Uncovering a New Dimension: Director Peter J. Kuo on the Making of In Love and Warcraft (Part Two)

By Allie Moss
Click here to read Part One of this profile. 
Originally, In Love and Warcraft was conceived as an in-person production to take place with A.C.T.’s MFA students in May 2020. But in the midst of the pandemic, A.C.T.’s Conservatory was forced to “pivot” and mount the show online instead. The May production did much more than fulfill the curricular need for student performance; it inspired a remount co-production from A.C.T. and Perseverance Theater, and it birthed a new medium that Kuo calls “live video theater.” 
“Live video theater” is exactly what it sounds like: theater, happening on video, streaming live. And that live element is key; it’s what makes this form distinct from recorded videos of past theater productions. “When you’re watching something live versus recorded, the brain activates in a way that goes, ‘okay, something can happen,’” Kuo says. “That’s what I think liveness does; it allows us to be more forgiving, and lean into theatrical convention.” To facilitate…

Uncovering a New Dimension: Director Peter J. Kuo on the Making of In Love and Warcraft (Part One)

By Allie Moss

Madhuri Shekar’s In Love and Warcraft is a play for our times. While there’s no mention of a pandemic, it expertly draws out questions of intimacy and relationship-building in virtual space. The play centers on Evie, a college senior who is navigating a budding in-person romance alongside an online relationship with her long-distance gamer boyfriend, with whom she plays World of Warcraft. By rehearsing and presenting the production on Zoom, life mirrors art as six of A.C.T.’s MFA actors are tasked with reaching through the screen to create deep connections. Peter J. Kuo, the production’s director, is profoundly aware of this overlap. “It’s not just that [the show] translates well into the online medium,” he says. “It actually shows that internet relationships have meaning and are palpable.” 

This play resonates for Kuo in part because he has personal experience building relationships over the internet. “My main introduction to the internet was through an online game,” Kuo…

Envisioning the Future: An Interview with Peter J. Kuo

By A.C.T. Publications Team 
Peter J. Kuo is a director, producer, writer, and educator focused on raising the visibility of marginalized communities. As social justice programs coordinator at The New School, he founded the NSD: Affinity Groups program and was involved with several EDI initiatives. He is the co-founder of Artists at Play, a Los Angeles Asian American Theatre Collective. As a director, he has worked at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, East West Players, South Coast Rep., Geffen Playhouse, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, Leviathan Lab, Ma-Yi Theater Company, Pan Asian Repertory Theatre, and others. He was recently named one of Theatre Communications Group's Rising Leaders of Color.

We are so excited to have you at A.C.T., Peter! What drew you to this role? 
I had just received my MFA in directing from The New School when I heard from A.C.T.’s new artistic director, Pam MacKinnon, who I’ve known for nearly six years. She knew that I w…

Learning to Trust Yourself: An Interview with Kimberly Hollkamp-Dinon

By Livian Yeh

Hailing from Jeffersonville, Indiana, Kimberly Hollkamp-Dinon attended A.C.T.’s Summer Training Congress after graduating from college. “I immediately fell in love with the learning and training environment, and with the community here at A.C.T.,” she says. “I knew it was a place in which I could thrive.” Three years later, Hollkamp-Dinon has grown in technique, confidence, and artistry. We caught up with her to chat about her time in the MFA program, embracing her weirdness, and her love of The Great British Bakeoff.

What's your favorite part of the MFA Program?
Definitely my classmates. I have learned so much from my fellow ensemble members of the class of 2020. I’m so grateful to work with them and learn from them. I have found lifelong collaborators in this group of artists. One of my favorite projects was when we all worked on a production of The School for Scandal directed by [MFA Program Head of Voice] Christine Adaire. We worked rigorously on our script analys…

The Negro Leagues: Toni Stone in Historical Context

By A.C.T. Publications Staff
Have you ever heard of the New York Black Yankees? What about the Homestead Grays, Baltimore Black Barons, or Cincinnati Tigers? From the 1880s until the 1950s, there were two professional baseball systems in the United States: one for white players, and another for Black Americans. Both contributed to the development of the modern game and baseball industry. This year, 2020, marks the centennial of the Negro Leagues, which was founded by Andrew “Rube” Foster,  retired pitcher and owner of the Chicago American Giants, in February 1920 to “create a profession that would equal the earning capacity of any other profession . . . keep Colored baseball from the control of whites . . . [and] do something concrete for the loyalty of the Race.”
The 1943 Homestead Grays lineup included several future Hall of Fame players: Cool Papa Bell (back second from left), Josh Gibson (back fifth from left), and Buck Leonard (back second from right). Photo courtesy of the Negro L…

Seeking the Magic: An Interview with Lily Harris

By Livian Yeh

After graduating from Reed College with a degree in English, Lily Harris entertained career paths in teaching, academia, and horseback riding, but ultimately landed on acting. Learning about A.C.T.’s MFA program from a friend and eager to improve her craft, the Los Angeles native auditioned and was accepted as part of our class of 2020. She talks to us about her time in the program, her inspiration, and finding joy in life as an artist.

How have you grown in your artistry in the past three years being in the MFA Program? I am so much more confident in sharing myself with others. I think I started acting because I felt it gave me permission to show parts of myself I didn’t feel comfortable sharing in everyday life. Although that is definitely still true, one of the most important lessons I’ve learned is that the only person who can give you permission to do or be something is you. I am much more conscious of when I am hindered by fear or the desire to do something “right” i…