From Marvel’s ‘Shang Chi’, to ‘Spongebob Squarepants’, to ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’, Stephanie Hsu is well-accustomed to working with big names. Though 32 years old, Hsu has played the roles of a teenager and nailed it everything. So, taking on the role of fiercely-unique teenager, Christine Canigula in the Broadway play, ‘Be More Chill’ was no new challenge.
‘Be More Chill’ is a coming-of-age skit about how one’s imperfections are precisely what makes them wonderful. It follows the life of Jeremy Heere, an anxious and depressed teenager struggling to cope with his symptoms while manouvering peer pressure, crushes and imperfections.
It’s a musical “about how we deal with the many voices in our head, how can we cope with that, and how can we better understand ourselves in the process.” Hsu plays Christine Canigula, sweet, smart, a little nerdy and with Attention Deficit Disorder.
“I find Christine to be the core of truth in the show,” Hsu mentioned in an interview. Unlike the other teenagers, who allows a supercomputer implant in their brain that tells them what to do and gain instant popularity, Christine adamantly chooses to not take that easy route.
Choosing to experience raw, difficult moments rather than ‘numbing out’ can sound unrealistic. But Hsu opines: “Who you are in all your ‘imperfect-ness’ is what makes you wonderful.”
Stephanie Hsu and cast of Be More Chill, Photo via Maria Baranova
Indeed, experiences in your formative years make up a large part of what makes you. In going through the uncomfortable, weird, stressful and painful moments authentically, you come out the other side stronger and more self-assured.
Hsu says: “There is a levity to it all. You can be sad, and you can be confused and depressed, and that doesn’t mean that you are just going to feel in just one way for the rest of your life…”
A mantra that Stephanie holds fast to is: ” This is just what it is right now, and I am going to find my way out”.