Stage and display screen star Ken Leung previews ‘Evanston Salt Prices Climbing’ at Off-Broadway’s Pershing Sq. Signature Heart


NYC-born actor Ken Leung has had an acclaimed profession on display screen, from his 1998 skilled debut as Sang in Rush Hour, to such different well-liked roles Miles Straume in Misplaced, Admiral Statura in Star Wars: The Pressure Awakens, and presently as Eric Tao in HBO’s Business. He’s additionally been a notable presence on the stay stage. After first discovering performing in his junior yr at New York College, Leung started performing in downtown areas and black field theaters with teams like Ma-Yi Theater Firm and New Views. He then appeared within the Manhattan Theatre Membership manufacturing of Terrence McNally’s controversial Corpus Christi at New York Metropolis Heart in 1998, and made his Broadway debut within the musical Totally Fashionable Millie in 2002.

Ken Leung in Business. Photograph courtesy of HBO.

Leung has now returned to the NYC stage in The New Group’s Off-Broadway manufacturing of Evanston Salt Prices Climbing by Obie-winning Pulitzer Prize-nominated playwright Will Arbery, opening this month on the Pershing Sq. Signature Heart. Throughout this week of preview performances, Ken made time to reply some questions concerning the present, his expertise with it, and what audiences can take away from it.

Are you able to give our readers your perspective on the plot and significance of the play?

Ken: It’s a tough present to boil down. It speaks to our present second, after dwelling two to a few years in isolation, attempting to get by way of the day. It calls on us to take a look at the current second and the way we really feel about it. I do know that sounds very obscure however it’s a really particular person factor that speaks to proper now.

Ken Leung in rehearsal for Evanston Salt Prices Climbing. Photograph by Natalie Powers.

What do you discover most fascinating or relatable about your character?

I like that he’s a fighter. At first, he fights not to take a look at sure issues after which he fights his technique to face them.

Which qualities in Will Arbery’s signature type of writing do you admire?

On the web page it doesn’t appear like something. It’s complicated, it’s not apparent what it’s about. It wants excavation, it wants individuals for it to make sense. With individuals dwelling it, it makes very profound sense. And he writes the best way individuals discuss, with damaged ideas. Each “um” is written – it’s not that the actors are hesitating with their strains. Each giggle that’s a “ha ha” is deliberately not a “ha ha ha” – it’s very particular and explicit.

The solid and crew of Evanston Salt Prices Climbing: Jeb Kreager, Rachel Sachnoff, Will Arbery, Danya Taymor, Ken Leung, and Quincy Tyler Bernstine. Photograph by Natalie Powers.

You’ve mentioned you have been excited to be working with Danya Taymor. What’s her directorial imaginative and prescient bringing to the present?

It’s a unique type. For the primary hour of each rehearsal, we don’t even contact the script! It’s spent taking part in video games, speaking with one another, sharing reminiscences, bonding, and cultivating a way of play with the solid. She’s like guardian who accepts her kids for who they’re. She doesn’t impose on us or criticize our interpretations, she creates an atmosphere the place we’re free to discover, to seek out out, to work it out. She lets us uncover for ourselves, similar to a loving guardian does.

What do you’re keen on most and what do you discover difficult about stage versus display screen performing?

The largest problem is that each viewers is completely different, and to honor that and be current. Let’s say final night time went nice, however tonight, it’s one other viewers. They’re completely different and I’m completely different daily. It’s a altering room. That’s additionally what I really like most about it – that sense of, “Okay, who’re you proper now and who am I proper now?” As a New Yorker, life is so busy and fast-paced, and it’s too straightforward to get caught up in being on auto-pilot, to be indifferent, to test off the to-do record, so it’s a profound alternative to be completely concerned within the current and reply to it.

Many thanks, Ken, for sharing your insights with our readers. It was a pleasure to speak to you; I look ahead to seeing the present.

Working Time: Roughly 95 minutes, with out intermission.

Evanston Salt Prices Climbing performs by way of Sunday, December 18, 2022, at The New Group, acting at The Pershing Sq. Signature Heart, 480 West 42nd Avenue, NYC. For tickets (beginning at $65, plus charges), name (917) 935-4242, or go on-line. Everybody should put on a masks inside.


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