Korean actress Kahyun Kim stars in Bekah Brunstetter’s ‘hey brother’

November 28, 2014
Kim Kahyun in "hey brother" at Son of Semele in Los Angeles. (Photo by Joseph Bornilla)

Kahyun Kim in “hey brother” at Son of Semele in Los Angeles. (Photo by Joseph Bornilla)

By Tae Hong

Inside Son of Semele theater in Los Angeles, a tale of two brothers — one a history grad student and the other an unraveling, lovesick financial planner — and their conflicted relationship unfolds in Bekah Brunstetter’s “hey brother,” produced by FRESH PRODUCE’d LA.

Caught in the middle is Kris, played by 24-year-old Korean actress Kahyun Kim, who comes into the brothers’ lives looking for her a family in which she can belong.

Last seen on stage in June in the Alice Tuan-written play “Hit,” Juilliard Drama School-trained Kim said she was thrilled to be back performing in front of a live audience after a TV gig as Sammi the nanny on NBC’s “Mysteries of Laura” and to be working with Lucas Dixon (Isaac) and Graham Outerbridge (Ben), her fellow cast members.

“When I knew Bekah was doing a new play that had a young Asian girl role, I approached her personally to read the script,” Kim said. “I fell in love with the story and the journey that each character had.”

The play, which premiered for the first time on Nov. 21, will run Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through Dec. 14 with the exception of Thanksgiving weekend.

Kris is a half-Chinese, half-Korean adoptee who, neglected by her busy adopted mother, begins to long for love and belonging in her own idea of a family.

Her desire to be unconditionally loved drives her actions, including one memorable — and climactic — scene that lands all three characters in a comprising situation on a couch, she said.

Lucas Dixon, Graham Outerbridge and Kahyun Kim in "hey brother." (Photo by Joseph Bornilla)

Lucas Dixon, Graham Outerbridge and Kahyun Kim in “hey brother.” (Photo by Joseph Bornilla)

Isaac is a principled, straight-laced guy; Ben, the wilder, accident-prone brother who is crushed after a broken engagement with an ex-girlfriend. Isaac quickly falls for Kris after meeting her at the library, but drama ensues during a drunken, booze-filled night the three share at Ben’s house.

The 90-minute play is set entirely in the living room of Ben’s house. It’s the three actors on stage who shine as they each struggle to grasp what may not be there through Brunstetter’s realistic dialogue and blunt characterization.

“[The story] is so real,” Kim said. “It’s a story about the brothers’ relationship together and separately, and a journey for a young adoptee girl who is discovering herself and the meaning of family. Their different journeys beautifully intertwine. I hope the audience are able to follow each story and relate to it.”

As for Kim off the stage, the navigation through Hollywood has just begun. She hopes to greet viewers through the television screen a lot more as she keeps working.

Through the past few months, Kim spent chunks of time between New York and Los Angeles as she picked up jobs, including a recurring role as rebellious nanny Sammi on NBC’s “Mysteries of Laura” in September and further appearances in Disney’s “Austin & Ally.” The road ahead is still a lesson in hard work and perseverance.

“I’m starting to enjoy the process of climbing to the top and am working very hard to get there,” she said. “I re-discovered my love and passion for acting from doing ‘hey brother’ this year, and now I’m ready to jump in and harness that into screen work.”

Son of Semele is located at 3301 Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90004. Visit www.sonofsemele.org for more information.

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