This is a series of posts featuring our artists who are making things happen in and around our great borough of Queens. Please check back weekly for new posts.
Actor and Artistic Director of Accidental Shakespeare Company
Where were you born?
Which Queens neighborhood do you live in and for how long?
Woodside for 8 months, but Astoria for 5 years before that.
How did you get involved in theatre?
My parents sent me to Shakespeare Camp when I was 8. I think they sent me there because they thought it would help me academically… boy did that backfire! I got hooked on theater and Shakespeare. We did a 20 minute production of Twelfth Night, and I got to play Viola — though whether that casting was due to natural talent or the fact that I had a terrible third grade bob cut is up to you.
Now, 20 years later, I’m running my own Shakespeare theater company out of Queens. Accidental Shakespeare Company is an ensemble dedicated to promoting PLAY and spontaneity in classical theater. Founded in 2011, we have become most well known for our Hit & Run Shakespeare series. We’ve produced 14 of Shakespeare’s works so far, and we are continuing to work our way through the cannon. What gratifies me the most about the work we do is that we often get audience members who hate Shakespeare, who think it’s boring, who rarely go to the theater, and they will come up to me after a show and say, “I loved that! I totally get it now!”
Please check us out at: www.accidental.nyc. And if you feel like supporting the arts in Queens and making Shakespeare accessible, consider donating at: http://igg.me/at/
What do you love most about Queens?
It’s the perfect blend of city and residential. There’s a great energy, awesome restaurants, places open late, but there’s also a great sense of community and of coming home.
Do you have an “only in Queens” moment you’d like to share?
I love riding the 7 train home, right around sunset, the moment it comes above ground and you can see the New York skyline lit up in gold and pink. When I’m feeling discouraged or the actor life is getting me down, it’s the perfect reminder of the fact that I’m living my dream in the city of my dreams.
Your top Queens picks (food, entertainment, sights, etc)?
The taco truck on 30th Ave. It’s the thing I miss most about living in Astoria. Take it from this Cali girl, they’re the best tacos in the city.
The Yoga Room in Astoria and LIC. They have the BEST teachers, and the studio is so tranquil — you’ll feel like you’re at the spa!
Leli’s Bakery on 30th Ave. Order anything. Order everything. You can’t go wrong.
The world premier of a new play, RED FLAMBOYANT, by fellow Queens resident Don Ngyuen, runs until May 16. I’m super excited about this show because not only has it been a great challenge to bring to life Don’s very complex and deep characters, but I’ve also learned how to fly through the air on an aerial bungee.
I still remember the first time I read the script. There’s a stage direction that says:
“Two women hover high above… The women fly onto the stage.
Yes, they fly.”
That tells you the kind of show you’re in for!!
But awesome theatricalities aside, I’m so honored to be a part of sharing this very, very important story. It is a story that needs to be told, that DESERVES to be told. The stigmatization of AIDS in Vietnam and the ignorance around the disease means that most HIV+ men, women, and children cannot get the treatment or help they deserve. Currently, the real Pham Thi Hue (who the play is based on) is looking after 50 children who have been orphaned due to HIV/AIDS is Hai Phong. She wrote to us on opening night: “I hope the image of faithful, heroic and resourceful Vietnamese women will be recognized throughout the world.”
April 24 – May 16
The Olmstead Salon
61 Gramercy Park North
This poignant, moving, imaginative piece blends realism and fantasy to tell the true story of Pham Thi Hue, the first woman to open an HIV/AIDS support group in Vietnam. Her story is interwoven with the folk tale of the Trung Sisters, two magical warrior women who lead an army against the invading Chinese. The staging combines aerial arts, martial arts, music, and shadow puppetry to support humorous, lyrical, and powerful dialogue. This is a story of true heroism, and what it means to be remembered.
*10% of all ticket sales will go to support the real live Mrs. Hue’s efforts in serving victims of HIV/AIDS in Vietnam*
See you at the theater!