Playwright Spotlight: Seayoung Yim

Cantaloupe, [Quickies 15, April – May 2014, and Cupcake Reading Series, Sept. 2013]


Where did the idea for Cantaloupe come from?
The Live Girls! short play challenge required us to write a play dealing with the themes of magic and or science. It was hard for me to think of something, so I asked my roommate, friends, coworkers, and strangers if they had any magical or scientific ideas I could use.  I knew I wanted the setting to be in a supermarket. One friend suggested that a cantaloupe rolls down an aisle. So naturally, I decided: cantaloupes equal magic.

What was your favorite moment in working on this piece?
My favorite moments in working on this play was sitting at a picnic table and getting so many ideas from my generous friends. I tried to incorporate as many of them as possible. It was a real community effort. I also had fun writing with an assigned theme because it forced me to creatively write about something I normally would not have chosen.

What projects are you currently working on?
I am working on revising my first full-length play about a Korean American family. I am going to take a playwriting class to keep me accountable to writing. I am also writing some copy for the Seattle Asian American Film festival for their website.

Finish the sentence- “I love theater that…”
I love theater that surprises me and makes me forget about that to-do checklist in the back of my head.

Who is your current artist crush (any discipline)?
I love Stephanie Timm’s writing. She is also a very amazing and nurturing teacher who has opened my eyes to so many cool plays, unusual playwriting structures, and dialogue conventions. The feedback I get from her and my classmates have been invaluable to my development.

Other artist crushes include poets Lucille Clifton and Marge Piercy.

What was the best advice you were given as a theater artist?
The best piece of advice I have gotten about playwriting is that it is really important to have work read out loud. I have always been mortified and slightly nauseous when I know my work is about to be read. But I have realized getting feedback is crucial to improving my writing because the audience hears and sees things that I would never even have imagined. They really help flesh out the world of the play to make it more real.

What is the one thing you know as an artist now that you wish you could tell your younger self?
Stop worrying about whether or not your writing sucks. Just keep writing and try to have fun with it. Dang, why are so serious all the time? Just relax.

Outside of theater, what are you really into right now?
I am really into Asian American issues, social justice, and anti-oppression work.

What is your favorite and least favorite word?
Favorite word: “moist” because so many people hate it, and because it makes me think of cake mix.

Least favorite word: How about the phrase “the human condition”? That phrase does nothing for me.

Any other thoughts you’d like to share? (About Live Girls! Theater, Love, Life, Puppies, Ponies…really – anything at all?)
I am so grateful to Live Girls! and Meghan Arnette for taking a chance on me and hosting my first public reading (where people actually have to pay to see my work!). This reading is one the biggest highlights of my whole year.  I am so excited!

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Seayoung Yim holds a BA in Drama from the University of Washington. She has studied playwriting at ACT Theater.  She and her playwriting classmates formed SPARK New Play Lab to organize readings of their new work. She has volunteered with Macha Monkey Productions helping with props, box office, and assistant stage-managing.  Her community affiliations include: local Korean American organization Sahngnoksoo, ACLF Community Leaders Program, and Social Justice Fund Northwest’s Next Generation Giving Project.