Interested in learning more about actress and playwright Sun Mee Chomet after watching her recent segment? Read on for her perspective on diversity in the arts, the Twin Cities theater community, adoption and more!
(And click here for more information on her one-night-only August 17 performance of How to Be a Korean Woman.)
I originally wanted to be either a gymnast or a pianist, but I realized acting was a lot more fun, and now as I get older I think I’m an actor just because there are so many stories that need to be told, and that’s kinda why I’ve ventured into playwriting as well. As an Asian American actor, you tend towards writing in order to create parts that are not written yet. And I feel passionate about that—about telling stories from the diversity of what it means to be “American.”
What’s special about the Twin Cities is not only the diversity of wonderful, incredible theater makers and artistic directors, but that these are people who become your friends. I felt like in New York, if I disappeared, no one would notice. In the Twin Cities, your fellow artists and colleagues not only want to see you, want to work with you; they want to see you thrive.
I would walk around the streets of Manhattan and dream about coming back to the Twin Cities. I knew I wanted to create my own work. And I knew I wanted to have the time and support and energy to be able to write, and especially create work for Asian American women. In NY, it’s just pounding the pavement, auditioning for Rape Victim Number 3 on Law and Order. It was not very satisfying. The Twin Cities was always a place that I felt supported artists, so I wanted to come back.
The most recent play I’ve written is How to Be A Korean Woman. I felt a need to write this play to process my search and reunion with my birth family in 2010. So often in plays about adoption, it’s this happy coming home story; how life in the States is great. I really wanted to give life to my birth family and the emotional turmoil on that end. As an adoptee, you end up kind of internalizing all of that emotional turmoil. And as much as I am grateful, I’m also really confused and upset. It really challenges every idea I have about what family means, even as an adult!
I do draw comparisons between my search for my birth family and my search for my identity as an artist. It’s about finding your authentic voice and figuring out who you are. The more you know your own biography, the better you’re going to be as an artist.
I feel like I am constantly aware of how little time there is. There’s so much I want to do, and there’s so much I want to say, and there’s so much I want to create with other artists. I don’t want to waste any time. Not because I want to get to a certain place, but because there are so many stories I want to tell.