"Rivalry" is a musical about the long-standing rivalry between Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) and De La Salle University (DLSU).
From education, basketball, and even with getting the girls, the musical highlights the height of the Rivalry between these top male universities set in the year 1968 in Manila Philippines.
Who are you in the play? What's your importance in the story?
I play Micaela, a girl from Maryknoll college which is the premiere all-girls college in 1968. Reena, the female who captures the heart of an Atenean & a LaSallite in the story, is my bestfriend, and I always coax her to get out of her shell and to try new things since she has trust issues with people. I also represent the educated Filipina of the era--sociable, smart, brazen-- who wants to be liberated and is open to trying new things, living at the end of the 60s decade.
What differences and similarities do you have with your character?
I share a lot of similarities with my character. We are both go-getters, fearless and will always be the first to try & explore new things. We are also both born-leaders. Micaela and I always keep our minds busy and calendars full--we always want to be involved in social events and will even create one if there are none! I find my character to be bossier than I am though, and she feels the need to always have boyfriend, while I can manage to be an independent woman. :)
Do you feel this Rivalry in the streets of Manila nowadays?
The famed Ateneo-LaSalle Rivalry still exists to this day. I took my college degree in Ateneo and I experienced this feud in a smaller scale.
Tell us some details about your rehearsals process.
The rehearsal process took longer than the previous musicals I've done. We would have music then blocking then choreography, then if music is changed, the rest changes as well, all back to zero. There was this instance when our musical director decided to mix songs together into one big musical number: "What"s the Story?" "Something's Gonna Happen". It's a very collaborative process as well, since the creators of the musical were very open to suggestions regarding our character or certain production numbers. :) We had long rehearsal days as well. We did not rehearse according to the sequence of events in the story, and sometimes we would rehearse in separate groups to make most of the time--(ensemble only or leads only) so it wasn't until we started running the whole show that we were able to piece it all together and see the whole picture.
A funny happening during the run:
This run had so many booboos! In the number "Let it Play", an Atenean & LaSallite would size each other up face-to-face, before Quito takes a shot to start the rumble...only one time Quito pushed the LaSallite so hard he KISSED the Atenean on the lips! Haha! Also one time during our song "Boy from LaSalle", on my solo I accidentaly blurted out a "GIRL" from LaSalle. My director wouldn't let that go for a while! The basketball scenes also elicit genuine reactions from the ensemble, especially when the players miss a shot!
How good is the life of a theater actor in The Philippines?
It's always good to perform with talented and passionate Filipino theatre artists. The industry has a long way to go in terms of taking care of its actors, thus most of the time theatre actors take on many jobs at the same time to continue his craft. The past year though is a landmark year, with the establishment of the THEATRE ACTORS GUILD PHILIPPINES on 2011, which unites all theatre actors to secure the rights and benefits we deserve. We also find the increase of theatre shows and theatre companies in Manila as a good sign, that Filipinos are getting more involved in the theatre arts.
What's the dream role in a musical that you haven't performed yet?
"Mimi" in Rent, Little Red Riding Hood in "Into the Woods", "Ilse" for Spring Awakening. When I get older I'd love to do "Lucy" for Jekyll & Hyde and "Mrs.Lovett" for Sweeney Todd. Of course, "Kim" in Miss Saigon and "Mary Magdalene" for Jesus Christ Superstar. Heck, if I could play Judas I would! You said Dream Role right? :)
Favorite musical, favorite song. Favorite song:
Song ="Astonishing" from Little Women. "Come to Your Senses" from Tick Tick Boom. Too many favorite musicals! Jesus Christ Superstar, RENT, Hairspray, The Lion King, Les Miserables, Merrily We Roll Along...
How do you prepare a role?
Complete preparation. I Do a character history and background. Family, likes, dislikes, as long as they all make sense with the character revealed through the script. Then think of how the character looks like--wig, eyes, hair, clothes, shoes. My usual process is "outside-in". Physically appearance, mannerisms, and quirks are a big factor in building my character and strengthening it from the inside. Then I go through the script to study the intention of each line and of my character in the song/scene. I believe in trusting the script and most of the time, I refrain from imposing my own opinion on it. Then, when I begin a scene, I let it all go. I believe that if I do my preparation right, then I am able to create a pure, genuine character. No over-thinking, no pre-meditated thought for my actions. Pure, genuine character response. Acting is reacting.
I also believe in working with the director to make sure everything I do also works with his/her vision and the intention of the material.
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MUSICALS ON LINE, April 2012.