(HERE Artist Residency Program)

Chang(e) Soomi Kim

Show Description

Fighting for global social transformation, performance artist and activist Kathy Change (formerly Kathleen Chang) was on a mission to save the world from disaster. As a final act of protest, she self-immolated on the campus of UPenn in October 1996. Chang(e) is a live-staged biographical docudrama that slips between reality and fantasy, plunging viewers inside the mind of Kathy Change. Through a phantasmagorical blend of dance, text (interview and performance transcriptions and Change's own writings), video and original score, Change’s prescient defiance comes to life in this real life account of a modern day "Cassandra."

Devised in collaboration by Soomi Kim and Suzi Takahashi

Set by Bryce Cutler

Video by Kevan Loney

Lighting by Lucrecia Briceno

Music composed by Adam Rogers

Sound by Iggy Hung

Costumes by Machine Dazzle

Assistant Director Leta Tremblay

Cast: Ben Skalski, Kiyoko Kashiwagi, Criena House, David Perz-Ribada, Adi Spencer and Zeke Stewart




Read the Philadelphia Inquirer article about Kathy Change (that mentions our production of  "Chang(e)" as part of the 4th National Asian American Theater Festival that was held in Phildelphia, 2014)

Featured Media

Artist Bio

Soomi Kim (HERE Resident artist) is a Korean born, New York City based actor/movement artist (dancer, stage combat/martial arts, choreographer, gymnast). She works as a company member with several artists as well as producing, creating and performing her own work, almost always in the collaborative setting. Kim’s multidisciplinary dance theater collaboration, Dictee: bells fall a peal to sky (adaptation of Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’s seminal work of poetry) premiered in Los Angeles at the 3rd National Asian American Theater Festival, June 2011. Dictee.. was created in collaboration with director by Suzi Takahashi and musician Jen Shyu, choreographed by Kim. In October 2008 her original multidisciplinary performance play Lee/gendary (based on the life of Bruce Lee, also a Kim/Takahashi collaboration) ran for 3 weeks at HERE Arts Center’s mainstage where Kim served as producer & performer in this show. This performance run garnered 6 New York Innovative Theater (2009) award nominations and 3 wins, including Outstanding Production of a Play. Kim was also nominated for Outstanding actress in a lead role (as Bruce Lee) as well as Outstanding Choreography (alongside Airon Armstrong). Lee/gendary first ran at the First National Asian American Theater Festival (FNAATF) held in New York City. She is a company member with Ex.pgirl and has performed in several productions, workshops and residencies with this past HERE Artist Residency troupe. Kim has performed and worked extensively with composer/choreographer Grisha Coleman in her work echo-system: the desert. Soomi is a Urban Arts Initiative grant recipient and has been featured in KoreAm Journal, Asiance, Kung Fu magazine, The Korea times and the LA Times. 

SUZI TAKAHASHI (Co-Collaborator/Director) is a Devised Theater maker, director, teacher, and actor. Suzi has devised/directed three collaborative works with Soomi Kim; Lee/gendary (HERE), Dictee: bells fall a peel to sky (WSC-Culture Project), and Chang(e) (HERE). From 2002-2010 Suzi was the Co-Artistic Producer of Ex.pgirl with whom she devised four original works: Ablution, Waving Hello, 10 Plates, and Paris Syndrome, all of which premiered at HERE. She has also devised/directed four works for NYU/Stella Adler Studio of Acting: Conversion: the mysteriously true events of Le Roy high school, Falling, Florence Syndrome, and Slender Man. Directing highlights include Rent and Mary’s Wedding at the Bristol Valley Theatre, God of Vengeance and Five Women Wearing the Same Dress at Stella Adler, and The Island at Swarthmore College. As an actor she has performed for artists like Richard Foreman, Richard Schechner, Kristin Marting, Phil Soltanoff, Darko Tresnjak, Emma Griffin and Taylor Mac. In 2009, Suzi won the Innovative Theater Award for Best Director. She has been an Emerging Artist Fellow with the New York Theater Workshop, and she has twice been a HARP Artist-in-Residence at HERE with Ex.Pgirl. Her work has received grants from Franklin Furnace, NYSCA, DCA, and Swing Space. Previously, Suzi has taught acting at Swarthmore College and Hunter College, and movement at the City College of New York and Marymount Manhattan. Currently, she is on the Movement Faculty at the Stella Adler Studio of Acting where she teaches Viewpoint/Composition work and devising physical theater. Suzi holds an MFA in Directing from Stony Brook-South Hampton, and an MA in Performance Studies from NYU. She is a graduate of Barnard College. Suzi trained with the SITI Company.

Artist Statement

Kathleen Chang added an “e” on the end of her last name after having an epiphany about devoting her life to changing the world through political activism and performance. Although her tale appears dark, I see it as full of hope, transformation, passion and humor. The image of her dancing, burning body as her final act of self-immolation is hauntingly beautiful; at once horrific and redemptive like a phoenix.

I am really excited by narratives that can be told through a multidisciplinary approach that involves various styles of movement, text, music/sound, and video. I am intrigued by biographical stories based on intensely and passionately lived lives cut short. My background in dance, martial arts, music, and theater create the foundation of my work and draw me to forms of storytelling that cross traditional theatrical boundaries and also fuels my desire to collaborate with other artists.


“The activist, like the artist, is not a balm for society, placating our guilt and saying, “It’s all ok.” Their role is to make us uncomfortable, push us out of our comfort zone, which Kathy did–beautifully, gracefully, and disturbingly. She envisioned a more beautiful world, a more positive world, and exposed some gnarly truths about who we are today. Her call to peace, in all its disturbing prescience, lives on through Soomi and Suzi's work.”
— Quiara Alegria Hudes, Pulitzer Prize winning playwright for “Water By the Spoonful”

Soomi Kim Artist Page

Project Feed

Soomi Kim as Kathy Change with cast. Photo by Kendall Whitehouse

Chang(e) in Philly! October 2014

Chang(e) in Philly: Consortium of Asian American Theater Artists: Confest It was so exciting to be able to share this work in front of the participants of the National Asian American Theater Festival as well as Kathy's circle of friends....

Kathleen Chang a.k.a. Kathy Change 1950-1996

Artist Talk: “The Transformation” Oct. 22nd, 7pm 20 Cooper Sq. special guest Mary Thorn Gabriele

During my research process for "Chang(e)" I have had the good fortune of developing a relationship with Dr. Mary Thorn Gabriele, who was a good friend of Kathy's. She performed with Kathy at the Museum of Art in Philly in...

Culture Project’s Women Center Stage Festival 2013

This past July 2013, I workshopped some new excerpts of "Chang(e)" as part of an evening called "New Looks @ New Works" at this year's Women Center Stage Festival presented by the Culture Project. We introduced lots of exciting new...

Contemplating Kathy at the Peace sculpture near the Van Lier library, camous of U Penn. Photo by Kendall Whitehouse

Photos from video shoot, campus of U Penn, October 2012

I went to Philadelphia for a weekend in October to shoot some video footage with Gein Wong. We shot on the campus of U Penn near the Van Lier library where Kathy used to perform as well as on the...