Saturday, August 1, 2015

Spotlight On...Tessa Kim

Name: Tessa Kim

Hometown: Grew up: Cologne, Germany.  Now: NYC

Education: BA Empire State College SUNY, MFA New School

Favorite Credits: Film: “The Good Shepherd”, “Twenty Minutes Late”, Theatre: Roadsmoke (EST)

Why theater?: Because it’s full contact.  You can’t pause or rewind.  You’re right there in each moment connecting with the audience.

Tell us about The Bad German: The Bad German is the story of when I came to New York from Germany as a young person with the baggage of having watched a lot of grainy footage of Holocaust documentaries and some especially graphic history lessons in school about that period.  Never really having met a Jewish person in Germany I walked around with a mix of fear and curiosity when I realized New York was full of Jewish culture.  Each time I met somebody who was Jewish I felt this queasiness of: “Oh, they must look at me differently than anybody else.  They won’t like me because of where I’m from.” So the show tells about all the efforts I made to try to blend in and hide, and then find out more about what Jewish people are like and how I could somehow bridge this gap between us.  Which, of course, sometimes turned out to be ridiculous.

What inspired you to write The Bad German?: I’ve been inspired by a lot of storytellers at The Moth.  I always enjoy memoirs and personal story telling.  And I find it’s so freeing as an audience member to hear a story that addresses something that a person carried around with them on the inside in a wordless way for a long time.  That’s what The Bad German is about.  I never spoke with anyone about these feelings and now, well, I guess I’m telling everybody. ☺

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: I do love stylized, odd theatre that mixes various disciplines.  Especially dance theatre: anything by Pina Bausch.  I guess that makes me German. ☺ I like a lot of things that Soho Rep puts on.  One of my favorites there was: A Public reading of an unproduced Screenplay about the death of Walt Disney by Lucas Hnath and Sarah Benson directing.  Also the Wooster Group and Labyrinth theatre always have great shows.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: There are too many to mention so I’ll just name one director and one actor: Richard Linklater and Patricia Clarkson

What show have you recommended to your friends?: The Weir at Irish Rep., just beautiful story telling.

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: Justin Bieber  in “ANGST”.  I would pay to see that movie.

If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed, what would it be?: Oh, it would definitely be Sam Shepard’s True West with Philip Seymour Hoffman and John C. Reilly.  Still kicking myself that I didn’t get to see it.  Why didn’t I?  Oh right, I was broke.

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: Guilty pleasure?  That’s the kind of pleasure you’re embarrassed about, right?  I guess that would be bad CW vampire series.  They really help when I have a bout of insomnia.  Everybody looks airbrushed and pretty.  It’s very soothing.

If you weren’t working in theater, you would be _____?: A ski bum.  Come to think of it, it would be pretty much the same life style as an actor’s: you just do any other job like waiting tables so you can keep acting or get on the slopes.  I’m glad though I stuck to acting.  I wouldn’t have lasted long as a ski bum because I have hip dysplasia.  Yup, me and over bread German shepherds….

What’s up next?: I would like to take this show to some other festivals and possibly to some colleges. But then I want to play with other actors again.  Solo shows are so lonely. ☺ I’ll be shooting a couple of short films with this great group of women called "Shooting Janes". Eventually I might take a stab at another solo show because there was so much material that didn’t make it into this one.  Mostly very unsexy German sex stuff. Yeah, I won’t be bored.

For more on The Bad German, visit