Jan Zoilo Rafael Mayo also know as Jan Mayo, he is one of the newest faces in the Philippines theater. He is also a licensed commercial pilot, a former athlete, musician, and cheer dancer (from the UP Pep Squad), Jan Mayo used all of these as his background into musical theater.
In this Psst.Ph Part of the Story Series, Jan Mayo talks to us about his career in Philippine Theater and his experience in the industry.
Full Name and Alias: Jan Zoilo Rafael V. Mayo / Jan Mayo
Location: Paranaque City
Education: B Sports Science, U.P.Diliman / Aeroplane Single Engine Land – Private and Commercial Pilot Training
Tell me something about yourself that people don’t know:
At an early age, I was inspired by Leonardo da Vinci to become a polymath, a “Renaissance Man”. So I would always strive to expand my abilities intellectually, artistically, and physically. And this is also why I would always want to try new things.
What is your current state of mind before we continue with the interview?
When did you first know you wanted to become a stage actor?
I did not “want” to become an actor. I was drawn to it. And every time that there is a perfect role for me, I would audition. It just happened.
What was the first show you ever did? And how’s the experience?
Back in the 3rd grade, I was around 10 years old. I auditioned for our school play, it was Joseph the Dreamer. Since no one was that interested in theater during that time, I got the role. (laughs) I was cast as Zebulun, one of the brothers of the young Joseph. And I only had one line. I can still remember waiting for a long time just to deliver that one line. It was fun, I felt it was just playtime.
What has been your favorite role so far?
No doubt, JoJo in Newsies. I played the role of a dancing young boy who is loud-mouthed and sarcastic. So I think it was a very natural for me (laughs)
Have you ever played someone of the opposite gender? (If not, do you want to try it?) What was that like?
Not yet. But I want to try. Any role is a learning experience.
What show/shows are you currently working on?
Right now, we just finished Newsies, so it is vacation time for me. Newsies was REALLY tough to do but it was one hell of an adventure!
Have you ever forgotten your lines, or a prop, or choreography during a performance? What happened?
Funny, in Newsies, I would always forget to bring coins when I had to “buy” newspapers from the newspaper distributor. So I would just act that I had coins and drop them on his bag and I would go on my merry way.
What is something that you know now that you wish you knew when you were first starting out as an actor?
Take off my masks. I would always consider myself as a dancer before as an actor. So it was important for me to do the technique first before I would put emotions. What I learned from theater is that technique and emotions should go hand in hand to produce beautiful art.
Besides acting, what other training have you had (voice, dance, stage combat, etc.)?
I was originally a cheerdancer from the UP Pep Squad. So I was trained in a number of movement/dance techniques such as gymnastics, jazz, contemporary, ballet, and yoga. I took my formal lessons in voice and acting when the Training Ground opened inNewsies, thanks to the generosity of Globe Live and 9 Works Theatrical.
How do they memorize alot of lines?
I have never encountered a role that has a lot of lines. But it is a challenge I am willing to do.
If you could choose, which three actors would you really want to work with?
International: Hugh Jackman, Eddie Redmayne, and Jon Jon Briones.
Local: MarkkiStroem, Cherie Gil, and Eugene Domingo.
Why do you think theater is important?
Theater arts has been around since the ancient times, so it has been part of the human culture for thousands of years. And for something that can thrive for this long, it has to be important. It’s part of who we are.
Why do you think so many aspiring actors end up giving up on their dream?
The uncertainty. Aside from the fact that most actors are not that well compensated, theater is project-based and not all productions would need the same types of actors. Theater is a challenging career path that only a few are willing to take.
What is something embarrassing or unexpected that happened to you on stage?
One time in Newsies, the floor was really slippery. During the dance break of Seize the Day, when I was about to do my tumbling pass, my hands slipped during round off (tumbling preparation) and luckily, with quick-thinking, I did not continue my tumbling pass. If I had, I would have slipped and broke my neck. I didn’t feel embarrassed BUT I felt scared.
What are some of the greatest fears you think actors/actresses face?
Aside from the usual on stage mistakes, the uncertainty of this career path.
What do you need in order to become a successful actor?
Professionalism, the theater world is small as they say. And of course, passion.
What makes a good stage actor in your opinion?
When an actor makes a role his own and makes it truthful.
What is the most rewarding part of being a stage actor?
The fulfilment that you get after each show, knowing that this is something you love doing.
What are the pros and cons of being an actor? Please be specific.
-A new family in every production
-You get to meet passionate people
-You also get to learn from your talented cast mates
-You get to enjoy what you are doing
-You discover a lot about yourself
-Relatively low compensation
What goal are you working towards within your career and whenwill you know you have reached it?
Right now, I do not have any. I’m new and I’m still learning.
What organizations do you belong to?
None as of the moment.
If you weren’t a stage actor or an artist, what would you want to be? Why?
I have always wanted to be part of a travelling circus, that’s my greatest dream! But if not as an artist, I would want to be a travelling photographer. I love telling stories through pictures.
What advice would you give to someone who wanted to do what you do?
Take more chances! You will never know until you try.
How do you see yourself 20 or 30 years from now?
I am more of a happy-go-lucky type of guy so I honestly do not plan that way ahead. But what I am sure of, is I would still enjoy each moment that I am presented with even if it’s 20 or 30 years from now.
What legacy will you leave on?
I am just starting in theater! (laughs) But if ever I would leave a legacy, I want it to be through dance and choreography.
Any final message? It’s time to shine!!
Take more chances, seize the day!
Photo from official facebook of Jan Zoilo Rafael Mayo and Jeeves De Veyra