During this time of social distancing and dark theatres, Vancouver Presents continues to check in with members of our arts community to find out how they are staying creative and managing during the pandemic.
Today we check in with Vancouver-based film, television, and theatre actor Jason Sakaki.
1. How are you staying creative during the pandemic?
In April, I launched my Instagram Live One Man Musical series. Throughout the month, I performed three full-length Broadway shows, playing all the characters, from my living room with the help of my roommate, Laura Reynolds. It was a crazy month, but it was so nice to reunite with theatre and our incredible community again!
2. What’s the one thing getting you through?
Ice cream. Specifically, Rain or Shine Ice Cream.
3. How are you staying in contact with family and friends who are not in your bubble?
Lots of Zoom calls. Every Sunday, I get together with my extended family on Zoom. Each week has a dress-up theme and a prompt like “What was your happiest day?”. It has been so nice to see them online, and somehow be together while apart.
4. What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned so far during the pandemic?
That balance is key. Stepping back from the acting world, I realized that I’ve neglected to spend time on my passions outside of acting. I hope to find a better balance in my hobbies and my career when we get back to working.
5. What do you feel the most grateful for right now?
I’ve got an incredible friend group, and I’m so grateful for them.
6. What is something you are doing now that you don’t normally?
Surprisingly, going on walks! Typically I’m in a rush to get places, so it’s refreshing to enjoy my neighbourhood and soak in this incredible city.
7. What skill have you developed since the pandemic started?
I’ve been gardening a lot. I’m lucky to have a spacious backyard as well as a huge balcony, so we’ve been growing fruits and veggies since April. My grandpa and grandma loved gardening, so I think it must be in our Sakaki blood.
8. What have you missed the most?
Seeing my Grandma. She’s in a nursing home, and we haven’t been able to visit her since the restrictions are so tight. Phoning her just isn’t the same, but they’ve started allowing window visits, so I’m excited to see her face!
9. Your #1 pandemic survival tip.
Keep physically distancing, washing your hands, and staying in when you’re sick – then we’ll all survive!
10. Your biggest indulgence since the pandemic started.
I bought a Nintendo Switch and also a plethora of games for it. It drained my CERB pretty quick, but it was 100% worth it.
11. What have you stockpiled?
I have a lot of soup in my pantry right now and, to be honest, I haven’t made soup once since March.
12. What have you been reading?
I devoured Forgiveness by Mark Sakamoto. It’s an incredible book about the Japanese Internment and World War II. I’ve been working on piecing together information about my own family’s internment (I’m half Japanese/half Caucasian), so it was inspiring to read Mark’s story. Forgiveness is also being adapted into a play by Hiro Kanagawa as one of the Arts Club’s Silver Commissions!
13. What have you been watching?
I’ve been glued to the National Theatre recordings, McMillions on Crave, and RuPaul’s Drag Race. I also watched Parasite for the first time, and it blew my mind.
14. What have you been listening to?
I think I listened to the Beauty and the Beast soundtrack about 40 times in April. Not because I wanted to, but because I was trying to memorize some of the songs for my one-person musical rendition of the show. Be our Guest still haunts me.
15. What are you doing for exercise?
Riding my bike! I live quite close to Locarno beach, so spending lots of time riding down there!
16. The one thing you haven’t been able to live without?
The sun. Every time it’s cloudy, I get grumpy.
17. Do-it-yourself haircut or the natural look?
My sister actually gave me a DIY haircut in May, and it was the most terrifying experience. Leave it to the pros!
18. Night owl or early riser?
Definitely a night owl. I love a good late-night Netflix binge.
19. Will you be the first out as restrictions are gradually lifted or taking a wait-and-see attitude?
I’ve definitely been taking my time easing myself into each phase. I’m in no rush!
20. What’s the first thing you will do when this is all over?
Travel! Either driving to Toronto to visit my brother and sister-in-law, or flying to Japan!
Meet Jason Sakaki
Jason Sakaki is a Vancouver-based film, television, and theatre actor. At only nineteen years old, Jason has worked with Arts Club Theatre Company, Bard on the Beach, Gateway Theatre, Ruby Slippers, and Vancouver Moving Theatre.
Sakaki was set to play opposite Kelli Fox in Gateway Theatre/Ruby Slippers From Alaska in April. He was also slated to appear this summer in Bard on the Beach’s Love’s Labours Lost and Paradise Lost. All three productions were cancelled/postponed due to COVID-19.
Jason is currently working on the ECOS Team at Arts Club Theatre Company, producing content for their various social media channels and engaging with the Vancouver theatre community.