Next up in our series of cast interviews is Julie Kuwabara who plays Pucha Gonzaga.
What is your pre-show ritual?
Arriving early to relax into the space. Taking a quiet moment to ground and give myself a pep talk "to let go of expectations and to have fun while on stage." My post-show ritual is getting into pajamas, drinking a hot cup of tea and snuggling with my dog Lambie.
Tell us about your character.
Pucha Gonzaga has lived a life of privilege in Manila. She's excited to see her cousin Rio who she hasn't seen in over 14 years. It's a bittersweet homecoming for Rio and Pucha but she's determined to make the best of Rio's visit. Pucha is a person who loves opulence and who will do whatever it takes to maintain her luxury lifestyle. Pucha allows me to embrace my inner-mean girl and diva.
What was it like working with Jessica Hagedorn?
Having Jessica in the rehearsal room was amazing. I loved listening to her stories about living in Manila and the people she based her characters off of. These extra stories helped us to understand the world of Dogeaters and dig deeper into our characters. The best experience was taking Jessica out for her despedida at a local Filipino restaurant "Patio Filipino"
What has the rehearsal process been like for you?
I've told friends it's been "boot camp" rehearsals, one of the fastest and intense proccess I've been a part of and I've loved every minute of it. Everyone has been focused to bring this epic story to life. It's been awesome to watch how the show has progressed we've all done in this short amount of time and it's only going to get better and richer with every performance.
Have you seen/read anything (shows, concerts, movies, books, art) lately that really spoke to you? Why?
Alleluia, The Road by Luis Alfaro performed by Campo Santo and Our Town by Thornton Wilder performed by Shotgun Players are two of my favorite shows. Alleluia, I walked out of the show asking myself, "What rock had I been under, that I had not seen a Camp Santo show before Alleluia?" I was blown away with the acting and the story of a bizarre and surreal road trip. Our Town, I fell in love with the characters and the casting of the show. The last scene when the theatre turned into a dark quiet starry night in Grover's Corners was just pure magic. Both shows continue to inspire my journey as a storyteller.