SINGAPORE - Photographs of actor Alan Wong sporting a bloody gash on his forehead and, later, a swollen black eye, seemed to hint at some horrific physical abuse taking place during rehearsals at Pangdemonium Productions.
The American actor's "wounds" were, in fact, the result of deceptively realistic make-up and fake blood - in preparation for the upcoming play Gruesome Playground Injuries.
Wong, 28, deadpans: "So, we like to do 'method' rehearsals, where the ladies just really beat me until I really feel pain, and from that point on, we try to create it on stage."
The morbidly titled drama will be running at the Esplanade Theatre Studio from Oct 31 to Nov 10, starring Wong, who is an MTV host, and Singapore actress Seong Hui Xuan, 26.
It is the first time that Pangdemonium, known for its glitzy takes on Broadway musicals and contemporary classics, will be staging a show in such an intimate space.
Director Tracie Pang, 44, co-artistic director of Pangdemonium, says it is part of its constant drive to challenge itself in the work that it does.
Gruesome Playground Injuries tells the tale of friends Kayleen and Doug from age eight to 38, charting their relationship as they stumble in and out of each other's lives, often picking up battle scars and other wounds along the way.
Doug is charmingly spontaneous and suspiciously accident- prone, while the alluring Kayleen has painful emotional scars to hide. Seong notes that her character tends to build walls around herself, metaphorically speaking, as defence mechanisms against a brutal reality.