Conversation with Director, Grace Kalaiselvi

If you feel that you’ve seen director Grace Kalaiselvi previously, it’s probably because you’ve seen her donning other hats – as an actress, writer, creator and director. You’ve also probably seen her playing Lathika in Channel 5’s long form series, Tanglin.

Grace was also in last year’s Performance Tour of Mixed! In this interview, Grace shares with us her first impressions of The Good Farmer, what the play means to her, and even gives us a glimpse into her own family.


You’re both an actor and a director. How do you navigate between the two? Does it complement each other in any way?

As an actor, I tend to think what’s the best way to be a character in a script giving importance to all intentions and objectives. As a director, I tend to visualise how a play can be played out and push for those ideas to match with what the actors can offer during rehearsal. The actor in me helps to test out the possibilities that I visualise on what can be done and then I try to guide the actors to achieve what is best for a play. But sometimes, the actor in me can be rather adamant and impatient to see results, and that’s when I have to step out of the actor role, and let the director role take over.

Grace sharing her notes during rehearsals for The Good Farmer

What was your first impression upon reading The Good Farmer?

Intelligent, societal, experiential writing but a little wordy. I am glad that Christopher was open and receptive to the feedback and worked hard at making changes to the play, to take it further.

Do you feel you can relate to the plot or the characters in any way? What does working on The Good Farmer mean to you?

I definitely can relate to the characters. I have siblings and there is animosity and rivalry among us. I can understand why siblings end up not talking to one another for a long period or forever. Trivial it may seem, but comparing siblings’ education, behaviour and success can do substantial amount of psychological damage. Working on The Good Farmer means having the opportunity to bring across the delicateness of the matter so that one can identify and address sibling rivalry early.

Grace with her family

How many siblings do you have? What are they like? What was it like growing up with them?

I have an elder brother and an elder sister. We are in our 40s, so independently living in our own nests. More distant than when young. But my mum still points out how different yet alike we are in many habits and characteristics.

My brother stopped talking to us since I was 11. Sibling rivalry arose because of a simple educational comparison that was made by my father. I was always close to my sister. She was like a ‘Best Friend Forever’, someone whom I always hung out with for movies, plays, trekking, clubbing, holidays and even to just chill, until she moved out of the house to live independently. Suddenly losing a BFF was hard, and from then we became more distant and we seldom talk unless she comes over to visit my mum.

What is your favourite memory with your siblings?

My sister and I went on a holiday to Sri Lanka in 2002. The only, just the two of us, kind of trip. We backpacked and went free and easy. Had lots of crazy moments. It was a great trip.

Grace and her sister during their travels together

What can audiences expect from The Good Farmer?

An intriguing family drama that will touch your hearts.

Describe the play in a few words. 

The role a father might play to either fuel or quell sibling rivalry and the need for social responsibility.

The Good Farmer is touring the South East District from 8 March to 24 March 2018.

Reserve your tickets here today!

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