Quick Chat: Actor Yao Dogbe

Posted September 18, 2019

Yao Qc

Quick Chats are a bi-weekly Q&A with some of APT's excellent company members. This week, we talk to Actor Yao Dogbe, who's playing Cory in Fences this season.

APT: Ok, first thing's first. What's your name, and what are your roles at APT this season?
Yao Dogbe: My name is Yao Dogbe, this is my first season with American Players Theatre and I’m playing the roles of Cory in August Wilson’s Fences, Curio in Twelfth Night, and Murderer 1 in Macbeth.

APT: Tell us about yourself. Where are you based, and what path led you to APT?
Yao: I’m currently living wherever the job is. I’m from Hampton Virginia, born and raised. Both of my parents are from Ghana so I’m a first generation African American. Sara Becker is a vocal coach here at APT and was my vocal coach in graduate school. She informed me of the audition for Cory. I was on tour at the time, but this is a role I’ve wanted to play for a long time so I hopped on a plane to Chicago to audition.

APT: Have you worked at an outdoor theater before? How have you preparing for the elements and the APT stage?
Yao: I have worked at an outdoor theater in the past. I’ve worked for Montana Shakespeare in the Parks, and Houston Shakespeare Festival. To prepare I make sure I’m well hydrated, and have a decent stock pile of bug spray.

APT: What’ve been the best, and most challenging parts of your experience thus far at APT? 

APT: This summer you’re playing Cory in August Wilson’s Fences, have you worked on any Wilson before? 
Yao: Yes, I have worked with August Wilson’s text in the past. I’ve done Joe Turner’s Come and Gone as Jeremy and Caesar Wilkes in Gem of the Ocean. I love Wilson’s use of African American Vernacular. Being an African American, the words flow smoothly from my mouth. It feels as though the text was made for me.

APT: When not on stage, what are your hobbies and how do you like spending your time?
Yao: I’m actually a writer as well. So, when I’m not on stage I’m often working on my next story. I read, and watch a lot of politics. I watch a lot of documentaries dealing with astronomy and the universe. I use different tools to expand on my philosophy as a person, and move towards developing new works that can inspire, enlighten and change the hearts and minds of people through creative expression.

APT: You sing some in this season’s Twelfth Night and Fences! what is your go-to Karaoke song?
Yao: Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean!! Haha

APT: Anything else you’d like to add about your APT experience?
Yao: My summer here at APT has been a transformative experience. There is nothing like looking up at night, and seeing shooting stars or the big dipper, and allowing your mind to wonder about this thing we call life. There have been ups and downs over the summer, as there is in any summer or life in general, but I know I have a community here in Spring Green to turn to when things are rough. The fans that support APT are truly thankful for the experience, and we’re equally as thankful because without an audience there is no theater.

Theater is an art form that allows the performers and the audience to simultaneously share space and energy. So finally, I would just like to say thank you to the fans, and thank you to APT for such an unforgettable summer.