Shu-Ling Hergenhahn-Zhao, 26, is one of the many actors involved in “These Seven Sicknesses,” Sean Graney’s epic undertaking of staging all seven surviving Sophocles tragedies, on stage at the iDiOM Theater now through Nov. 2.
Hergenhahn-Zhao attended Meridian High School and Whatcom Community College and received STOTT Pilates instructor training in Seattle.
I’m also a member of the Northwest Passage Theater Collective Theater LAB, which may be one of the best opportunities I’ve been given. (The LAB trains hard and plays harder.)
I personally just like making things happen. Getting a group of people together to roll up their sleeves and bring a production to life is magical, stressful, and beautiful. Whether I’m acting or mixing quarts of stage blood or applying a prosthetic to someone, it’s all about contributing to that singular vision of the play. We all collaborate on this happening, and when the lights go up on opening night, it becomes a gift to everyone present.
I feel like iDiOM’s work also challenges audiences to reflect on life. Something as benign as a one-woman film- noir-clown show is laced with a commentary on gender roles during the post-war era as well as how we continue to play into those stereotypes today. The conversations iDiOM is constantly willing to have with their audiences about the human condition is remarkable.
That’s not to say that Bellingham isn’t full of folks creating challenging performances. We have amazing organizations producing challenging work like Kuntz & Company and Bellingham Theaterworks, but iDiOM is the only dedicated space that is putting up 40-plus of those shows this year. That might also mean we’re the most sleep deprived, but you win some, you lose some.
The entire evening is a 4.5-hour marathon that the audience will run with us. There are epic fights, beautiful words, bloody deaths, and a surprising amount of lighthearted humor.
If none of that has you jumping out of your seat to get in line, then let me just say that this group of actors is one I feel incredibly blessed to be counted among.
I leave rehearsals wanting to do kowtows repeating “I’m not worthy” regularly.
(By “things,” I apparently meant food. I love our little hidden food gems. When I’m not a-theatering I’m eating or cooking, but mostly eating. I spend a lot of time eating.)