Austen Jaye [Interview]
February 15, 2017 Leave a comment
Every once in a while I get pointed in the direction of a working actor/writer/filmmaker/spearfishing enthusiast, what have you, that I might not have truly been aware of at the time, but so happy I learned what they are doing in the world of art and entertainment. And today is no exception whatsoever.
Today we are talking with Austen Jaye. Austen is an actor with an immense amount of talent who is destined to be a favorite in this business. He has stacked up credits on shows like Angie Tribeca and The Bold and the Beautiful, but most impressive is his portrayal of Harry Belafonte in his acclaimed one man show that you can catch now! I have yet to see this amazing show, but it sounds like it is nothing short of fabulous. If his work in film and television is any indication that this will be an amazing show, we should all be in great shape.
So, please enjoy a great conversation with up and coming man of the screen and stage alike, the wonderful Austen Jaye!
What was the first role you can remember doing, whether stage or screen?
As a child I performed in many church plays and I was the most shy kid you would have ever met. As I got older I decided to actually become an actor an explore what this artist thing consist of. I’ve had chances do to tv, film, and stage and the things that impact me come from a place of truth and honesty. I know this can be considered entertainment but most of what I attach myself to affects me because I’m thinking how can I find the honest root that most people aren’t interested in look at.
When did you first decide you wanted to enter the world of acting as a profession?
I decided to enter during my late teens. Right out of high school. I watched people on tv inspire and make people laugh. I said I wanted to do that, not knowing they were acting. Also as I decided to get into the acting world I realized how powerful being a story teller can be. Artist help shape this world. We all tell stories from actor, writer, director, singer, painters, and dancers. All at forms
Can you tell us a bit about your upcoming stage performance Belafonte Unauthorized: A Shared Humanity. What can an audience expect from the show?
Well the first thing the audience can expect is to learn more about a historical figure that in my mind has been forgotten. The understanding of a journey not easily matched or duplicated.
Belafonte is obviously a legend in his own right, but what was it about Harry that made you want to create this show?
There are so many stories out there about Martin Luther King or Malcolm X. I wanted to tell a story about someone else that contributed as much to the Civil Right’s movement if not more. Also I knew some about Harry Belafonte yet not enough until I started researching. The more I read about him and listened to him speak I started gaining a respect for him that most people my age or younger definitely haven’t been exposed to. So my original idea was a movie because Harry’s life story is important to America and the black community and I wanted to tell more people about what I found so interesting. A friend of mine named Penelope suggested I create a one man show. So I said sure and that’s how it’s started to take off.
Funny you ask because some people that I’ve met, just speaking to or in passing suggest I create a show about Barack Obama. I don’t know if I’m ready for that task yet but it is intriguing. I’m currently learning more about African-American men and women that have helped shaped America. So many choices that it makes it hard to find just one.
When you’re not doing stage work or acting in general, what do you do for a bit of “me time”? What do you do to keep yourself centered and just relax?
I love to read and learn from different people. As an actor or artist I know that the title I hold is what I’ve chosen. I’m not entitled to anything because its what I do. So when I get a chance to be to myself I’m a pretty simple guy. I will spend time in the gym, a theme park, or a movie. Some might find it weird but I sometimes go to a movie by myself.
What was the last the last thing that made you smile?
Over the holidays I got the chance to hang out with extended family. When you’re running around Los Angeles working all the time producing a show, its good to just be around family you love. Family that’s supports you through it all. That made me laugh and smile.