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The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)

nytheatre.com q&a preview by Susane Lee
June 11, 2013

What is your job on this show?
Director.

What is your show about?
All 37 plays of Shakespeare, performed by 3 actors, in 97 minutes.

Where were you born? Where were you raised? Where did you go to school?
I was born in Seoul, Korea and moved with my family to the U.S. when I was young. We moved around a bit then settled in southern Virginia. South Boston, VA was known for tobacco and race car driving, and that's where I developed my love of wrestling. As the only Asians in the county, we stuck out. I lived there from the age of 7 to 17 and spent most of my time in solitary pursuits, like writing and music. I knew I wanted to be a writer and be in the arts and that, one day, I’d get to New York City.

Why do you do theater (as opposed to film, or TV, or something not in the entertainment field)?
I was in television for 15 years as a Writer and Producer. I loved it. Traveled everywhere with small, but amazing film crews and captured some really provocative stories. I got my start at NOVA, at WGBH in Boston and when I moved to NYC, I worked for WNET for many years. Documentaries/TV was my love. I never once thought about theater. When I got involved with Hudson Warehouse, I fell in love with the theater world immediately. In TV, you can work on a show for years and then it airs and most of your friends miss it. It is the opposite in theatre. You put on a show and behold, there’s the audience! Afterwards, they come up to tell you of their experience with the performance they just saw. The immediacy between the art and the audience, as they’re laughing, crying or simply shocked, hooked me. As much as I love docs, I realized the immediate connection between people and live story telling is more my passion. Because it’s in the ‘Present.’ In the Now.

Why did you want to write/direct/produce/act in/work on this show?
This is Hudson Warehouse’s Tenth Anniversary. We’re known as “The Other Free Shakespeare in the Park” and as of this year, we will have performed 15 of Shakespeare’s plays. For this milestone anniversary, Nicholas and I thought it would be a treat for our audience to see all 37 of Shakespeare’s plays in one performance, with three actors, in just 97 minutes, and that would be “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, (abridged).”

Which famous person would you most like to get a fan letter from: Denzel Washington, Maggie Smith, Ang Lee, Jennifer Lawrence?
If Ang Lee were to ever write me a fan letter, I think I’d just stand there staring stupidly at the letter. Ang Lee’s movies are absolute surprises when you see the earth-staggering scope of them. Who would guess that the ‘perfect’ movie (in my opinion) “Sense and Sensibility,” was directed by a Chinese guy? Then he does “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” – which is brilliant and the opposite of a Jane Austen novel -- THEN he takes on a western--love story, “Brokeback Mountain.” Who can handle such wildly different subject matter and styles with such aplomb? I saw “Life of Pi” last winter. This man’s imagination, talent, and story-telling methods are awe-inspiring. Getting a fan letter from him would be crazy.

If you had ten million dollars that you had to spend on theatrical endeavors, how would you use the money?
I’d turn Hudson Warehouse into a real theater warehouse – a home for actors and artists to propose works, develop new works, and know that we can now produce plays year-round. Our summer stage will be our mainstay, but to be able to go indoors would be a dream. Our warehouse would not only hold all our props, costumes, etc, but also be a theater space, a café, a place to gather and talk about – anything – a gathering hole for artists of all disciplines. And of course use the money to hire two grant writers to keep our company going.