Helen Young in Caught

May 9, 2016

Helen acts in Christopher Chen's Caught, directed by Seth Bockley for Sideshow Theatre. Caught opens May 29, 2016 and runs through Jul 3, 2016.

I grew up in Chicago and its suburbs and have chosen Chicago as my home. My family and community is here. I was born in Hong Kong and emigrated to the US when I was 1 year old. I was an exchange student while in college in Hong Kong and have some great friends whom I visit regularly there. I love love love to travel. I majored in English Literature at university. Then, I went back to school to get training in computer science as I decided an LAS degree was not going to support the things I want to do, like pursue the arts and travel - a lot. I have worked in the Tech sector for my day job and find that it's a great balance between that and my pursuits as an artist. At times it is very challenging from a timing perspective. I have to time slice very often and some times have to make tough choices with my time. I started taking acting classes in 2005. Then, I stopped acting for a couple of years while my father was sick in 2006. I got back into theatre in 2008 and have been studying the craft steadily since. In the last couple of years, I've come to the conclusion that to really affect change for diversity on stage I need to move beyond the powerless position of actor. So, I recently started to learn about directing. I love it. (I need to add that it all started with Mia Park inviting me to direct her in her 6 minute piece about a story from her Korean family history. I will always be grateful to her for that.) There is so much satisfaction I get directing/collaborating with other artists to shape stories that provide, hopefully, a fulfulling experience for the audience --fulfilling because the time we shared challenges a preconception or illumines a thread of life that my not have been contemplated before. I absolutely love that about the power of stories. And the theatrical story-telling experience is unlike other story-telling forms. There is a physical exchange of energy between the work and the audience. That excites me. Of course, I do not intend to stop acting. I think that as a woman, it is important to be multi-disciplined in a chosen focus.

In scene 3, I am Wang Min, an artist from Hong Kong, China (origin was a back story we created during rehearsal). She wrote scenes 1 and 2 and is now being interviewed (scene 3) about the work we just saw in scenes 1 and 2. She is very confident in her world view that takes a lot from Buddhism. In fact, much of her line of reasoning is anti-duality. She is very eager to share a view of the world that can hold multiple views in balance. She challenges a world view that is only about right or wrong. She finds that prevents us from seeing the bigger picture because we get so obsessed by the right/wrong of details that we end up in rabbit holes and lose the bigger picture of the actual human experience. In scene 4, Wang Min is an actor /writer (from San Franciso, backstory created in rehearsal) who loves her co-collaborator Lin. They have a very comfortable collaborative and combative relationship. But, they need each other. They have gone through a lot together and arguing about who has the upper hand in point of view should not be the point. They are in the here and now and that is what should matter.

I will only touch on Scene 3 for this. As an artist with an Eastern world view, it is very challenging to share that view in the manner a typical priest may challenge her disciples without a western audience seeing this challenge as being arrogant and "toying with" the "disciple." But, in some of my research on monk/disciple relationships and even as I consider Chinese culture, this is a model that has occurred over and over (if you've every seen a classic Chinese kung fu movie you know exactly what I'm talking about). A teacher seemingly antagonizes a pupil in order to help the people leap to the next level of understanding. The end goal is truly to push the pupil to move past wrong architectures in order to rebuild from another point of view. I think that model/archetype is challenging to get across as it is very difficult for a western audience. It is very normal  to see the teacher's tactics as abusive or manipulative. Now, that is not to say the teacher doesn't enjoy the manipulation. We all get a rush from power, regardless of where we were born :) But, in the end it is not power for power's sake. The end goal is a new beginning :)

For Wang, when she sees that the curator is finally letting go and finally seeking from a place of uncertainty, she is truly joyful and excited to share the secret of the box...and journey and the freedom of nothing to hold on to!

Thank you for supporting theatre that seeks to share in diversity. That means a ton to me. And so much gratefulness to Side Show for this season of diversity in theatre.

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Mia Park
Mia Park shares her passion of discovery through teaching yoga and acting. Currently studying acupuncture and Chinese medicine, Mia is also a producer, writer, motivator, and celebrator of life. Mia has lived in Chicago for over twenty years and calls this city that works her home.

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DePaul student Harmony Zhang ​acts in The House of Bernarda Alba​​ by Federico García Lorca, directed by Jeremy Aluma​. ​Lorca’s final play set in the provincial Andalusia, Spain, ignites with the funeral service of Bernarda Alba’s second husband. Ever determined that her five grown daughters maintain a house of honor, Bernarda declares they will have an eight-year mourning period of absolute seclusion. When the eldest daughter receives a large inheritance, potentially sweeping her away from this fate and into an engagement with a handsome bachelor, conflict brews among the sisters repressed by Bernarda’s rule. Set in a time of tumultuous political climate, this story explores the underbelly of what happens when a tyrant seizes power. The House of Bernarda Alba runs Tuesday through Saturday at 7:30 PM, and Saturday and Sunday at 2:00 PM November 7, through November 12, 2017. Free tickets can be reserved on October 27, 2017 at noon at the box office, by calling 773-325-7900, or emailing theatreboxoffice@depaul.edu. Press Opening is Wednesday, November 8, 2017 at 7:30 PM. **Preview is Tuesday, November 7, 2017 at 7:30 PM. The House of Bernarda Alba will be performed in Room 403 of The Theatre School at DePaul University at 2350 N Racine Ave, Chicago, IL 60614 What's your personal story? I grew up in Tucson, Arizona as one of very few Chinese Americans in my neighborhood. I remember that my sister and I were the only Chinese kids in my whole elementary school. However, my family attended a Chinese church in downtown Tucson, and I also attended Tucson Chinese School where I learned to read and write Mandarin Chinese. I’m very thankful for the persistence that my parents had to have my sister and me grow up learning Chinese and holding on to our ethnic culture. However, growing up, I felt like I was never fully Chinese nor fully American. I didn’t feel the need to blend in with the other kids, but I also desired to connect better with others. An opportunity came up in kindergarten when the entire grade put on a show for the whole school. This was the first time that I felt like I was part of a team, part of a larger group effort to create something fun and beautiful. I remember that year, our production was called ‘To the Future and Beyond,’ and I sang the final solo of the show. In middle school and high school, I continued to take drama classes whenever possible. I loved learning about the lives of people so different from me, memorizing my lines, and sharing those stories with audiences. In college at Duke University, I decided to major in Psychology and Theater Studies, and also performed in three of the Theater Department’s Mainstage shows. Currently, I’m in my second year of my MFA in Acting program at The Theatre School at DePaul University. What's your character's story in "The House of Bernarda Alba”? My character’s name is Angustias, which means anguish or distress. She is the eldest unmarried daughter of Bernarda Alba and is already 39. Angustias is the sole daughter of Bernarda Alba’s former husband, while the rest of her sisters are the daughters of Antonio Maria Benavides, the man they are all mourning at the top of the show. Angustias’ father was rich, so when Antonio Maria Benavides dies and the property must be divided, Angustias’ share of the estate is much larger than that of her sisters. This wealth that Angustias has is then attractive to Pepe, who is trying to marry her, and while Angustias truly believes that he loves her for her, she really just wants to be loved and free from the oppression and alienation she feels within the walls of Bernarda’s house. What challenges does your character face telling this story? Angustias is constantly struggling with the antagonistic energy she receives from her sisters. 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Angustias overcomes her challenges of alienation towards the end of the play when she risks being judged by her mother and sisters by being more vulnerable, and seeking to find the truth, even if she gets hurt in the end. Any other comments? I hope that this play helps audience members to be thankful for the people in life who love them, to hold them close, and to try to understand each other instead of being blinded by individual desires. Why not work together? Why not be a team and create something beautiful? Life is too short not to make the most of it every day. Thank you so much for your time!
Mia Park