B Street Theatre is known for its exceptional actors. Making his premiere at the B Street Theatre in Ironbound is the very talented Arusi Santi. Artistic Associate Sean Patrick Nill interviewed the actor on his life, his career, and his time here in Sacramento.
Arsui, where are you from?
Cuernavaca, Mexico. It’s a small town just south of Mexico City.
When did you move to the United States?
I originally moved to the United States for college. I got my BFA in Acting in Minneapolis.
Yeah! I was there four years. And after graduating, I worked in the U.S. for a little bit, and then I decided I wanted to move back to Mexico. So I did, and I did a short stint in soap opera/telenovela acting.
How was that experience?
I didn’t like it honestly.
[Arusi and Sean laugh]
It’s just so different. I just studied classical acting and then immediately going into that world, it’s an entirely different pace. I mean they feed you all your lines. You get the script two hours before you shoot, and they give you an ear piece and then they tell you your lines.
They tell you all your lines?
They feed you everyone’s lines! It’s super distracting. They have a person just reading the whole script. So, I’m reacting to this little voice in my ear versus the person I’m supposed to be acting with. But they didn’t really care cause they were more interested in just pumping out as many episodes as possible.
How long did you do that for?
Just one year. That’s all. And then I got back into theatre, and it didn’t really take long for work to start piling up, and I was kind of eager to move back to the United States. So, I moved to San Diego and it’s been great. It’s a wonderful theatre town.
When was the first time you heard about B Street Theatre?
So, my agent came to me and started talking about this production at B Street Theatre. At first I was confused until I realized that I had actually sent an email to you all when you first announced your season. So, I went back to your website and saw all the pictures of this beautiful building and got very excited.
So you’re in Ironbound, which you’ve done before. What’s it like to do this play again?
This is a special script. It’s extremely well-written. I was telling Lyndsay (Burch) how great it is to work on it with different people. You discover new things. The play is completely different for me. And that’s good. It keeps it fresh and exciting, and different themes come through for me.
What are some aspects of your character that you connect with?
I love that he plays Harmonica, and there is something about Maks’ immigrant story that hits close to home. Being in a place where you don’t feel at home. You go to work or you go to the supermarket, and you feel like you’re an outsider. Maks has this dream of being a blues musician. I relate to that determination, having that dream push you.
Have you had fun in Sacramento?
Yeah! I love the trees!
What do you hope the audience gets out of this play?
I hope they see themselves reflected in these characters. Particularly with the times we are living in right now, if you can relate to an immigrant story, relate to the humanity in their story, relate to the struggle, that’s important, and I hope people get that from this show.
What’s your favorite thing to do on a lazy Sunday?
[Arusi and Sean laugh]
What’s a book you’re reading right now?
Russian House. I went to the Sacramento Library, and I bet you didn’t know this, but if you sign up for a library card, they give you a book for free.
I do know that.
Sacramento Public Library is an educational partner with B Street Theatre.
Well look at that.
What’s a sport you like to watch?
What’s your favorite meal to have?
Pho. It’s good!
Come see Arusi Santi in Ironbound, currently in previews and opening Friday, September 28. Tickets are available here.