Transcendence from Performing

IMG_2124Two of the theatre actors of the School of Teacher Education and Liberal Arts who had been awarded as Champion and First Runner Up under the “Best Male Performer” category for their performances in STELA’s One-Act Play for this year’s Drama Festival have decided to share their experiences in working on STELA’s avant-garde production on the extant issue on Ferdinand Marcos’ burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani with STELLARIS.

Moises Joshua Bautista, the champion for the “Best Male Performer” category, is currently in his 2nd year of Political Science. Gerry Binando, the first runner-up for the same category, is a 3rd year majoring in BSED English.

Moises revealed that he was a participant last year who played a minor role in the previous year’s Drama Fest, while Gerry disclosed that this is his first time performing theater. Moises auditioned for the one-act play and Tula Dula, and was fortunately able to meet the qualifications as well as pass the screenings. He opted for the one-act play, though he was not so fortunate in attaining the role he wanted. In a twist of fate, Gerry was assigned the role Moises clamored for. Moises reacted with shock when he was unexpectedly assigned the role of Marcos:

“At first I wasn’t happy about it, pero naibigay na iyong character na iyon. You have to love it. You have to embody that character. You have to study that character, and I did.”

Moises is a member of the STELA repertory, already having gone undergone training and workshops there. Gerry meanwhile is still a novice in this field, but that did not stop him from dedicating himself to their intensive workshops:

“Our mentors trained us. It was hard to adjust myself because it was my first time. Other people were motivating me. Little by little I conquered my fear. Their motivation, it really helped me because somehow I conquered my fear.”

Both of them collaborated with their scriptwriters, directors and co-actors in their workshops and training. They credit Peng Piscador and Neil Cadiog who wrote the actual scripts of the play, as well as their main director, Paul Enrico Centro, who has been supportive of them throughout their quest.

How did you train yourselves for the said roles?

Moises: “Sa internalization, I had other people who tried to explain their thoughts about Marcos and his Burial sa Libingan ng mga Bayani…and I had my mentors who taught me this particular issue…and I also did my personal study of him. Other than knowing the character of Marcos, is internalizing his thoughts and emotions. The night before the contest, I was listening to the theme music ng play namin to internalize more. I’ll be the sponge of his emotion, I’ll read and watch videos. Buong gabi I wasn’t able to sleep. I was talking to people about how I could get over it. The whole night I wasn’t able to sleep until 4:30, because of those thoughts in my mind. I was literally hurting myself.”

“Put your personal self away, let your character get in.”

Gerry: “Put your personal self away, let your character get in. I did my best because they did their best to train me, to be there for me…and that is an honor for me. To Ate Peng, Kuya Paul, Sir Eric, Ate Mimi, they were my guide and my inspiration, because they are there always behind me to support and hold me.”

Is it really a calling?

Moises: I never thought of being an actor in a play on stage, with all the curtains and lights. I made my first try at the Drama Festival last year. When they revealed our purpose behind acting… I realized I was in the right place. To act is not to perform…to act is not to impress people of your talents…to act is not just to show your capabilities or to dazzle the audience.

“I perform not for the people to listen, not for the judges to appreciate or recognize my talent…but above all, to deliver a message.”

Gerry: “I suppose it is a calling. I did this because I wanted to nourish what God gave me. I wanted to prove to myself that I could conquer this fear. Ate Peng also said your acting is not “acting”…your acting is reacting to what your co-actors will do and say…and that that is powerful. She also said that we are not here to please everyone. These trophies? We can burn them. Your certificates? We can throw them away. But the message that you have instilled in the hearts of your audience to yourself and to your judges is somewhat worth treasuring.”

What were the messages of your roles to the audiences?

Gerry: “As Eagan, I do not know what happened in the past. I am judging Marcos as the evil guy and as a murderer…but I do not have enough basis to prove that he is evil nor good. I am being driven or I am going with the flow of what others are doing or suggesting. Basically we do not have to do that, because while the books are there…we do not have enough proof to conclude that he is just good or evil.”

Moises: “As an actor, I have my own interpretation of what Emmanuel’s purpose or message to the audience is…but with respect to the writer of the script, our message to the people is that we must move one. This guy is dead. We shouldn’t just use his name for more propaganda. There was this part in the play where Emmanuel was looking for the manibela of the arko. Turns out, it was with him all along. Because the power to control a nation lies with the youth of today. It’s a choice to forgive what happened in the past to let ourselves heal…or to get stuck in it, if we want to hold a grudge just because of what happened. It is a choice. But the thing there is that we must not allow what happened before to hold us back from progressing as a nation and moving on as a future leader of today.

What made you unique from the other actors and recognized as one of the best?

Moises: “At the end of the day, it is still a competition. You need to compete with the other actors…but more with yourself. You should be above what you can do. You should be more than what you have done already. I have done so much for this role. I believe that I do not just perform—we are given this particular purpose in theatre: to transcend from performing. You have to do something that is unique and essential in the play which is, first, to deliver a message and be the voice of someone who cannot voice himself. Give the audience a new perspective about something, confuse their minds, and make them cry because you feel that particular emotion. We plan an idea and present it to the audience, and maybe that is my edge above all the other performers.”

Gerry: “I was shocked. I wasn’t expecting it. That award was not for myself. That award is nothing without my mentors and team. I stood out because of them. My mentors told us that you are not performing alone in that play… you need to connect yourself with the other actors as well.”

Who are you behind the theatre?

Gerry: “Gerry is a naughty kid. “

Moises: “Moises Joshua off stage is a normal person. Who usually has fun by way of normal youth.”

(c) Ariel Babo C. Bang and Elidiya Fagsao, news writers of STELLARIS


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