Inspired by ongoing #theaTO conversations on social media, we're featuring some of NOW's and Soulpepper Theatre Company's favourite theatre artists working in Toronto. Experience more of the company's 20th anniversary season here.
Best restaurant in the city?
I enjoy my neighbourhood sandwich joint, Mom and Pops, at the corner of Esplanade and Berkeley. It's run by friends and neighbours of mine – Paul and Carrie. They are lovely people and it's great seeing their teenage kids rolling up their sleeves and slapping together sandwiches.
What is your Toronto 'hidden gem'?
The Saturday Dinette at 807 Gerrard Street East at Logan. Delightful, delicious whole food cooking. The Saturday Dinette is run by Suzanne Barr who has fashioned her business into a social enterprise mentoring and transitioning young women.
Best place in Toronto for a post-show celebration?
Han Kook Kwan, also known as Korean Village 628 Bloor Street West is a special place for all of us at Kim's Convenience. It's one of the oldest Korean restaurants in the downtown Koreatown, and when we were doing the show at the Fringe in 2011, we gathered there and ate and ate and ate, and have returned there as a company a number of times.
While shooting the TV series on one of our rare location shoot days, the producers very generously arranged for lunch at Han Kook Kwan. Many of our crew had never had Korean food before, much less Kalbi, Korean beef short ribs that is one of our culinary signature dishes. That was a GREAT meal, like Thanksgiving in summer.
Describe yourself in three words:
Mom who acts.
What travel destination is on your bucket list and why?
I really want to visit Korea again with my father and my son. I haven't been back to Korea in 30 years and that last time I went my relatives basically put me under house arrest because they thought a young woman like me might get kidnapped or something. I couldn't see or do anything. My father is 86 so it's soon or never.
What are you looking forward to most in 2017?
So much! I'm looking forward to shooting season two of Kim's Convenience. Virtually the entire crew is back and oh we've got a great team of kind, funny, smart creative people. I'm also very much looking forward to taking the stage play to the Pershing Square Signature Theatre in New York.
Last great #theaTO show you saw?
I managed to catch Kirsten Thompson's The Wedding Party produced by Crow’s Theatre. Delightful, hilarious, an evening of joyful absurdity. I was also lucky enough to see Come From Away – moving, funny, efficient storytelling with spine-tingling moments. Laughter and tears. Gorgeous work.
Do you have any backstage traditions?
In many shows I'll find myself developing backstage rituals with other actors that get more and more complex as the run goes on. When Cle Bennet was doing Kim's Convenience, we developed a backstage sequence of rituals that started with a high five and developed into rather involved sequence with dance moves. We had no scenes together onstage, but backstage, we developed a choreographic masterpiece. It makes me happy just thinking about it.
Rituals are like wishes. They need to stay secret or they lose their power.
What's next for you?
This next year is all about Kim's Convenience, the stage play and the television show. I'm with Soulpepper in Toronto in February, at the Segal Centre in Montreal in March, then in New York for the first two weeks of July. We'll begin shooting the second season of Kim's at the end of June, Paul Sun-Hyung Lee (Appa) and I will dash off for two weeks to do the play, and then the rest of the summer we'll be on set working very, very hard.