Q&A: Cowboy Versus Samurai

Rosie Simon on working with director Ins Choi in her Soulpepper stage debut

Presented by Soulpepper Theatre Company
Written by Michael Golamco
Directed by Ins Choi

Rosie Simon

Inspired by Rostand’s Cyrano de Bergerac, Michael Golamco's Cowboy Versus Samurai is a romantic comedy about love, race and sexual dynamics set in the American midwest. This season, Soulpepper presents a new production of the play directed by Ins Choi (Kim's Convenience) as part of the Studio Series, an affordable three-show lineup which also includes Canadian classic The Anger in Ernest and Ernestine and Colm Tóibín's The Testament of Mary.

The cast of Cowboy Versus Samurai features four young performers—TJ Riley, Miquelon Rodriguez, Jonathan Tan and Rosie Simonmaking their Soulpepper debuts. Here, Vancouver native Simon talks about her experience working on the show.

Theatromania: How would you describe Ins Choi’s production of Cowboy Versus Samurai in a few sentences?

RS: Cowboy Versus Samurai is a romantic comedy that deals with issues surrounding our dating preferences, stereotypes, and race. Ins Choi has done a fantastic job in finding the balance between the comedy and these issues by keeping the comedy very honest and quick paced.

Theatromania: Tell us about your character Veronica. Can you relate to her at all?

RS: Veronica Lee is a teacher who is originally from NYC and has taken a job in Breakneck, Wyoming. She teaches biology so she’s a bit of a science geek, but still has a big city edge about her. She’s had a string of unsuccessful relationships in New York so Breakneck is kind of her idea of a fresh start. Despite being jaded by love, she’s still a hopeless romantic. She has no interest in being hurt again, but at the same time, she’s a sucker for beauty and romance. Veronica is slightly impulsive and a little neurotic, but I think that’s part of what makes her quirky charm so endearing. I can definitely relate to Veronica, almost too much! I can’t say a lot without giving the whole show away, but I can say that we’re both just trying to navigate our way through life, love and the incredible mess that comes along with both of those things.

Theatromania: How did you prepare for this role?

RS: I thought that preparing for this role would be quite easy because of how similar Veronica and I are. WRONG. I knew it was going to be crucial to get past myself and the guardedness I’ve built up over the years. I needed to see past the anger and resentment and discover the primary emotions that live much deeper within us. Given the issues that we cover in this show and the fact that I’ve had to deal with these issues my entire life, it’s really no surprise that I’ve had to dig deep into some not so happy memories and really live in that very lonely place of struggling with your identity. But I swear, the show is a comedy!!!!

Theatromania: What have you learned from this experience so far?

RS: I’ve learned so much from Ins about storytelling and how important it is to make that the foundation of what we do. I don’t think I’ve ever worked with such a collaborative director before and it’s been really exciting to see what has come out of that working environment. I’ve also learned that this show is very important. Not just for us who are involved, but for everyone. It’s a conversation that we all need to start having a lot more, especially if we want to see change.

Theatromania; What’s next for you?

RS: I moved from Vancouver to Toronto in June so I’m still feeling out the scene here and testing the waters, but the plan, as of right now, is to pursue film and television for a bit once this show is done. I’m really ready to go wherever the wind blows me though, so I might find myself back on stage sooner than I thought!

See Rosie Simon in Cowboy Versus Samurai from January 26 to February 20, 2016 at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts. Visit soulpepper.ca for more information and to buy tickets.

Show Dates: 
Tue, 2016-01-26 - Sat, 2016-02-20


Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.