We had the good fortune of connecting with Salmah Beydoun and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Salmah, how do you think about risk?
Doing theater and being an artist is already a risk. From jumping into the world of theater without knowing anything about it, to coming to the United States to study a master’s degree at CalArts. I truly believe that if you never step out of your comfort zone, there is no room to grow and you will never find the full potential that your talents have. Taking risks means possibilities, and this is also a big part when I’m creating. I always try to find possibilities in a rehearsal, in a drawing, in a model, before throwing the idea away. In the end, even if the ideas don’t work as I planned it in my head, I found new questions and new ways of creation that I didn’t exist before.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I do theater because it is the only place (so far) where I feel free. It is a place that makes me think and makes me see things I couldn’t see before. After I graduated from Architecture school in Mexico City, my country was (and still is) dealing with a lot of violence and pain. I realized back then, that I was being a silent witness to atrocity and it was breaking up my spirit. Somehow I ended up assisting one of the biggest scenic designers in Mexico City and realized I wanted to pursue the same for myself and decided to do an MFA in Scenic Design at the California Institute of the Arts. During my masters, I felt profoundly connected to other artists that had the same interest in exploring otherness and complex identities. I found that my work as a scenic designer and deviser of collective work, is a study of the human condition. My interests delve into the pleasures and problems of belonging and the consequences that inevitably arise from intolerance. I have discovered true breakthroughs in my creative process through genuine human connection and community, so I always try to create work where these elements can be cultivated. Currently I am exploring new ideas in the digital world and I am excited to see where this will go.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Brunch at the Rose Cafe in Venice, walk at the Melrose Flea Market, Salt & Straw ice cream and catch a weird performance at RedCat.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Everything I am and everything I do I owe it to my family and to the amazing people that have been part of my creative life. My theater mentors Jorge Ballina and Christopher Barreca, the crazy talented directors I’ve worked with; Monty Cole, Jesse Bonnell, Natalia Lassalle, Peng Hsu, Natalia Korczakowska. My collaborators from Berenjena and Bad Boy Sad Boy. All the designers that have been part of every project I’ve been a part of and every single calartian that inspires me everyday.