Jean Yoon steps off the television screen onto the live stage for Talk is Free Theatre’s latest show, The Gamblers.
The actor currently stars in Kim’s Convenience, a CBC TV show about a Korean-Canadian family that runs a convenience store in Toronto. For The Gambler’s, Yoon is slated to play one of the leads, a male role, in a cast of seven.
“It’s been a long time since I did a stage play – four years ago – and I’ve never done a play like this,” said Yoon, who describes her character as a bit deceptive, much like the show itself. “He appears to be accommodating, harmless but I think he’s actually the one who is organizing it all, kind of like Usual Suspects, Kevin Spacey’s character who appears to not know anything.”
The Gamblers is one of three plays written by 1800s Russian dramatist Nikolai Gogol. It’s a comedy/satire about people who gamble, hustle and cheat and no-one is what they seem.
“I absolutely adore the writer,” said Arkady Spivak, artistic producer of TIFT. “It’s a fascinating play (and) does provoke serious stuff but it’s a lot of fun and an excellent story.”
Yoon has loved theater since high school. She enjoys the comradery of being a part of and working with a group of people where everyone counts.
“I love storytelling. For me, growing up, I didn’t know what my own story was,” she said. “I also loved performing.”
She started out in theatre, formed her own groups, has written original material and was successful as a published poet in her 20s. She is also known for producing and writing the Yoko Ono project, a multimedia art comedy performance work.
In 2000, she moved into television and film, where there was more work. It was also better for raising a child as a single mother because there was less travel and time away from home.
Born in Illinois, US, she moved to Toronto, with her family at the age of three. While she grew up in Toronto and calls it home today, she has lived in other cities in Canada, and spent two years in China, in the mid-1980s and again in the early ‘90s teaching English.
Yoon originated the role “Umma” in the Toronto Fringe production of Kim’s Convenience in 2011 and performed the show at Soulpepper Theatre, The Grand Theatre London, National Arts Centre, Theatre Calgary, Theatre Aquarius and the Capitol Theatre in Port Hope. Season three airs on Tuesday evenings and shooting for season four begins in May.
She appeared in TIFT’s show Prince of Homburg four years ago and is looking forward to coming back to Barrie.
The Gamblers unfolds from The Gamblers March 28 to April 6 at the Five Points Theatre in Barrie. Visit www.barrie.ca/theatretickets or call 705-792-1949 for more information.