Sunday, August 21, 2011

Spotlight On...Francsesca Choy-Kee

Name: Francesca Choy-Kee

Hometown: Croton-on-Hudson, NY

Education: NYU Tisch School of the Arts, London's Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, and NYU's Graduate Acting Program

Select Credits: Yale Repertory's World Premiere of Bossa Nova by Kirsten Greenidge; The Long Wharf's World Premiere of Agnes Under the Big Top by Aditi Brennan Kapil; The McCarter Theatre's production of She Stoops to Conquer directed by Nicholas Martin; Williamstown Theater Festival '08/'09.

Why theater?: It's one of the most intimate ways to connect with our own humanity, empathize with others and ultimately experience a mode of storytelling that is vital, playful, and collaborative between the actors and their audiences.

Tell us about The Rubber Room: The Rubber Room is about five NYC public school teachers that have been fired from their jobs and placed in a teacher detention center (a rubber room) to await hearings concerning their dismissal. Over the course of four days they, and the security guard who keeps them in line, struggle with each other and themselves as they await their fate. The play was inspired by this New Yorker Article, written in 2009.

What is it like to be a part of The Rubber Room?: The rehearsal process has been a fast and furious one, but this is a cast that has approached this charged material with real commitment, curiosity and humor. I love collaborating on new plays, and this is one that sheds light on the NYC Public Education system, the teachers who serve it, and whether this system is ultimately benefiting the students who it's in service of. What's it like to be an educator in a rubber room? ...not fun :-)

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: I love classical theater - when Shakespeare is done well it can be totally transporting. I also really love physical, inventive pieces... When I was last in London I saw Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials at the Royal National Theater and thought it was incredible. As far as inspiring artists are concerned... Audra McDonald. I've looked up to her since I was little. Meryl Streep, Viola Davis, Samantha Morton, Fiona Shaw, Derek Jacobi... I'm inspired by complete transformation. When an actor has the courage to truly use themselves as a conduit for a gives me chills.

What’s it like to be a part of FringeNYC?: It's wonderful to be part of such a large community dedicated to giving voice to new work. I feel like a cell in the body of a huge theater organism.

Any role you’re dying to play?: Medea, Electra, Beatrice and Cleopatra. It would be a gift to delve into Athol Fugard's work again. I was obsessed with My Fair Lady when I was younger...Eliza Doolittle would give me endless delight. I'd love to play the roles that haven't been written yet, that speak to our changing world and the people in it.

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: Renascence a film about identity and the authentic self. Directed by Ang Lee or Michel Gondry starring.... me! Or maybe Sophie Okonedo...she's pretty amazing.

What show have you recommended to your friends?: I was just talking about Mark Rylance's riveting performance in Jerusalem a few nights ago...which you and I saw together! I'm also looking forward to Milk Like Sugar at Playwrights Horizons this Fall.

What’s up next?: I will be playing Celia in the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park's upcoming production of As You Like It this September!

To learn more about Francesca, visit her at