Kim Villagante, also known as K!mmortal, is an artistic force to be reckoned with. As a visual artist, singer-songwriter/emcee, and arts-based community organizer currently based on Coast Salish Territory aka Vancouver, Kim fuses her phenomenal artistic talents with her activism. In 2013, Kim's debut acting role in Sal Capone landed her a nomination in Montreal English Theatre Awards as "Outstanding Supporting Actress". In 2014, she released her debut album, "Sincerity" and represented Vancouver as the only Filipina emcee in 2015's Canadian Music Week. Her latest acting accomplishment was playing the lead in the one-woman play "Sister Mary's A Dyke" written by Flerida Peña and directed by Jan Derbyshire. Kim was awarded the Vancouver Mayor's Arts Award in Community-Engaged arts in 2013, and is also the founder of "SHE", an annual East-Vancouver event celebrating indigenous, black, and women of colour in WORD and MUSIC (shefestvan.com). Her recent self-directed animated music video, "Brushing by heaven's shoulder", was selected to be screened at San Francisco's Queer Women of Colour Film festival 2016.
Kim is in the Yukon preparing to perform in Sal Capone: the Lamentable Tragedy of this weekend, but she took some time out of her busy rehearsal schedule to answer a few questions for us about art, touring, and herself. Read on to find out more about this amazing multitalented artist!
Q; What’s the best thing about being a theatre artist?
A: Theatre is a powerful medium that pushes me to use every single part of my being ... Theatre truly makes me feel more alive. In this hip hop theatre production, I use my voice, to not just say my lines, but to rap and to sing...I use my body to dance, to explore what it's like to walk in Jewel's body, to interact with other characters ... theatre is an all encompassing medium. It teaches me to be critical and intentional with every move I make and all in service to the story.
Q: What would you do if you were not a theatre artist?
A: I'm actually primarily a rap-soul singer songwriter and visual artist before I am a theatre artist. The director of Sal Capone casted me after seeing me perform at a spoken word show. I was invited to read the part of the script one day and got a callback that I got the part. This was in 2013- So taking theatre seriously is actually a pretty new turn in my artistic career. I love it so much though and want to continue doing it.
Q: What is the most memorable response you’ve ever experienced to your work?
A: A few Filipino folks in the audience came up to me after and expressed how they were really happy to see me represent on a Canadian stage. It also means so much to me when people end up talking about racism, homophobia, sexism, and power imbalance in the system and how that connects to police brutality. All the characters in this production are intense and on the edge because the stakes are high and there's always someone in the audience that can see themselves in a character. The most memorable response was a funny one when a black audience member in Montreal told me that my language on stage wasn't okay because I was using racist language so much. I think he believed I was actually the character of Jewel so much that he needed to give me a talk.
Q: Are you excited about touring to Whitehorse?
A: Definitely can't wait to see the northern lights, and I love how the sun shines bright here. Very different then Vancouver!
Q: Without giving too much away, what can audiences expect when they come to the show?
A: Expect the unpredictable - this is not a typical theatre production. Nothing is safe about it. Playwright Omari wrote this story talking about real social issues that are happening today - we
are calling attention to current issues - the black lives matter movement, missing and murdered indigenous women, transphobia and homophobia in a world that works to straighten queer lines. Expect a relevant story, and of course dope hip hop music created and coordinated by professional sound designer Troy Slocum as well as original raps written by us actors who are also musicians.
Q: What has been the most rewarding part of working on this show?
A: I got a couple: Meeting my cast mates who are each such passionate go getters and who have become family to me. It has been such a blessing in my life to work in a team to bring this story to life. Thru this show I had also realized my potential as an artist and what I am capable of.
To learn about about Kim's art, check out this clip from CBC!
Be sure to get your tickets to Sal Capone: The Lamentable Tragedy of, running this weekend (March 18 + 19) at the Yukon Arts Centre! It promises to be an unforgettable, powerful production!