E: So, Devin...What do you love most about theatre?

D: You can learn a lot about real life and your life by watching other peoples lives. And it doesn’t have to be real but it can be real to you and I love that.

E: Same with performing?

D: I love being able to inhabit other peoples lives and being able to live out realities that are not mine.  Exploring different life paths that may never be mine.  Also trying to bring a life to life, and imagining someone fully. It’s so fascinating to me because it helps me meander my own life offstage.

E: So you find connections between performing and real life as Devin?

D: Yeah, absolutely. And sometimes it doesn’t manifest itself until years later.  I look back at a performance and I go ‘oh wow” i was going through that at that time in my life. Or I understand this now. And it totally enriches your experience all around of both the show and then yourself in your life. And it makes you far more forgiving of yourself when you make mistakes and also understanding of yourself when you make achievements in your life.

E: You’ve got a positively potent energy. How important is energy to you and can you describe what energy you bring?

D:  I think in color often. I love blue. Not because its sad, because it’s calming and surrounding. I was told in college, that I was very yellow. I was very ‘celebration’ and ‘springtime’ and I loved the idea, not of being green but being two separate colors that can be looked at so differently- like yin and yang. A dark and bright that work together, that don't blend to become green but are actually coexisting.  I like thinking of my energy like ‘okay, are you feeling fiery and red now?’ I can put it to use at work or let that subside so I’m not letting my emotions take control.

For my room, I try to space clear once a week, with sage to release good intentions in the space. I try to share that energy with everyone who comes in. I love an idea of an open door policy.  Keeping the door open lets my good energy profade into the space, but also to share it with others and let them share it on as well. Of all the things in my life that make me centered and happy in life are people. People are always welcome. They see pictures of people who make me happy and remind me of good times in life. Also diffusing different essential oil depending on my mood. I love the Young living Sacred mountain oil right now - really calming.  

Some of Devin's pictures in his dressing room.   

Some of Devin's pictures in his dressing room.   

E: How are you able to prepare yourself for the show?

D: That’s case by case. There’s no formula. Cause you never really know. There are days when you feel really off and you say ‘it’s probably the weather’.  There are some days when you can turn it off, go to the gym, build up some good positive energy and come to work and beat it.  Some days you just want to stew and allow yourself to feel down, and have a good cry even if you don’t know why you’re crying! There are some times when you don’t have to beat it.  I try to meditate twenty minutes a day to step outside myself and watch myself and observe and question, ‘where are you at today?’ But that doesn’t mean answer it…just notice it. I think one technique I work on is called noting (Nod to the Headspace App!) You note, ‘oh I’m not where I am right now, I’m just thinking about something else…oh. Suddenly I know exactly where I am right now.’ You acknowledge it and move on rather than become overcome by it.  I like routine. I diffuse my oils, I turn on my humidifier and I steam for ten minutes.  These things help me feel ready for the show.

E: How do you cool down after a show?

D: I’m lucky that I end relatively early in the show during Act II.  I try to eat something. I have a couple of books that I try to read. I try NOT to go on social media, but you do sometimes.  I try to get back to normal.  Sometimes you get caught in the show or what’s going on within the show.  Even the stresses of the day.  I realize its almost over.  

The handsome actor in his reading nook.  

The handsome actor in his reading nook.  

E:  How has performing changed you?

D:  It’s made me so much more empathic and understanding of others.  You can watch the characters and what they do to you in your real life. A show does that sometimes.  You find it within your vessel and making it real. Especially when you're doing a really down show that requires a lot of depth, pain and’s in those moments where it might bring you to a place where you’re dark in your own life.  And you stop and say, ‘OMG I understand that in other people so much more.’  And it It makes you not only forgiving, but understanding and also supportive of people.  Or when you’re in that place.  Also kindness. Not only to yourself but in everything you do.  This business is huge on criticism.  Sometimes its so hard to find that encouragement.  Art is hard work.  Because thats when you start to question how it’s affecting you and affecting other people.  

E:  What’s something about you that most people won’t know?

D:  The first thing that comes to mind is that I have a lot of depth, but that comes from a lot of pain. But I think people see and understand that.  Secondly, I still don’t know what I want to do with my life and in my life.  And its not a down thing. It’s kind of wonderful. I’m trying to keep all my horizons open to see what I want to do artistically. But also where do I want to go, who do I want to meet, who do I want to be in my life? Now I see free form is so much better then structure.  

E:  Amazing. I love that.  Now to close out…if you were to have a quote that represents you what would it be?

D:  Oh God. A single word. Mabuhay. It’s Tagalog. Long life. Good life. Live your life. Life is good. Make life worth it.  

Devin Ilaw is currently playing Thuy in Broadway’s Revival of Miss Saigon at the Broadway Theatre.  He plans to get a tattoo of Mabuhay repeated in the handwritten script of his loved ones.