What started as a challenge with a group of friends turned out to be the starting point of Laurence’s career on-screen and on-stage, when he went for his first audition for drama series “Masters of the Sea”, produced by TCS (later MediaCorp). “I never went to acting school,” says the 67-year-old, proudly, and despite having been rejected the first time, the company held on to his contact details and called him back for other roles.
Today, Laurence continues to teach and inspire budding actors, as well as participate actively in Ageless Theatre as its recently-elected vice-chairperson. He shares his experience and expertise in acting readily, explaining the different challenges of the theatre and TV – being on stage, for example, needs lots of big, dramatic actions so the audience can see them, while filming for TV shows can go up close to the actor’s face, so all the little details of the expression need to be just right. Acting can be strenuous and tiring, he goes on to explain, because sometimes scenes have to be done over and over again, and when they are doing filming outdoors, the lighting and time of the day must be consistent. He once had to film a scene overnight, only going home at 6 in the morning! Yet Laurence never says a word of complaint throughout the conversation – a testament to his passion for his work.
He hopes that Singapore’s arts scene can grow, with more support from local audiences and from the Government as productions remain expensive. He shares that Singaporeans seem to prefer watching performances by overseas groups instead of local ones, because of the perception that local theatre simply lacks the same quality. And “they are unwilling to pay the same amount of money”.
Regardless, Laurence continues to stay positive and work towards improving the local theatre scene. He says, very firmly, that he has absolutely no regrets about going into acting, and adds with a cheeky smile that “acting is where you can misbehave yourself”.