a mother of a teenager?

When you happen to be none of the above in real life, the wisest thing to do, as Yeo Yann Yann found out, is to people-watch.

The 31-year old actress had to transform herself into an aunty for her part in Jack Neo's latest comedy, Love Matters, scheduled to open in cinemas tomorrow.

She plays the wife of a character played by Henry Thia (more commonly known as 'Alamak', a nickname derived from his catchphrase). Henry, at 56, is old enough to be her real-life dad.

'I started observing housewives, the way they gossip and their little nuances,' said Yann Yann, grinning.

'I hung out at the places where they usually go, like supermarkets, heartland malls, wet markets and the best place of all, kopitiams.'

It was precisely at a coffee shop where Yann Yann found most of her inspiration.

 'There was this group of true-blue aunties sitting at a table near me, eating and chatting away,' she recalled.

'I wanted to pay attention to their conversation and behaviour, so I just sat in the coffee shop for three hours, listening to their voices and peeping at them from the corner of my eye.'

The transformation was also physical. Yann Yann went to great lengths making sure she looked every bit the authentic aunty.

For example, she knew her usual spunky hairdo (which she sported at the press conference of Love Matters) surely wouldn't do for a 40-something-year-old housewife.

'After giving some thought to the character's appearance, I went shopping at Mustafa Centre for accessories,' she said.

'I toyed with several ideas, like using hairclips, which would make me look older.

'Eventually, I settled for a hairband, and that's the one you'd see me wearing all the time in the movie.'

Love Matters is Yann Yann's first big screen role since the highly successful 881 two years ago.

She played one-half of getai troupe The Papaya Sisters, opposite Mindee Ong.

But don't expect Yann Yann to be prolific this year.

She revealed that, career-wise, she would like to 'slow down' this year.

'2008 was a little too hectic for me, especially towards the end,' said the veteran theatre performer and winner of Best Actress at the 7th Life! Theatre Awards 2007.

She was involved in three plays last year - Chesty Nutty Bang Bang, National Language Class and To Kill A Mockingbird - and notable cameos in local independent film The Days and Malaysian production Muallaf.


'I feel that as an actor, whenever you take on a role, you are inevitably giving one part of yourself away to the audience,' said Yann Yann.

'You use your own experiences and emotions to form different characters, be it on the big screen, or on stage.

'After each show ends, there is this empty feeling inside. When there is little time to breathe in-between characters, you get drained and then it becomes a case of having to 'squeeze out' something from that emptiness within.

'It's tiring for the actor and not fair to the audience too.'

This article was first published in The New Paper on Jan 21, 2009.

readers' comments


related articles
Copyright © 2009 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Co. Regn. No. 198402868E. All rights reserved.