Five Friday Questions with Meme Garcia

Meme Garcia Martha Tesema

Meme García is an actor and recent graduate of Seattle University.  She’s currently pulling a double header at the Intiman Theatre Festival with roles in John Baxter is a Switch Hitter (where her performance got a shout-out from Alice Gosti on last week’s 5 Fri Q) and The Children’s Hour, both ending September 27. This year she also appeared in Seattle Shakes’s Measure for Measure and she’s currently working on House of Sueños, a solo show that weaves together Shakespeare’s canon and her own memories and stories. In the midst of her two-show run at Intiman, Garcia joined me for this week’s Five Friday Questions.

What’s the best performance you’ve seen lately?

This is so hard! The idea that a performance can be the “best” is problematic to me because I believe that no matter what, art is always amazing. I mean, we created something from nothing AND THAT IS INSPIRING. So “best” is not my favorite word, because I try to always see art as what it is: life in process.

I have seen some dope art in the last couple of months. Feeling fortunate that I live in such an incredible town with many wonderful artists! I saw Freehold’s Emboldened/Unsung Jazz Heroes (with Central District Forum for Arts & Ideas and The Mahogany Project) a couple of weeks ago and it was mind-blowingly alive. The story is about the unsung, unrecognized jazz musician Buddy Bolden. Andre Reginald Jackson wrote and performed in the piece. Shout out to him, Aishe Keita and Tracey Hughes for proving once again actors are transformational and awesome spirits! The whole evening was fluid and precise at the same time. This production illustrates why theatre isn’t “dead”; it’s constantly moving, shifting, breathing and living. I cannot wait to see where the piece goes from here.

I am also sad I missed Painted Full of Tongues: An Examination of Rumor in Community directed by Kendra Lee at Cornish and performed/produced by Cornish alums. Always dope to hear of young artists making new work. I’ve seen a couple of things she’s worked on and her mind is on another level!

What’s the best meal in Seattle?

My go-to meal was always the “My Way or the Highway Buttermilk Fried Chicken” at the Kingfish but they closed! I am still grieving. As of right now, my favorite place for food/happy hour/hangout is the Mezcaleria Oaxaca on Capitol Hill and Queen Anne. Their drinks are insane (and made with Mezcal). Also their tacos al pastor are the bomb! Best Mexican food I’ve had in Seattle. Plus the restaurant itself is beautiful and all the servers are on point. 

What music gets you pumped up? What do you listen to when you’re sad?

When I’m preparing to go on stage I listen to music that puts me squarely in my body. Music I can dance to, music that just gets me outta my head. Cuz once I go in my head on stage, that’s it right? I’m pulled out. As an actor, I find a lot of what I do comes from my gut; my center. I mostly just try to hype myself up: “I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times)” by Jamie xx featuring Young Thug and Popcaan, “Make Me Proud” by Drake. Then I usually end it with “Happy Go Sucky Fucky” by Die Antwoord or “Werkin’ Girls” by Angel Haze. 

When I’m sad? I usually put on “Stranger/Lover” or “Oya” by Ibeyi. Their music feeds my soul! 

What’s the most crucial element of any production?

Dang that’s tough! I’m still learning a lot about theatre in general. Right now, I think table work is crucial, especially when working on classical or new work. It just helps for everyone in the cast to ask: “Why? Who? For what reason? And what does this all mean?” The more I know what I am saying and why I am saying it, the more I can trust my body and the work. That way, everyone is on the same page. It also helps to physicalize an abstract world. We know the stakes, we know who we are, and we know why we’re there in the room. 

What’s the most useful thing anyone’s ever taught you about working in theatre?

I learn a lot everyday. I’m lucky enough to be in a profession where I get to work alongside older artists who’ve seen and done it all. My mentor Rosa Joshi always told me, “Trust the work.” It’s hard, cuz here I am, on the brink of the rest of my life and I have no idea what I’m doing. And that’s terrifying. So when I hear “Trust the work,” it’s calming in a way, you know? Like, they’ve all been there too, and committing to a life of creating art is scary and sometimes feels like you’re staring into a giant abyss, but just trust what you’ve made, trust those that love you, and you’ll be alright.