Actor’s Profile: Evan Sakuma

Evan Sakuma plays the role of Chip Tolentino in this year's play, "25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee". THE AZTEC/CALLISTA LIU
Evan Sakuma plays the role of Chip Tolentino in this year’s play, “25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee”. THE AZTEC/CALLISTA LIU

Q: What’s your favorite part of the play?

A: “I like the last song we sing, it’s called Seconds and that’s where our protagonist realizes that they don’t need to win. I think there’s a lot of good harmonies in that song.”

Q: What are your thoughts on this musical?

A: “We have a smaller cast this time and I think it allowed our director Ms. Phillips to work with us one-on-one and really make this show shine. I think people are really gonna enjoy it. Also, the fact that it’s a comedy too adds to it.”

Q: What feelings go through your head when you’re up onstage?

A: “In my head, I’m going like ‘Oh my God. What is my next line? I don’t know what to do next. Should I be talking? Should I be ad libbing?’ but in the end it sort of just all melds together and I think it turns out fine.”

Q: As a senior, how do you think your legacy will impact underclassmen?

A: “Being Theater Company President, I would like to think that I’ve done a good job to promote theater and the theater company to the lower classmen. So hopefully they will continue to follow in my footsteps. Asian Americans participating in theater- that’s one of my big pushes since our school is mostly Asian American and just for the fact that it’s something often not done by Asian Americans. I just think it’s really fun and that even if this is not going to be your major, you should just do it once in your lifetime, like by being apart of a play, a musical, or even as a part of the tech crew or orchestra. I hope that people will learn that from me being here.”

Q: What inspired you to audition for this musical?

A: “I’ve been in almost every single play since I joined high school except Leading Ladies, but I would have to say I was inspired by the musical I saw in eighth grade, which was the Beauty and the Beast that they did here. I thought that was really cool and the fact that I didn’t have a great voice, I wanted to practice on that to help my public speaking because I was a really shy freshman going in. I wanted to sort of break out of my shell, so that’s why I joined drama.”

Q: Describe yourself in 3 words.

A: “Outgoing, passionate, and respectful.”

Q: As a senior, do you feel a responsibility to be a role model?

A: “Absolutely, especially with my role as president in both CSF and theater company. In the past, I’ve feel that we were very lenient, or the past presidents were very lenient, and so with CSF (it is an honors society), I definitely wanted everyone in it to understand that they have certain duties that they have to fulfill so I did make it harder for people to become active this year and with theater, Ms. Phillips always tells me this all the time: we are the seasoned actors, we are the ones who have been in multiple plays, there people in this production who have never done a production before, so we have to be the ones who show them that we can’t just fool around all the time. So, there’s definitely a lot more pressure as a senior role model.”

Q: What do you think about your fellow actors? Are they great, needs improvement, etc.?

A: “I think every actor, including myself (I really thought I was going to be the worst one on stage), have really improved phenomenally. On the first day, we sounded like cats scratching a blackboard, but by now, we are smaller cats scratching a blackboard, just kidding. But honestly, I really have seen so much improvement with every single person on the cast and I really don’t feel right saying anything bad about them.”

Q: Do you ever blank out during a play? If you do, what do you do?

A: “There are certain times in the play where we have to blank out like if it’s a flashback or if the scene takes us somewhere else. We sorta have to freeze in the background, but other times I definitely feel like I blank out. I mean in rehearsals I have definitely blanked out and I’ve forgotten to say a line or two, but that was mainly in the beginning and I think now that we’ve honed it so much, the show really quick and fast-paced. So, basically there can’t be any blank outs or else it’s going to sound really choppy. We can’t afford to have blank outs now, but we’ve had them in the past. I’m sure we all have.”

Q: Compared to other plays you’ve done in the past, order them from your most favorite to your least favorite.

A: “Number one has to be Suitcase Dreams that we did last year for our fall play. That was one of the most memorable experiences I’ve ever had. On top of that, I was able to write a piece for that play. The part that I wrote actually got to be performed in front of a lot of people, so that was really exciting. I would have to say that this play is my favorite musical and my second favorite performance I’ve done because it was once again a smaller cast and I felt that I got closer to everyone in the cast and it’s just a really fun musical I would encourage everyone to go see. Next would have to be Hairspray, another musical because who doesn’t love Hairspray. The music was great, we also had Ms. Bradley be a part in that performance, that was really fun. Then after Hairspray, I would have to say the Uninvited because I really liked the cast of the Uninvited and I got closer to everyone. It wasn’t my favorite, I hated the actual story behind it and I felt that the ending was not a true ending because it didn’t really give a resolution. But, I liked the people in it and I think it helped me grow as an actor. Then, I would have to say Peter Pan because I really liked the dancing in that one and it was like my breakout role since it was my first musical and we got to perform it in Scotland too. So, that was phenomenal, but the play itself I didn’t really enjoy. Last but not least, it would have to be Christmas Carol. I love Christmas Carol, I love the people in Christmas Carol. It just was not a good performance on our part, we could’ve done a lot better.”

Q: Anyone you look up to?

A: “I really look up to Abel Rock, who plays Olive. I think that she is very modest in her abilities because she is going to places. I know that she’s a triple threat, she can sing, act, and dance, and if you go see this play (which I highly recommend), you’ll see what I mean. She’s just an amazing actress and singer and I look up to her because she just knows everything that she’s doing and if I ever need help, she’s always willing to help and she’s just a really kind person.”

Evan Woo

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