Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Spotlight On...aLyssa Kim

Name: aLyssa Kim

Hometown: Danbury, CT

Education: I tried out that “campus life” thing at University of Connecticut and lasted a semester; I tried out that BFA thing at Marymount Manhattan College and lasted a couple of years; ultimately, I learned the most through life experiences and an NYC-based interactive theatre company called Playing with Reality. I learned what kind of person I was and what kind of artist I wanted to be outside of the traditional constraints of school.

Favorite Credits: My favorite theater to work on is the new kind. Devising, developing and workshopping new plays - whether as an actor, writer or director - is my jam. Usually whatever I am working on in the moment is my fave - so, right now, it’s Rocking Dead: Bedlam.

Why theater?: Because it has the ability to be whatever you want or need it to be. Because it can be both personal and universal. Because if it’s good, it makes you feel and if it’s great, it also makes you think. And, personally, because it was the first time I felt a sense of community - regardless of age, race, gender or sexuality.

Tell us about Rocking Dead: Bedlam: This show is set in the very near future, where there has been an outbreak of a disease that turns people into flesh-eating, rage-filled, mindless monsters (aka zombies!). The disease can lay dormant, so there are “virals” that carry the disease but have not gone full “zed”; the catalyst for the z-virus is extreme negative emotion (rage, fear, etc.). So we have a world where “virals” are doing their best to keep the disease at bay, “normals” are trying not to contract the disease and both groups are attempting to live together on a very small island since Manhattan has been quarantined. And what is a better way to survive the chaos and attempt to rebuild a sense of community than to throw a party? Rocking Dead: Bedlam brings us into the world of one of these recurring parties where morality is at an all time low, “zeds” (zombies) are starting to be used as entertainment and people fight to hold onto their humanity. This is an immersive and interactive show, so audience members will have a 360-degree experience once they enter the party. The biggest difference between our show and most other immersive productions is that it is completely interactive. As an audience member, you can choose to play into the story and affect the characters you interact with, which will inevitably have an effect on the story itself.  Relationships and story lines are actually co-created by the actors and the audience members organically, completely in-the-moment, right on the spot. If done right, the hope is to empower the audience to have just as much say as the cast as to how the story ends each night.

What inspired you to create Rocking Dead: Bedlam?: A show, a ship and survival. The show was another immersive zombie show that I had been a part of called Survive! Survive!. The ship was The Frying Pan, which is this rusty, post-apocalyptic looking thing docked on Pier 66. The survival was my own, as an artist. The concept came from a desire to do something that other people wanted to see, experience, be a part of. The original workshop was co-created by myself, Trevor Buteau, Jeff Wirth and Playing with Reality and had a sold-out run on The Frying Pan this past Spring. I took what we learned during that workshop and wrote a complete reboot of the show. This version is fully re-loaded with new characters, new story and higher stakes.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: Theater that has a truthful emotional life and that is relatable. To see your life reflected onstage and know that you are not alone in your beliefs, thoughts or experiences is a powerful thing - it means you are part of something, part of a community. Interactive theater has really inspired me as an artist because it is so honest. It lets people explore as they would like to and can give participants a connected and potentially revelatory experience that is simultaneously theatrical and deeply personal.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: Oh gosh, everyone and anyone that is hard-working, passionate, intelligent, reliable and, most importantly, has a beautiful soul. It’s all about the vibes in the room. I love collaboration and that groove you get into when you are working with intelligent and giving artists to create something new and exciting.

What show have you recommended to your friends?: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Brilliant. Brilliant. Brilliant.

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: No idea who would play me, but the movie would be called something really witty or something really funny or something really wittily funny. This is not an answer. I’ll get back to you if I ever make that movie ;)

If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed, what would it be?: I actually see a lot because of my day job, but I never used to. I’m such a bad Asian, but I’ve never seen ANY production of Miss Saigon. I know...

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: Binge watching CWTV shows. Arrow, The Flash, Vampire Diaries, The Originals (I even used to watch Pretty Little Liars). Gimme. My Netflix probably thinks I’m this family: a teenage girl and a teenage boy being raised by lesbians.

If you weren’t working in theater, you would be _____?: Working on a horse ranch.

What’s up next?: Sleep. Rest. Then hopefully more fun projects! I have a couple of ideas running through this crazy mind of mine.

For more on Rocking Dead: Bedlam, visit