CHRISTINA SERGEANT 1955 - 2013


Tina’s sudden passing on the 17th February was a devastating loss to her family and to Singapore’s theatre community.

She was my best friend for 30 years, my best man(!) at my wedding, and my performance partner and collaborator from the days we first began creating comedy together as Phizzog Mask Theatre in 1983. She cold called me to say she had just arrived in Singapore (with Kwee, her husband) and she’d heard that I was into Masks and as she had trained as a mime (at the Marcel Marceau school) she was keen to meet up. She came to UWC one afternoon and we danced around chatting for a while until I brought out some masks, a mix of the full and the half masks . . . and we started to play.  A couple of our most popular pieces - the Blind Date, the Wake - were improvised at that first session. For all that she said she was a mime, she also took to the commedia-inpspired half-masks with effortless invention, a zany creator of character and quick-witted quipping.  Excited and happy, she was the one who chased up our first gig, performing in the Bistro Tanglin Shopping Centre.

She was wonderful actress with the most astonishing range: she could play fearsomely powerful high status characters, then switch on an instant into the most incompetent and appealing clown.  I cast her at Truffaldino in  my 1984 Drama Festival of my production of The Servant of Two Masters, which she aced with great energy and comic timing.

Our roles were reversed when she cast me as the goddamm Sheriff  in STARS The Best Little *House in Texas. (This was 1985 and we weren’t allowed to use the word ‘Whore’ in the title: we were also inspected at the Dress Rehearsal to make sure our ‘whores’ were not too provocatively dressed or badly behaved!) Yet Tina was always proud of the fact that our production - which used a script sent her a by a cast member in Orange County , Los Angeles - used all of the text, even parts censored out for fear of offending the citizens of Orange County. Apart from having to master the Texan accent - Tina gave me a cassette of authentic speakers - the Sheriff says goddamn 43 times in the script:  one rehearsal Tina made me go through every single iteration and insisted I find a different way of saying each and every one!

In improvisation she combined a razor-sharp wit and ability to connect the most distant of ideas, with the mime’s gift of physicallising offers into action and gesture. When she was on fire, it was hard to keep up, because we were laughing so much!  One of her classics was a scene on board an aeroplane and we had to include five song titles provided by the audience. No sooner had I as the pilot taken off than Tina sashayed on as the stewardess: “For your food selection today, we have curry puffs, samosas and nagilas. Who would like to . . Hava Nagila?”  (Plane almost crashes due to pilot collapsing in laughter!)
















I miss her creativity , her comedy and above all, her caring - she had smsed me birthday wishes on the 16th when I was in Iran, just a few hours before she collapsed.



The Madhatters Comedy Company c2002: Tina, me, Raymond Tan. Alison Lester and musician Eunice Lee.

The Bear, by Anton Chekhov

In Memoriam