Hairstylist Ashley Lim
SINGAPORE - Hairstylist Ashley Lim is the certified mane man when it comes to local theatre. To date, he has done countless dos for more than 200 productions big and small - not bad for someone who entered the biz back in 1986 as a shampoo boy and "washed my way up to be what I am now", he joked.
While he still maintains his own place, Ashley Salon, there has always been a connection with the stage - having first done the hair for TheatreWorks' Rashomon in the mid-'80s.
His latest hair creations will be seen in W!ld Rice's current pantomime Hansel & Gretel.
"Look out for plenty of colour and wig action," he promised. We hair you loud and clear.
What are the differences between styling hair for the stage and ordinary hairstyling for your non-theatre clients?
Styling for theatre hair onstage is always bigger than in real life. This is because it requires more drama and presence. A good hairstyle will transport an actor back to the past or into the future, and enable him or her to perform better on stage. However, styling for theatre and real life has one thing in common - both must be able to look good all around.
What are some of most memorable styles you've created for theatre?
One of the most memorable would be Forbidden City: The Portrait Of The Empress Dowager, which was a period production that also had a modern feel to it - not to mention that I love doing Chinese period styles. Some of the crazy hairstyles I've done include attaching lights and motors for effects. There was also once where I had to change the actor from an old man into a young man on stage. I had to attach two coloured wigs on him. Some of the craziest, fun shows I've done hairstyling for include the Dim Sum Dollies and Wild Rice pantomimes. What I enjoy most is being able to create so many different styles and also being able to work with such great creative teams, directors and a whole set of wonderful actors.
Is there such a thing as going overboard in hairstyling?
There is no such thing as going overboard or overdoing it when it comes to theatre because it's always bigger than real life. And honestly, hairstyles tell a story of an era so really, there's no such thing as a good or bad hairstyle.
Care to share one golden rule about maintaining a healthy scalp?
Always invest in the right shampoo and conditioner. If you want to know which shampoo will best suit your hair's needs, you must first know the sort of scalp condition you have. Is it oily, or dry, or is it a combination? Knowing these little things will help you make the best hair choices to maintain a healthy scalp. Using the wrong hair care products or overly oily hair styling products is always bad for the scalp.
Which hair products or equipment do you swear by?
For me, one tail comb, a can of hairspray and some hairpins are a must for all shows. Beyond that, I cannot say because it's my own trade secret.
Hansel & Gretel runs until Dec 15, 7.30pm (Tuesday to Sunday) and 2.30pm (weekends), Drama Centre Theatre, National Library Building. Tickets from S$39 to S$69 at Sistic.