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Jovanni Sy on the stage of the Gateway Theatre in Richmond, B.C.

Rafal Gerszak/The Globe and Mail

Jovanni Sy has been artistic director of Richmond’s Gateway Theatre for nearly six years. Born in Manila and raised in Toronto, Mr. Sy has worked as an actor, director, dramaturg and playwright. On April 13, his new play Nine Dragons opens at the Gateway Theatre (with a preview performance the night before). Set in the Kowloon district of Hong Kong in 1924, the play stars John Ng as a top detective who is brought in to solve a series of sadistic murders.

As the play, directed by Craig Hall, was in rehearsals, Mr. Sy took our Proust Questionnaire.

If you could live anywhere in British Columbia, where would it be?

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If I’m working, then the Lower Mainland. If I could be a gentleman of leisure, then the west coast of Vancouver Island.

Which talent would you most like to have?

To dunk a basketball.

Bike, walk or drive?

Bike – unless it’s raining (I’m a wuss about that).

An object you still own from your childhood?

I still play with the same baseball glove I bought when I was 12.

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What is your greatest fear?

That people stop caring about theatre.

Which living person do you most admire?

These students from Parkland are my heroes. They give me tremendous hope in a time when it’s all too easy to despair.

Which living person do you most despise?

It alternates between Trump and the truly craven people who enable him.

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What was your first paying job?

Computer programming as a summer student in the early eighties.

Least favourite holiday?

Really? There’s a bad holiday?

Who are your favorite writers?

Samuel Beckett, Lynn Nottage, Paula Vogel, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Kazuo Ishiguro, Malcolm Gladwell.

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If you could be a fictional character for one day, who would it be?

Leopold Bloom.

If you had $1-million to give to a charity, what cause would you select?

I’d want to create a fund for B.C. playwrights. Frankly, there’s not enough support for us right now.

On what occasion do you lie?

My friends’ opening nights.

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What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?


What is the trait you most deplore in others?


What life lesson have you learned this year?

Bet on yourself.

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What is your greatest regret?

Turning down a role I really wanted to play – I’m not going to say which.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

My metabolism.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Still doing what I love for a living after 26 years.

How would you like to die?

On stage!

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