Five Friday Questions with Sara Porkalob

Sara Porkalob is a Seattle-based performer and director specializing in original work, site-specific performance and arts activism. She’s worked with 5th Ave, Artswest, Annex Theater, Seattle Public Theater, Taproot, Seattle Rep and many others. She can be seen currently in Book­-It’s production of Emma in the role of Jane Fairfax. Her critically acclaimed one-woman show, Dragon Lady, played to a packed house at last year’s Bumbershoot and she’s bringing it back for a three-show run at PrimaVera Arts Center starting this Sunday.

In February she’ll be directing the new play Do It for Umma by Seayoung Yim at Annex and in March her new one-woman show, Dragon Lady: I’m Going To Kill You, premieres as part of Seattle Fringe Festival. 
Porkalob joined me for this week’s installment of Five Friday Questions.

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

FKA Twigs’s live performance at the 2015 Mobo Awards, because her aesthetic is specific and electric—all she-power, sexy as hell and defiant of all the male gazers out there.

A performance of a different kind has also stuck with me this last month: Jonah Lomu, the famous All Blacks rugby player, unexpectedly
passed away last month and thousands of mourners attended a tribute where his former teammates bade him farewell with a haka. Their tribute was devastating and beautiful, a legendary player sent off with his ancestral war cry.

What’s the best meal in Seattle?

Brunch at my digs. You bring the champagne, I’ll bring the grindz (pidgin slang for dank food). I don’t roll with toast or cereal in my house, we do brekkie Islander style: kimchi fried rice, garlicky meats/eggs/tofu, steamed greens.

Though, if you’re looking for other delicious bites check out Suika on Capitol Hill, a Japanese Izakaya spot. I strongly suggest any of the tako or saba dishes, the seafood there is fresh to death.

What music gets you pumped up?

More than any specific type of music, I watch hip­hop choreography videos to get pumped; throw down a Filipino feast, destroy the patriarchy, etc. Tricia Miranda is one of my favorite choreographers and her recent Youtube choreo videos to Missy Elliot’s “WTF” and Chris Porter’s “The Water Dance” are my current jam.

Also, the Hamilton soundtrack. I figure if I listen to it a million times, I’ll eventually be cast in the national tour (are you reading this, Lin-­Manuel?!)

What do you listen to when you’re sad?

I simply remember my favorite things! Oh, and 4th wave feminist podcasts.

What’s the most crucial element of any production and why?

Dude, the audience. Is it performance without an audience? It isn’t. Without them, you have no point of reference, no context. You’re a tree falling in the forest and no one cares.

What’s the most useful thing anyone’s ever taught you about performing?

Everything is a choice. You can choose to memorize your lines word-perfect, take a better paying gig over your stipend dream role, call out institutional racism in a reputed theater company. When everything is a choice, you must be deliberate, thoughtful, and specific with your words, actions, and thoughts. I don’t know that any one person taught me this—every single person I interact with reinforces this.