After originating the role of Ray in Berkeley Rep's world premiere production of Julia Cho's food and family drama Aubergine, Tim Kang makes his off-Broadway debut in Playwrights Horizons' acclaimed mounting. Kang (known to TV audiences as Kimball Cho in The Mentalist) stars as Ray, a chef trying to come to terms with his dying father and his own struggling relationships.
BroadwayBox caught up with Kang to discuss what drew him to Aubergine, his go-to Seamless order, and his set souvenir from The Mentalist.
1. What was it about the show that spoke to you when you first read the script? Why did you have to be a part of it?
When I first read the play, at some level, I understood what it was trying to say. Not everyone gets it nor are they willing to go to the places necessary to understand it. But when I read it, I got it. I understood it on a visceral level that spoke to me and made me want to be a part of it in any way that I could. It's a play about food and death but in reality, the play is about LIFE. The life that we have, the life that we are living day-to-day, the life that we share with others.
This was the message that I wanted to be a part of and what I wanted to share with others.
2. What’s your go-to Seamless order? Or if you’re more of a chef, like Ray, what’s your signature dish?
It depends on the day. Occasionally it'll be a really nice restaurant but most of the time, my Seamless orders are just good New York pizza.
3. What line or moment from the show do you find yourself thinking about most outside the theatre?
I think there are two lines that really stick out for me and they happen in the same scene. "Lucien" says, "As humans, we spend the vast majority of our time feeling alone, apart, other". Which is so appropriate for the times we are living in. We don't talk to each other anymore; we are in a group, looking at our phones and checking our emails and text messages and not talking to the people that are sitting next to us. It's sort of self inflicted.
The other is, when "Lucien" says "We hold the hands of the dying. But we are not the ones holding their hands, they are the ones holding ours." In the situations where we are fortunate enough to be with our loved ones when they pass, we think we are concerned about them when, in fact, they could be the ones concerned about us and how we are feeling at that moment. It's a beautiful sentiment.
4. Did you keep any souvenirs from the set of The Mentalist?
Haha, no. I didn't end up taking anything after 7 seasons except for photos and the memories from a great 7 years.
That's not true. I took the back of my set chair that had my name on it. I mean, come on, it had my name on it. Ha!
5. What play totally rocked your world the first time you saw it?
It was a production called K.I. from Crime. It was a Russian production that was playing in Moscow when I was studying there. It told the story of Katerina Ivanovna from Crime and Punishment, from her point of view. The actress playing Katerina absolutely blew me away. She made an impact on me that I didn't know an actor could make on an audience member, until I saw her work. I strive for that every day.
Hurry to Playwrights Horizon to see Tim Kang in 'Aubergine' through October 2.