Don’t ya just love the always steady, wise-beyond-his-years, Markko Rivera on One Life To Live?
I know. Me too.
Markko is such an endearing character…. he’s loyal, smart, a hard worker….the list goes on and on of all his admirable qualities.
I spoke with his portrayer, Jason Tam, who will be attending his first Super Soap Weekend Nov. 15 and 16 at Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney World.
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Jason was pretty new to the show when last year’s SSW rolled around, so he didn’t receive an invitation until this year.
And I have to tell you, Jason is really excited about Super Soap.
He very kindly took time out of his busy schedule to do an interview with me.
Jason, 26, holds a BFA in acting with honors from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. He originated the role of Paul in the Broadway 2006 revival of “A Chorus Line,” which is one of my favorite plays of all time.
Jason spoke candidly about his career, his thoughts on playing Markko and what it’s like to be a part of the OLTL cast.
Michele: What are you looking forward to about Super Soap?
Jason: “I’m looking forward to the entire experience as a whole just because I’ve heard so much about it so now I want to see for myself what it’s like. I think it’s going to be really great to connect with the die-hard fans of the show, to interact with them, to see who they are. I think that’s going to be really cool. I’ve done the fan club luncheon, a lot of smaller events, the Feast With The Famous Faces [charity event] and other events in New York, but this will be, by far, the biggest fan event that I’ve been to.”
Michele: What about the Street Jam?
Jason: “I’ve been asked to do the Street Jam.I don’t know what I’m singing yet. I’m really excited about that because I’ve been singing my whole life. It’s something that I really love. There’s nothing like getting in front of a crowd and performing, especially a crowd who’s going to be really supportive and excited to be there.”
Michele: What is a typical day like on the set of OLTL?
Jason: I come in to dry rehearsal usually around 8 in the morning and we get blocking for the scenes that we’re doing and, depending where my scenes fall in the day I either go straight to hair and makeup, or I’ll have a few hours to kill. If that’s the case, I usually have scenes with Brittany [Underwood as Langston] so we’ll find ways to kill time together. She’s always watching funny videos on YouTube or watching episodes of Family Guy or sometimes we make our own random funny videos.
“Then we go through the lines with the all the people in our scenes and make sure we have all our lines down. Then we shoot our scenes and go home. The last scenes of the day can go until 7 or 8 o’clock. But if my scenes are the first ones up, I could get there at 7:30/8 o’clock for my blocking and be out of there by 12.”
Michele: Is there anyone who helped you out in your early days on the show?
Jason: “When I was auditioning for the show, I ran into Melissa Fumero [Adriana]. We went to school together. She was a few years ahead of me. It was really great to run into a friendly face and she said, ‘It’s so great to see you.’ And she had a big smile on and she immediately put me at ease in this really foreign environment. And then when I got the job, I was working with Kristen [Alderson as Starr], Brandon [Buddy as Cole] and Brittany all the time and the four of us got close pretty quickly.”
Michele: Are the four of you friends outside of the studio?
Jason: “We are. If we’re all working together, then it’s pretty much a given that we walk across the street to the ABC cafeteria and eat lunch together. We go to movies together or sometimes we just get together at someone’s apartment and play board games together.”
Michele: What is it like working with the OLTL cast?
Jason: “I really enjoy working with the One Life To Live cast. I think it’s a great cast with really talented people and there aren’t any big egos. There’s no behind the scenes drama or cattiness and that’s really good because it makes it so much easier to be open in a work environment where you feel comfortable.”
Michele: What is it that you love or hate about playing Markko?
Jason: “What I like about Markko is his confidence. I think in his head, he’s the kind of guy who has a solution for everything or will come up with a solution for whatever problem is at hand. He’s unafraid to share his solution to everyone else’s problem in the world. He always has the right thing to do. I love that about Markko, but at the same time it could be a bad thing. He sees the world as if he’s kind of a genius in a world where other people aren’t as bright. Confidence is always a fine line with a character. He’s got this strange handle on things and a sense of responsibility. In my head, it comes from his family, which hasn’t been written into the storylines yet. But I think his family plays a huge part in who he is and how he interacts with the world.”
[Although there has been no backstory for Markko related to his family, Jason said he would love for that to happen.]
Michele: Which do you prefer stage or screen?
Jason: “As an actor, my goal is to do everything. I find things from different aspects of the industry fullfilling in different ways. But if I had to choose, I guess I would say theater, because it has the most rehearsal time. I really love rehearsing and finding the nuances of different characters and relationships. I find I do my best work when I have a lot of time to rehearse.”
Michele: What advice would you give to a young person aspiring to be an actor?
Jason: “First of all, get into some classes and try to be open. A lot of learning comes from just observing the real world and watching how human beings react to things physically and emotionally and be open to exploring all parts of yourself. What makes everyone so beautiful is that everyone is an individual. Having said that, some people might be afraid to reveal too much of themself. Find a class where you feel really comfortable and, hopefully, try to bring as much of humanity as possible to the characters that you play.”
Michele: How do you feel about the fact that this will be the last Super Soap?
Jason: “I’ve never been to one…but I’ve heard only really good things about it and it’s something the fans look forward to every single year. I heard ABC wants to put together more local events around the country and I think that’s great. But, to be honest, I think you could do both. I think you could have this one giant event and have these other local events.”
So there you have it.
If you want to learn more about Jason Tam, visit www.jasontam.net
And keep coming back to Soapbox for SSW updates.

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