Abrielle Kuo is a bilingual actress, dancer, and songwriter from Taipei, Taiwan. She moved to the United States in 2012. Her dance credits include Common Ground Dance Team (Irvine, CA) and Academy of Villains (Los Angeles, CA). Her Off-Broadway theatre credits include Martin E. Segal Theatre Center, Dixon Place, Hudson Guild Theater, Chelsea Repertory Theatre, and so on. Her creative interests focus on the human interactions that examine sexual identities and cultural differences. Upcoming: Cartography premieres at the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. in January 2019.
Meet the Artist: NY Elite Interview with the talented actress and dancer Abrielle Kuo
NY Elite: What are you latest and current projects?
Abrielle Kuo: “Cartography” premieres at the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. in January 2019. It’s a play inspired by the stories of immigrant and refugee youth from around the world. We explore the ongoing human movement around the globe, the dynamics of cultural exchange and the intertwining identities.
NY Elite: Can you tell us about your creative process of this project?
Abrielle Kuo:It is a self-reflective journey. Our writer Christopher Myers crafted monologues based on the words and personal stories of each actor. I constantly have to revisit my decision of moving to the US. There are excitements and fears that have always existed in every present moment of my life. This creative process, at first, is extremely overwhelming to me, because it’s like I’m doing a deep dive on my personhood from age of 18 to 24. One moment I could feel terrified, and then the next moment I feel embraced by the innocence and ambition I had. The most thrilling part is definitely using my own story as an advocacy of youth immigrants and refugees around the world.
NY Elite: What was it like working with the director?
Abrielle Kuo: I look up to our director Kaneza Schaal as a smart and intelligent sister! She has this bright and honest energy that draws people together. Her vision is clear and empowering. We are all invited to participate in the process of adjusting the theatricality in every segment of the play. She gives directions like slowly dragging the slider of where we position our microscope in the texts. I always find an unique and integral place from the notes she gives me. I believe that interesting work comes from trusting each other’s potential. Every time I work with Kaneza it feels like something new and loyal is being discovered.
NY Elite: Among all your roles so far, which has been your favorite one and why?
Abrielle Kuo: Three years ago, I played Heather in Ventura, a play written by Julian Giat and directed by Knud Adams. I had the privilege to fully immerse myself with the reality of the play at the time. Creating a character to me is just like creating a life. I spent a lot of time exploring Heather’s interior world and her self-love. I took her out on dates and developed her personalities during her day-to-day activities. It is more difficult to do that now because I’ve expanded my artistic interests and been juggling multiple projects. I love all my roles but Heather is definitely my favorite because of the pure attention I dedicated to her life.
NY Elite: What do you enjoy most about your acting career?
Abrielle Kuo: People. The human element in every project I’ve worked on has always been the most exciting part. Every time after I finish creating a piece of art, I look back and realize the human connection and memories are what’s meaningful. My creative journal grows with me. The people make my work alive every time, whether it’s during the creative process or the sharing. I think truly engaging with another human being is a celebratory act.
NY Elite: What other hobbies and interests do you have?
Abrielle Kuo: In my own time, I like to listen to different music, sounds, and beats. I used to dance and choreograph at least 4-5 hours a day. For a long time it was all just for playing and entertaining myself. Now I’ve really come to appreciate my own time being creative. To me, they are the strongest part in my craft. Imagination and creativity are skills that you have to sharpen consistently. Currently, my biggest hobby is making delicious and healthy breakfast 🙂
NY Elite: Are you working on your next project now?
Abrielle Kuo: I’m producing my debut EP these days and am looking for musicians to collaborate with! I’ve written a lot in the past and finally am ready to organize them. I would love to connect with lyricists, poets, musicians, and just people with intriguing thoughts on different music.
NY Elite: What personal advice would you give to someone about impressing the directors during audition? How to audition?
Abrielle Kuo: Relax. Be willing to serve and share. You can never “force” yourself to get cast. It takes time to let yourself facilitate your skills and intelligence. You can impress people in the audition room by anything you do that you put a little extra thought on it! It’s never about doing more. It’s about the precision. The common ground is the project we both are going to create. I tell myself to try my best to be on the same page with them.
NY Elite: What causes/charities you actively support or feel strongly about?
Abrielle Kuo: I would say POC and mental health would be the two large spectrums. I think many causes and charities are intersected. I did two stage readings on LGBTQ related plays this year. What I learn from the playwrights’ voices also impact the way I care about POC and mental health.
NY Elite: What are the things in your life that you’re most grateful for?
Abrielle Kuo: Time, choices, and the people who give me the choices. I think about how privileged I am sometimes because of the time and choices laid out in front of me. The choices change over time because of different responsibilities in life. Being able to choose is a luxury to a lot of people.