Relax and Take Ten with actor JACOB YEH before you catch him in The Hub Theatre’s The Late Wedding, a play he says is, “strange, funny and beautiful and has such great truths about marriage.” Wise words from an artist whose dream dates include Bruce Lee, Meryl Streep, Bryan Cranston, and Idris Elba!
1) What was the first show you ever saw, and what impact did it have?
The first show I can remember seeing was probably a performance of Guys and Dolls at my local high school (Winston Churchill HS) when I was in elementary. I remember loving the music and love story where couples get paired off and thinking the actors were so cool and sounded so great; I mean to an 8-year-old kid high schoolers are already seem so cool, but to be able to sing and dance and tell such a cool story so well was like mind-blowing. Also, the happy ending with all the couples ending up happily ever after fit in nicely with the nice neat concept of love and happiness of an 8-year old.
2) What was your first involvement in a theatrical production?
My first involvement was either oompah-pahing as a chorus member in the a production of Oliver Twist or dressing up as a playing card in a production of Alice in Wonderland, both productions at Beverly Farms Elementary School.
3) What’s your favorite play or musical, and why do you like it so much?
I think I’m going to be super unoriginal and say The Crucible even though I don’t ever recall actually having seen a production of it (needless to say, I don’t get to see as much theatre as I would like). It’s such great writing and the characters each have such clear motivations for what they do, and the things they do all lead to this great tragic end. I remember reading it a few years ago when I started getting into acting and at the point when Elizabeth lies to try to save John Proctor (which actually dooms him) I remember dropping the book like it had bit me.
4) What’s the worst day job you ever took?
In high school I was a summer intern at my mother’s office where I would Xerox biomedical journals all day. I was so bored, I’d Xerox pictures of my face while doing a blowfish with my eyes open. I ain’t the sharpest tool in the shed.
5) What is your most embarrassing moment in the theatre?
In Pinky Swear’s production of Bondage my character (who has been covered head to toe in a neoprene body suit a la Pulp Fiction’s Gimp to hide his appearance and race) strips down to his tighty-whities and bares his soul (among other things). One night we literally get down to the last line and suddenly there is this commotion: a patron had apparently passed out from drinking and an ambulance had to be called but the wonderful Allyson Harkey and I are still standing around in our undies, waiting until finally we were told to leave the stage. For anyone who was there that night and continues to feel unfulfilled because of that experience, here you go: “Would you have dated me? If I had come to you like this?” “Who knows? Anything is possible.” You are welcome.
Everything: I’ve admired The Hub for years and years and I’ve always wanted to work there (having done a few staged readings). The script is so strange, funny and beautiful and has such great truths about marriage. Kate [Bryer] is so great at being such a steady yet collaborative guide as our director. It’s been a blast in the rehearsal room playing and trying to figure out how to play this play.
7) Other than your significant other, who’s your dream date (living or dead) and why?
In lieu of why (c’mon, where’s the fun in laying it all out there?) here’s a short list: Bruce Lee, Meryl Streep, Bryan Cranston, Idris Elba.
8) What is your dream role/job?
Job: constantly employed professional actor (who runs either a B&B in the Outer Banks or “Breaking Bad”-themed breakfast food truck: Breaking Fast). Role: too cliché to say Hamlet? Fine, but when was the last time you saw an Asian Hamlet? ‘Nuff said.
9) If you could travel back in time, what famous production or performance would you choose to see?
I’m not sure I have enough knowledge about theatre history to properly answer the question but when I started acting I read through so many acting books and the way that Shaw described Eleonora Duse’s “blush” in Hagen’s Respect for Acting always struck me as something that would have been neat to see. You know, to see if it was all that.
10) What advice would you give to an 8-year-old smitten by theatre / for a graduating MFA student?
8-year old: follow your dreams but perhaps it’s ok to have more than one dream so be patient; you’ll never stop learning or dreaming. Graduating MFA student: learn all about finances.
JACOB YEH makes his debut at The Hub Theatre Company with The Late Wedding. He is a proud Artistic Associate at 1st Stage Tysons where his credits include Shakespeare's R&J, The Game of Love and Chance, Fuddy Meers, Take Me Out, and Trevor. Other credits include: Chimerica, Edar and Annabelle (Studio Theatre), Yellowface (Theater J), Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead (Folger Theatre), Julius Caesar (Shakespeare Theatre Company), A Christmas Carol (Ford's Theatre), Journey To the West (Constellation Theatre), Beertown, Courage (dog & pony dc), Back To Methuselah (Washington Stage Guild), The Carolina Layaway Grail (The Welders), Bondage, Be Here Now (Pinky Swear Productions), Kwaidan (Spooky Action Theater), Anime Momotaro, P.NOKIO, Cinderella: The Remix, Wake Up Brother Bear! (Imagination Stage), Five Little Monkeys, Jumanji, Holes, Just a Dream (Adventure Theatre-MTC), Blossom's Rainbow, Adventures with Mr. Bear (Arts on the Horizon).