Interview with Karina Wen '20
JustArts: What drew you to “Hookman”?
Karina Wen: I was researching Asian American playwrights and I found it on Lauren Yee’s website. It’s just so much my sense of humor, and I love that it’s weird and creepy but it’s also about something. I was really passionate about it and I was picturing ways that I could … add to it. I had this really specific vision.
JA: What are some of those ideas that you had?
KW: The scene where Hookman kills Yoonji, we did as a dance number. That was one of the earliest things that I came up with. Also the music. The soundtrack was things that I chose that I felt fit the ambiance of the show. And the scene where Lexi is traveling home … and everyone around her starts moving in a really creepy way — that was another thing I was really proud of.
JA: “Hookman” has a lot of sensitive material. What was that like in the rehearsal space?
KW: It was really interesting. I tried to be really open about the content and [gave] the actors space to say how they felt. The humor, for example. Chloe makes all these racist comments about Korean people. And it’s kind of like, you laugh and then you’re like, “Wait, why am I laughing?”
JA: Were you at all worried about how this would be received given the climate on campus right now?
KW: I was definitely concerned, particularly in regards to the content about sexual assault, because that’s very relevant in current events right now. So I wanted to make it really clear … to the audience. We had content warnings and the pre-show announcement and everything. I think theater is a really important medium for thinking about things that are difficult to talk about and I think the fact that it is theatrical and that it can be nonlinear and unrealistic, it is something that can really help us in thinking about these topics.
JA: What’s your favorite line in the play?
KW: I really like when Jess says, “Maybe she just died, in general.”