What actress names come to mind when you think about theatre in Singapore? Yes there are the ever circling names of the likes of Claire Wong and Karen Tan who are of course sensational, but can sometimes make cast lists look like a merry go round of theatre. But there is a new breed of young actress coming up through the ranks, we’re talking about fresh talents and bright young shiny things – speaking of which, say hello to Sharda Harrison.
Nominated for Life! Theatre Awards 2014’s Best Supporting Actress category for her performance in Toy Factory’s The Crucible, Harrison has just recently wrapped on the production of The Necessary Stage’s Poor Thing and is currently on stage for W!LD Rice’s production of The House of Bernada Alba. As well as W!LD Rice, The Necessary Stage and The Toy Factory, she has also trod the boards for Cake Theatre, at Singapore Arts Festival, and the Periphery Festival all the way in Denmark.
We get up close and personal with the rising star that is Sharda Harrison..
1. Why did you choose your career?
My career chose me really. It was a path that I knew I was drawn to since I was just 10 years old. I was a ballerina prior to an actor and though I enjoyed dance, I lacked confidence and gained few friends. I ended up hating going for ballet classes and so I persuaded my mother to sign me up for acting classes with Act 3 Academy and from there, my love for acting flourished. As I grew older, the purpose and need for theatre and film became clear to me. There is a need to highlight issues within society in order for all of us as global citizens to understand better, certain struggles of our times. A performance is a voice and can be a powerful tool in raising awareness and shifting or opening up of perspectives.
2. What was the worst piece of advice you have ever been given?
It is alright to cheat on your partner.
3. What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?
The one time I managed to look my father in the eyes and tell him I am not angry at him any more. Now we have a fantastic relationship and I swear I do not have any more daddy issues. It may seem small, but I had to do a lot of ‘inner’ work on myself to deal with certain aspects of my relationship to my father.
4. What do you enjoy most about what you do?
Ah. I love getting lost! Sometimes when I am preparing back stage before a show, I think I am absolutely mad. I reckon sometimes, I’ve gone a bit nuts. Cause you know, preparing for a role takes a lot of imagination and actually delving into this kind of relevant but ‘fantasy’ world and to be able to sink so deep into it is like living in a parallel universe. Life is never a routine.
5. You in five words
A woman seeking the divine.
6. If you knew then what you know now, what would you tell your 18-year-old self?
Wake up you moron.
7. What’s your life theme song?
“Life is Real” by AYO.
8. If we came to your house for dinner, what would you prepare for us?
Hummus, pita bread, a big salad, bruschetta, al-funghi cream linguine, loads of fruits for dessert and perhaps an apple pie. Some awesome juice for starters too, just to get the system ready for digestion. if you want me to, I’d dance for you as well, play some Arabic music and grab a scarf….seriously. Or I could get my brother to serenade you with his guitar. Wait? Who exactly is coming over? The extra dancing and music bits depends on who the guests are… wink
9. If Hollywood made a movie about your life, who would you like to see play the lead role as you?
Jennifer Lawrence. I know she is Caucasian and I am Eurasian, but after watching her in American Hustle, whoa, that woman has soul. And I am a big fan of female actors who are able to be so insanely ugly, in the sense that, they are unafraid of letting loose and going wild, exploring the darker parts of their being. Jennifer Lawrence can do that.
10. What ‘rules’ do you live by?
I call it my Bushido – my code of honour. I struggle with this one rule but I try my best to live up to it and one day I know I will be 100% there…The number one code of honour is… “always, always, always, tell the truth.”