The New Paper
Wednesday, Jul 22, 2015
Her fear of heights is so great, she claims she does not dare to use the overhead bridge.
Indeed, Sharon Au said she would rather walk long distances to avoid them and cross the road using the pedestrian crossing instead.
So what possessed the local actress to run down three flights of stairs during the first night of The LKY Musical on Tuesday, which caused her to miss her step and sprain her ankle? A technical glitch.
Au and local actor Adrian Pang play Mrs and Mr Lee Kuan Yew in the musical, which chronicles the struggles that Mr Lee experienced in pre-independent Singapore.
Au and Pang spoke to The New Paper while having their make-up done just before their performance last night. Au, 40, said:
"The technical glitch caused a delay so we were all rushing backstage to change our clothes, which we only had three or four minutes to do.
"Let me tell you the irony: As I have a big fear of heights, Adrian has always carried me down those three flights of stairs that lead to our backstage changing rooms.
"Last night, adrenaline took over and I just ran ahead of him. He was shocked when I missed my step... and I twisted my right ankle."
Au said her biggest concern then was that she was blocking the way as everyone was rushing backstage. Panic set in as Pang, 49, tried to take care of his stage wife.
He shouted for the backstage crew to bring her clothes to her so that she did not have to move to get them. Au remembered that all she kept shouting was "I want to be a lawyer! Bring me my lawyer clothes!"
In the scene before she fell during the first half of the musical that is set in Cambridge, she was in winter wear. Her next scene required her to play Mrs Lee at work. Au said she was touched that Pang remained by her side.
Eventually, he, too, had to go off to change and both of them made it back onstage just in time. During the interval, the cast and crew realised that Au's leg had become very swollen.
The actress resisted having her ankle bandaged at first as she felt it would be obvious to the audience that she was injured. But when her leg did not get better, she had no choice but to bandage it after putting ice on it.
Not a prop
Some people noticed her bandage and even thought it was a prop.
One audience member wrote on Au's Instagram account: "Yeah I realised the bandage on your right foot later on! Good job on carrying on. Hope u get better soon!"
Similarly, another person wrote: "When I first saw it, I thought you were just mimicking Madam Kwa (Mrs Lee) as she had a sprained ankle (in the scene) too."
Au said the pain only hit when the musical ended. Pang immediately drove her to hospital after their performance at the Sands Theatre at Marina Bay Sands.
Thankfully, the doctor that attended to Au at the hospital said her X-ray results showed that she had no broken bones.
The doctor's advice to her? Take the prescribed painkillers and keep the sprained leg elevated whenever she can.
That said, both Au and Pang are adamant about the adage: "The show must go on."
Said Au: "Even though I'm still limping, my ankle's a lot better today and I have bandaged it in flesh-coloured bandages so that it's less obvious."
She added: "Adrian was at my side when I fell and he has been with me since. He's my crutch, or rather, he's my pair of crutches. With this tower of strength beside me, I won't give up - I'll continue performing every night."
Au said that even though she had an understudy, she would not have taken her place halfway through the show, so Au herself would have finished the show on Tuesday.
Pang, who hurt his knee backstage during a play last year, was rather amused by the turn of events.
He said: "This kind of thing (injuries) usually happens to me, so Sharon has very kindly taken my place. I'm just glad it wasn't any worse for her, and she's being a true pro about it."
The LKY Musical is directed by veteran London West End director Steven Dexter and its music is written by local singer-songwriter Dick Lee. It runs daily from Tuesday to Sunday till Aug 16.
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