Theater Major and Star of The Spitfire Grill
"I am sincerely grateful and so appreciative that I got the job at OSAS because everyone makes me feel like I am part of the family. Although I didn’t know anything when I first came into the job, everyone is super supportive and really understanding."
What are your responsibilities in the COE Office of Student Academic Services (OSAS)?
I am responsible for answering phone calls, scheduling appointments, and talking with students who need to speak with our advisors. I also take on some tasks from the advisors in the office, filing and organizing and just being an extra set of hands.
How long have you been involved with theater?
I have been involved with musical theatre since I was seven years old.
What is your role in Kennedy Theater’s The Spitfire Grill?
I was given the honor of playing the lead role, and her name is Perchance Talbott, but everyone calls me Percy in the show.
What drew you to this character? Are there any particular challenges with the role?
During rehearsal, I found I had much more of an understanding of Percy. What really came to my mind was that saying to never judge a book by its cover. Everyone sees Percy as this good for nothing prison gal who can’t fit into society, and they’re all wondering why she chose to come to this small town called Gilead. Her backstory and life before coming to Gilead made me really empathize with her. I personally never experienced what she dealt with, but I was able to become vulnerable as an actress and let her past become my past on stage.
One particular challenge I had in this show was that, while I am singing and acting all throughout the play, I also have to have a southern accent. I did not grow up on the mainland, so I have no idea how to speak and sing with a southern accent. I met up with a dialect coach, watched YouTube videos, watched country movies, and listened to country songs to develop my own take of a southern twang just for this show. It was hard for me to incorporate the accent, but once I accomplished it, it was the most rewarding feeling.
Do you get nervous every time the curtain opens? How do you handle your nerves?
Every time! I let the nerves get to me because being nervous helps boost my energy. As an actress, I get a sense of every type of emotion (excitement, fear, ecstasy, calm), and that is good to harness and tap into while on stage. Something I do before every show is look at my script and just read through lines over and over. I get nervous that I will forget my lines on stage, so that is something important I try to do before every show It also keeps me occupied so I don’t go crazy backstage with my emotions.
The Star Advertiser had a glowing article about the musical and your performance. Do you pay attention to the reviews – good and bad?
“The story spins around a young woman named Percy Talbott (played with gusto by Jorin Young).” – Star Advertiser (September 17, 2017)
Yes I do! When they are good reviews, it gives me a huge sense of pride and helps me boost my confidence as a performer. I always ask from friends and family members what they think of the show and if there is anything in particular they liked and didn’t like. I like to hear feedback so I can learn and grow in my own ways. When I get bad reviews, it does tend to linger with me, but I use the bad reviews as fuel to help me also grow and do better in my performance. Everyone has their own opinions, and I do take them into careful consideration as I don’t just perform for the benefit of myself. I perform for those who came to support the shows, no matter if they are friends and family or critics and professionals. I was so ecstatic when I saw the paper, and my family sent it to their friends and other family members. Even my own office in OSAS was super supportive of me, as Denise Nakaoka shared the news article around to our whole office.
How does your role as student, actor, and employee on campus contribute to your connectedness to the University?
I am way different than how I was last year. Last year, I was ashamed to be going to UH Mānoa because I had big dreams and plans to go away for college. I was set on going to the University of San Francisco, only to run into some financial problems and have to use my alternative route of staying home and going to UH. I did not contribute to anything last year as I was very sulky and wanted to stay away from the eyes of others. I was embarrassed to see my old high school classmates and others who would inevitably ask, “You go here? I thought you left.” That was the main reason why I stayed low last year.
This year, I had a change of spirit as I finally came to terms with myself that this is my reality and I need to make the most of it. I eventually started liking UH, and I knew my first step in connecting to this school was by finding a job on campus. I am sincerely grateful and so appreciative that I got the job at OSAS because everyone makes me feel like I am part of the family. Although I didn’t know anything when I first came into the job, everyone is super supportive and really understanding.
As an actress and a theatre major, this is my first show here at UH, and I am only starting to make a name for myself. Hopefully, I will be able to contribute more and do more things on campus that also pertain to my major. This musical has gotten me connections with others more experienced than I in the field and opened up my opportunities. I am able to find out more information on future auditions and performances to see.
What are your future plans?
My future plans are uncertain. I would like to go around and do more community theatre work in the area when I get the chance. Maybe a possible goal in the far future is Broadway, but I know I need to gain so much more experience and knowledge before I go down that route.
I’m interested in learning more about a degree or certificate from the College of Education.