Brief Encounter with Chook SibtainDate: 17 November 2010
Chook Sibtain is about to play the lead role in the new production of The King and I at the Curve in Leicester. He very kindly agreed to answer a few questions about the role and his life as an actor.
Could you tell us how it feels to be playing a role that is so closely associated with the late, great Yul Brinner? How will your interpretation differ?
They are big shoes to fill (not that The King wears any!). He was a great actor and gave the definitive performance; that has to be recognised. I just need to serve the play as best I can. I will learn as much as possible from the clues within the text and try to give the character a justified and plausible performance.
Do you think that the story of a nineteenth century absolute monarch and his relationship with a governess is still relevant? Can The King and I still speak to audiences in Leicester?
I think the main themes in the story are extremely relevant to a modern audience. Cultural friction continues to be a prevalent global issue, which directly or indirectly affects us all. An understanding of cultural differences can still aid progression. In addition to this, The King and I is also a love story, which I’m sure all audiences can relate to.
In an ideal world, which role or roles would you most like to tackle?
All the obvious ones, including Hamlet - although I will need to get a move on or I will be playing him as a mature student! For me, it’s more about actors I’d like to work with. It’s great to have the opportunity to work with Janie Dee. I’d also like to work with Mark Rylance and Kathryn Hunter.
As an actor, what has brought you most pleasure in your career to date? And dare I ask, what would you most like to forget?
Probably the film I just worked on Ghost Recon Alpha because I got to wave a lot of guns around and nobody actually got hurt. I’d like to forget about Doctor Who because I was cold and wet for most of the time.
What advice would you give to young people who are looking at entering the profession – particularly at this time of funding uncertainty?
If you have any doubts, don’t do it.
What next for Chook Sibtain?
I have just released a song with ‘Sway’ the rap artist under the label ‘Love Music’ called ‘This is the Life’.