Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Spotlight On...Sheila Joon

Name: Sheila Joon

Hometown: Seattle

Education: The school of Life and a B.A. from Western Washington University in Theatre arts (acting/directing)

Select Credits: Two Gentlemen, Love's Labor's Lost , Richard III, Coriolanus (Judith Shakespeare Co); Paddy Whacker, Ready, Aim, Fire! (ESPA/Primary Stages); Arms and the Man, The Importance of Being Earnest, Northanger Abbey (Theater Ten Ten); Charlotte's Web (Theatre Works); The Pillowman,  Arthur Lawrence's Two Lives (George St. Playhouse); Youthink!: 73 September 23rds (The McCarter Theatre); Escape To Wonderland, 12 Angry Women (Manhattan Theatre Source)

Why theater?: If the question was why act, it would be a different answer...but why theatre? I love film, I really do, but there is nothing like the immediacy of an audience, and the relationship between audience and performers... it's intimate stuff. I have a deep respect for the audience as an entity of its own that changes from night to night and moment to moment. I suppose it relates to my broader philosophical meanderings, but I won't get into physics here.... Nothing is fixed and there's a danger and possibility there that really turns me on. I've recently been a bit ployamorous with film and theatre, and while film has many luxuries an safeties... theater certainly feels more powerful, more immediate, more ritualistic...more holy. I think the power of live performance is something deep in our DNA.
Tell us about Christopher Marlowe’s Chloroform Dreams:
Christopher Marlowe's Chloroform Dreams, to me, is an absurdly cohesive moving collage with a thousand stories wrapped into one. Kat Sherman did a Bam Bop Boop on some seriously gorgeous language. It initially feels simply poetic in style, the way Shaw does the first time you read him. Then you read it a few more times and like Shaw, you realize how densely specific each word is. That excites me. The characters and language 'weave a loom, spin a yarn, tell a tale' which explores myth, noir, style, and ultimate questions of need, love and what happens when you tell a story; or rather, what happens when the narrator decides to change the story.....because they can.

What is it like being a part of Christopher Marlowe’s Chloroform Dreams?:
It's like a field of poppies: Dreamy. We're a 5 person ensemble and I have never gotten to scratch so many itches in one go. I feel darn tootin' humbled by e.v.e.r.y single cast mate and working together has been elevating from day one. We listen and rely on on another in way I've seldom experienced, and that is a testament to our director Philip Gates. The language itself is hot and has no barriers of time or place which is amazing..and challenging. It would be easy to fall into cliches with some of the characters, but Kat's use of language which travels from Iambic Pentameter, to Noir catch phrases, to Dylan references to 1980's songs, actually grounds us into something more routed. I think it's damn courageous. I could go on about how exceedingly different this show has been from any other I've been a part of, but you'll just have to come see it.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist? Any roles you’re dying to play?: I feel routed in the classics, but I am compelled towards newer playwrights that integrate heightened language with socially relevant material. Whether that material supports exploring gender roles, family units or when science meets spirit- that stuff turns me on. First reading Lucy Thurber blew my mind as I finally felt represented on the whole. I'd never felt so vulnerable just reading a script. I have a hard time saying exactly what I'd like to play, as it's my life goal and obsession to try and understand humans, I really DO want to play everything, if I weren't an actor I'd probably be a research psychologist... for that reason I LOVE getting to play multiple characters in a play as I do with CMCD. A lot of what I've done has been unconventional, gender bending, ambiguity and I'd like to take that a step further to explore my own edge of what identity is. I am dying to play Martha in 30 years. DYING to!  But in this decade? I'd love to play Constanze in Amadeus, Sylvia...and yeah, Hamlet. 

What’s your favorite showtune?: The truth? “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”...I can't sing it without crying.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: Jeffrey Wright. Woody Allen. Tilda Swinton. Oh...was I to choose ONE??!

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: Attillie Pillman : A hybrid of Allison Pill and Natalie Portman in “BI: The Adventures of a Hybrid Persian Girl.”

What show have you recommended to your friends?: Anything by Mac Rogers, he's amazing...Blast Radius I believe runs through April 14th

What’s up next?: Luciana in Comedy of Errors, and I'm reprising my role of Proteus in Two Gentleman of Verona with Judith Shakespeare's Marathon festival this April. I have a couple of films in post production which will be screening soon and I'm slated to shoot short film 'Scratch', in which an annual Christmas Party amongst broke artist types comes to a screeching halt when someone wins the jackpot. I get to kick ass in that film, which always makes me happy.

For more on Sheila, visit


  1. what a treat to read your interview. You have many layers, Sheila Joon!

    I cry over Somewhere over the Rainbow, too. at least get a lump in my throat.

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