Ode Composer Sang S. Kim Talks About His First Time Working With Theater Pub

Sang S. Kim is a well known face in the local theater scene, best known for working with groups like Thunderbird Theater Company and Killing My Lobster. March 2012 will mark Sang’s SF Theater Pub debut and so we thought we’d take a moment to chat with our new collaborator and find out more about who he is, what he does, and why he’s doing it with us! 

So which Ode are you writing and what qualifies you to write this particular ode?

I’m writing three Odes: Choreographer, Light Designer and Actor.  I am not qualified for any of these positions which inversely makes me qualified to “ode” about how amazing the people are who perform these roles.

Have you ever written an Ode, or any poetry for that matter, before?

I worked on Literary magazines briefly where I butchered a lot of Spenserian sonnets.  They were all very emo before the word emo existed.  My girlfriend at the time dumped me and it was the early nineties so I was listening way too much of Alphaville and the Cure.

Tell us more about your background in the local theater scene. Who have you worked with and what have you done there?

I’ve loitered mostly with Thunderbird Theatre, Killing My Lobster and my own sketch project Serve By Expiration.  I’ve also been lucky to work frequently with Playground, Asian American Theater and Actors Ensemble of Berkeley and pretty much any theater company that’s having an open invite wrap party.  I’m happy to just be a writer and writer only these days but I was in a PianoFight show once where Claire Rice directed Matt Gunnison (her husband) and me sexually role-playing.  My therapist and I are still working through that experience.

How did you get involved with Theater Pub?

How could I not get involved?  Theater Pub employs 95 percent of my Facebook friends.  I can’t afford to be de-friended.  Have you actually logged into Google Plus?

What about being involved with Theater Pub is exciting or interesting for you, especially since this is your first time?

I’ve been stalking Theater Pub since it started.  I can’t think of another creative outlet where a gaggle of talented people are so invested in making each other look good every month.  Performance feeds off an audience and I’ve been looking forward to being on the other side of a Theater Pub audience.

Is there anything that’s daunting or troublesome? 

Troublesome no.  But daunting yes.  Too many people I respect and admire are involved in Theater Pub.  My hunger for validation is quite sad and insatiable.

Is there something you’d like to see or do at Theater Pub in the future? 

Out of pure self interest, probably sketch comedy or stand-up.  How about a parody of a Theater Pub Award Show?  It could last 5 hours long and the In Memoriam could be all the improv groups that didn’t make it this year.

What else are you working on these days?

Trying a dramatic play for once.  Also giving non theater projects a go such as screenplays, teleplays etc.

What are you most looking forward to in this year’s Bay Area Theater scene?

Too many.  A lot of groups and festivals have been on fire the last few years (BOA, Custom Made, Sketchfest, SF Fringe, etc).  I’m going to have to start paying full price for once instead of scavenging on Goldstar.

What’s your favorite beer? 

You know what’s sad?  I spent the most time thinking about this question than the nine before it.  Let’s just go ahead and say Guiness.  That’s a safe choice.  It’s like the Mitt Romney of stouts.

Don’t miss The Odes of March, on Monday, March 19th, at the Cafe Royale! Showtime is 8 PM and as usual it’s all free, but we encourage you to get to the bar early as we tend to get very full. See you there! 

An Interview With Kirsten Broadbear, Star Of Helen

Having spent the last month thinking about Helen of Troy, it seemed only natural that we should take a few moments to chat up Kirsten Broadbear, a staple of the San Francisco indy theater scene, who will be playing the title role in Helen this Valentine’s Day at SF Theater Pub.

What kind of characters are you drawn to as an actress?

I find humans fascinating, so the more complex the character, the more interesting it is to try to discover and explore what makes the character tick.

So then, what’s it like to play the most beautiful woman who ever lived?

It’s the one thing I’m trying not to focus on, actually. Of course, this molds a large part of who Helen is, but instead of trying to understand what it would feel like to be that beautiful, I’m more intrigued by what it might feel like to be a person underneath a canvas upon which strangers project their conceptions, like we do with celebrities all the time.

What did you know about Helen of Troy before you took this role?

That she caused the Trojan War and a lot of men died for her.

How about now? Has your opinion about her changed?

I think this is the first time I’ve ever even held an opinion about her; before she was just a vapid sort of pawn or catalyst for war and I didn’t attribute much of a personality or humanness to her.

We’re doing this show on Valentine’s Day for a reason. In your opinion, what does this play say about love?

Love is a funny thing. It reveals itself in unexpected ways, and lasting love isn’t always the kind that’s full of passion and romance. In the end, it’s just bloody nice to have someone who knows you, by your side, enjoying an average animal sacrifice in the morning together.

What’s your involvement with Theater Pub been like in the past?

I’ve been fortunate to have participated in quite a few of Theater Pub’s shows. Each time has been a different cast and crew, a different topic, a different concept and different presentation and use of the space, but every single time – it’s made for a great night. Theater Pub is an extremely important venue for the community; it’s accessible and relaxed without being dumbed down. And it’s truly a night to commune. No conventional stage or lights or restricted access to bathrooms enables a connection with the audience that makes everyone feel like they’re a part of the success of the event.

What keeps you coming back, both as a theater artist, and as an audience member?

I am constantly proverbially pinching myself because I’m amazed at how many incredibly intelligent, kind, and fantastically talented people there are to work with in the Bay Area. Theater Pub has a playfulness and an ability to engage with such a variety of people, equally including all those involved behind the scenes and running the bar and the patrons.

As an actress, what’s the difference between acting in a full production, vs. a reading like this show?

There are a lot of differences. But I suppose one important distinction is that a reading somehow allows for more innovation. It’s looser since sets and costumes aren’t present, and it incites the imagination more than a full production with all the spectacles laid out before you.

What else are you working on these days?

I’ll be doing a staged reading for BoxCar’s Sam Shepherd festival in March, which I’m really excited for. Then, I’m thrilled to be part of BOA again this year, working with an incredible group of talents (Megan Cohen, Jessica Holt, Sarah Moser, Siobhan Doherty, Megan Trout, among others), immediately followed by Tia Loca and Her Life of Crimes produced by the wonderful and delicious John Caldon, and performing side by side with the magnificent Matt Gunnison.

Anything you’re looking forward to seeing in the local theater scene?

As I mentioned before, there is such an amazing group of talented people in and around this town, I am constantly looking forward to seeing the magic these people create. It’s always an adventure and I feel lucky to be on the ride.

Catch Kirsten playing Helen in HELEN, this Valentine’s Day at the San Francisco Theater Pub. The show starts at 8, but we encourage you to get there around 7:30 as we can get pretty full. The event is FREE, and only happens at the Cafe Royale, 800 Post Street, San Francisco.

Get To Know Some of the Actors of the Pint-Sized Plays!

Who doesn’t love actors? They’re charming, they’re pretty, and if they’re in Pint-Sized you can see them for free! We took a moment to catch up with a few of them and ask some get-to-know you questions so that everyone heading out to see the Pint-Sized Plays this month would have a jumping off point should they find themselves suddenly next to an actor before, during, or after the show. Enjoy!

What do you love best about theater pub?

Matt Gunnison: The casual, fun atmosphere and an audience that’s there to have a good time.

Sunil Patel: I love that Theater Pub is a casual, free theatre experience that is still very high quality and is produced by very talented people. I love it the most when it makes use of the space in interesting ways, seating actors at tables or having their voices boom down from the balcony above.

Sarah Moser: I love getting to hang out with some of the most talented and most gorgeous human beings in the history of the universe.  And also beer+theater=world peace.

What’s your favorite moment in this year’s Pint-Sized?

Matt Gunnison: Scripted?  Nicole Hammersla: “Awkward silence!”  Unscripted?  Ray Hobbs and Duncan Wold’s dueling baseball caps.

Sunil Patel: I don’t want to spoil it, but there is a line in Endgame II that is one of the greatest things that has ever been said in the English language. I also love all of Nicole Hammersla’s expressions during English for the Romantically Challenged.

Sarah Moser: My favorite rehearsal moment was our first rehearsal for Drinking Alone.  Megan Cohen was kind enough to let us rehearse at her family’s temporary pad in North Beach.  We drank beers, rehearsed in a living room, played with a pet bunny, stood on the porch and talked about Dumbledore, and generally wallowed in our chemistry. My favorite performance moment is watching Megan Briggs’s amazing face in Listen.

What attracts you to a character as an actor?

Matt Gunnison: Dynamism.  Seeing that character change and grow, becoming someone different as a result of their circumstances and choices.  Getting to play those moments of the character stepping onto new ground.

Sarah Moser: I like visceral language that kicks you in the gut.  Also, I like characters who are loners, who aren’t quite coloring inside the lines.

Sunil Patel: I am never attracted to my character as an actor. That seems like it would make for a very awkward time in the bedroom, so I think we should just be friends.

What’s a role you’ve always wanted to play?

Sarah Moser: Oh man.  Right now, I would really, really love to Kayleen in Gruesome Playground Injuries by Rajiv Joseph or Cassy in Clementine in the Lower 9 by Dan Dietz.

Matt Gunnison: I was always more interested in trying out different types (the hero, the villain, the comic relief, etc.) and the many different versions of each.  A character descending into madness would be a thrill.

Sunil Patel: I feel a strong connection to Guildenstern in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. Or is it Rosencrantz? I can never remember.

Who is your favorite actor?

Matt Gunnison: There are too many good actors to narrow it down, but I’m really fond of Kevin Spacey and Gary Sinise for drama, and John Lithgow and Christopher Lloyd for comedy.

Sarah Moser: My favorite actors are Ben Whishaw and my aunt Barbara.  I also love watching local actor Omoze Idehenre.

Sunil Patel: Any actor who can make me forget that I’m watching an actor.

What show are you doing next, or what Bay Area show do you most look forward to this season?

Matt Gunnison: A staged reading of Roy Conboy’s My Tia Loca’s Life of Crime at SFSU’s Studio Theatre on September 17, the SF Olympians Festival at The Exit in October, and–of course–more Theater Pub!

Sarah Moser: I’m excited to be part of the adventure that is turning Megan Cohen’s one act, A Three Little Dumplings Adventure, into a FULL LENGTH PLAY and life experience.

Sunil Patel: I will be playing a thieving heroin addict in Megan Cohen’s Orion as part of the San Francisco Olympians Festival. I am looking forward to Megan Cohen’s full-length play, How to Love, as I presume it is some of sort of theatrical instruction manual. I just love Megan Cohen. Isn’t she great?

What’s your favorite thing to order at a bar?

Matt Gunnison: A new beer that I wind up liking.  Or a vodka tonic if I feel like I have to look classy.

Sarah Moser: It changes all the time.  But I do love me some Jack Daniels, neat.

Sunil Patel: Rum and Coke, hold the rum.