For the 25th National Conference in Cleveland, TCG is highlighting the current recipients of the Fox Foundation Resident Actor Fellowship and the SPARK Leadership Programs. These programs are unique to the field, and provide critical support and mentorship for the future leaders of our art form. In honor of our longstanding commitment to professional development across the field, we feel the time is right to expand the Spotlight On brand beyond the Conference. With this in mind, we are excited to be hosting the Spotlight On Series throughout May and June—all content leading up to the Conference.
TCG: When was the moment that you decided to become a professional theatre actor?
I’d rather simply say that somehow, somewhere along the line, in my wanderings in life I ended up at The Juilliard School where I fell in love with theater and in my attempt to pursue a life in it,
I hope that (at the end of it all) theatre will say that it fell in love with me.
Much of the decisions in my life were made due to a coupling of different events, that birthed my choices. Overall, it feels more like following a flowing stream than making choices. Decisions and situations were sometimes rocky, and sometimes smooth, but it was always flowing. At times I’d resist the current but eventually I would surrender.
My curiosity began with Physics and I wished to pursue a life towards understanding how this world works. I then became obsessed with Shakespeare and the classics and was pulled into acting. I became so devoted that I shut off from the world until a teacher said: “How can you portray life if you don’t let yourself live it?” So I let myself live, in the hopes of making my work richer.
Then a clown chased me. He said: “You understand me! Please come with me.”
So I did. Hoping that my work would be richer.
Then directing came along and said: “You hear and see where stories need to go very specifically. Jump on this ship and lead it there.” So I did. Hoping that my work would be richer.
I am now at the point where I feel like I am in a polygamous marriage. I am married to acting, directing, choreographing, and teaching. At times, those four do not like one another (much less try to understand one another.) They even get jealous of one another from time to time. And it’s exhausting when they do that. You have to explain that you’re not abandoning them that you are only a better person because you have the experience of the other. Acting is the one that I loved the longest. It’s never too jealous because it knows that.
Eventually I hope the defining of roles will melt away for me and what remains is just the work.
TCG: What is one challenge in the acting profession that you would like to change? How would you do so?
Not enough focus on the love of it.
Focus on the love of it.
TCG: Talk about a game changing moment in your career – a “big break” where you felt you could create a lasting legacy through your work as an actor?
Everything in life is about relationships: To people, to things, and to the things that you create.
There are people who have embraced me and what I have to offer, and there are always those who (no matter how hard I try and what I do) I will never have a chance in hell with.
I try to stay with those that embrace me as much as possible and hope that there will be a time where those that don’t, will crack open a door from time to time.
For me making and doing theater is already the “big break.” The rest is just finding out who gets you and who you get and try your best to stay with them and create with them. The recognition serves as bridges to more people that you could have experiences with to tell stories that have great meaning, together.
Orlando Pabotoy most recently Performed in Holoscenes at the Ringling Museum, in Jedermann as part of the Salzburger Festspiele (Salzburg, Austria) and I Understand Everything Better (Advanced Beginner Group) by David Neumann. Recent Direction: The Serpent Woman for Tisch Drama’s New Studio, The Frogs for The Juilliard School Drama Division. He has worked Nationally and Internationally at: Lamama Etc., The Public Theater, The Met Opera House, Classic Stage Company, New York Theater Workshop, The Old Globe, Yale Repertory Theater, Ma-Yi Theater, Center Theater Group (Los Angeles), and for The Cultural Center of the Philippines. TV/FILM Networks: Comedy Central, CBS, NBC and WB. He teaches internationally in the Philippines, Netherlands and Italy. Awards: OBIE, John Houseman Award, Fox Fellow and choreographed the Classic Stage Companie’s production of The Cherry Orchard (with John Turturro and Diane Wiest) that won the 2012 Lucille Lortell Award for best revival. Faculty member for TSOA Drama Department and is the founder and Artistic Director of the Artigiani Theater Troupe. www.artigianitroupe.com.
Photo 1: The World In The Moon (The Juilliard School Drama Division)
From the Original Libretto of Carlo Gozzi’s Il Mundo della Luna
Adapted and Directed by: Orlando Pabotoy
Pictured: Philippa Soo
Photo by: Jessica Katz
Photo 2: That Beautiful Laugh (Lamam Etc., 50th Year Anniversary)
Conceived and Directed by: Orlando Pabotoy
Photo by: Artigiani Troupe
Photo 3: Pericles by William Shakespeare. (The Juilliard School Drama Division).
Directed and Choreographed by: Orlando Pabotoy
Pictured: Ali Sohaili, Katherine Loraine
Photo by: Jessica Katz
Photo 4: Holoscenes by Lars Jan.
Pictured: Orlando Pabotoy
Photo by: Thomas Bender