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  • Dogeaters Cast Interviews: Carina Salazar

    Carina Salazar, who plays Trini Gamboa, joined us today to talk a little bit about her experience on this show among other things….

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    What has the rehearsal process been like for you?

    It sounds corny talaga, but it’s been inspirational. Inspirational because I get to work with such talented people. It has been such a joy being able to watch everyones’ work. Everyone is giving such beautiful, nuanced performances, it inspires me to push myself and delve deeper into my character.

    How did you first get involved in the project?

    I was first asked to read Trini when Magic  had Dogeaters in the Virgin Play Series in June 2014 and luckily they kept me in mind for this production.

    Anything can happen with live performance, do you have a funny moment/embarrassing memory to share?

    I used to tour children’s theatre for Kaiser Permanente’s Educational Theatre. With children’s theatre, we’re performing every school day for the entire school year. That’s a lot of chances to mess things up. There was one day where it had been raining all morning, so a lot of our equipment was soaked from the rain, as were the floors, which we didn’t bother to wipe down. We start off the show and when I run upstage to exit, I slip on a puddle of water, sliding into one of our touring units making a loud thud. All the middle school students burst into laughter. After the show, we have a Q&A where they can ask follow up questions about the show and all they could ask me was how my butt felt from falling so hard.

    Can you tell us a little about your character? What do you think is his/her best quality? Worst? 

    Trini is a woman from the province who has made the bold decision to finally break away from her parents and claim her independence by moving to the capital of the Philippines, Manila. I think her best quality is her ambition. She knows what she wants to achieve and goes for it wholeheartedly, unfortunately, I also feel that it can be her worst side as well because it can be difficult for her to accept when she things don’t go as planned.

    What was your first experience at/with Magic?

    My first experience with Magic was seeing a show back in 2008. When I studying at Academy of Art, our acting professor took us to go see Evie’s Waltz, which, after some research, I discovered was Loretta’s directorial debut as Magic’s Artistic Director.

     

     

    Dogeaters Cast Interviews: Get to Know Esperanza Catubig

    Esperanza Catubig plays Barbara Villanueva and Ka Lydia in our upcoming production of Dogeaters, which opens this coming Wednesday, February 10!!!!

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    What has it been like working with Jessica Hagedorn?

    I’ve been lucky to have had the opportunity to work with Jessica twice before this production several years ago in the Los Angeles premiere of Dogeaters. Jessica is a fearless artist, loves working with actors, and inspires me to write and enjoy working out of my comfort zone. She has a deep understanding of how complicated, ironic, and beautiful people are.

    What drew you to participate in this production Dogeaters? I’m a fan of Jessica Hagedorn’s work! And I knew I had a chance to play a different role this time around. For her work to be produced in my hometown AND at the Magic Theatre is a big event! It’s a Filipino experience that I’m looking forward to sharing with the Bay Area! It’s so fun and so rare for me to perform in tagalog and celebrate stories that take place during such a tumultuous time in the Philippines. I was too young to really understand how the Marcos regime affected our relatives in the Philippines during the 80s, but through this production, I am reminded that my parents worked so incredibly hard and sacrificed lost time with loved ones “back home” to create a safe and comfortable place for the family here in the U.S.

    What has the rehearsal process been like for you?

    Terrifying and exciting! I am playing a role that is against my usual “type” and I’ve been operating out of my comfort zone.   It is a gift—thanks to Loretta! It’s an honor and a privilege to be able to work with such a powerhouse group of theatre-makers! 

    Is there one performance you’ve seen that you’ll never forget?

    Sir Ian McKellen in Richard III at the Curran Theatre back in 1995. My mother took me to see it and we sat way up in the balcony. I was concerned we were too far away to see any expressions but I discovered I could see everything. Richard III had just won a battle and it was just McKellen onstage for what seemed like five minutes in silence, no words, after one of his soliloquies. Captivating and honest, Ian McKellen said so much onstage: loss, betrayal, anger, and triumph just by standing center stage…no words! I never knew what “owning center stage meant” until then.

    What was your first experience at/with Magic?

    My first experience at the Magic was Gum by Karen Hartman directed by Jean Randich about sixteen years ago. It took place in a fictional far away country where girls were punished for chewing gum because it was too provocative. The play was inspired by a news article that Karen had found. At the very end of the play when my character was encouraged by her once-strict Auntie to run away from the place as fast as possible, I got to run to the back of the stage, slam the metal double doors open to the sound of the ocean waves, the seagulls, and finally to freedom.

    Dogeaters Cast Interviews: Introducing Melvign Badiola

    Learn a little about Mel Badiola, who plays Nestor Noralez and Chiquiting Moreno in Dogeaters.

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    How did you first get involved in the project?


    I first got involved with the project during Magic’s Virgin Play Series in 2014. The reading was sold out and a large number of patrons were unfortunately turned away.

    What are you most looking forward to about this production?

    There’s a lot to look forward to in this production. However, I’m really excited about the wonderful costumes Brandin and Karina has tirelessly been putting together. I am always at the edge of my seat whenever I come in for a costume fitting.

    What is your pre-show ritual?


    I’m a simple kind of guy. I like to take a 15-20 min nap, if time allows it. Then about 15 minutes of vocal and physical warms ups. Go over any notes I got from the previous performance while putting on my make-up. Drink water. Go to the bathroom and freak out for exactly 1 minute, in silence of course. And lastly, pop a ginger chew candy after we get the call to, “places!”

    Why do you think it is important that we produce this play today? How do you think it will resonate with a contemporary audience?

    I think it’s important to produce this play, because its themes and struggles are still relevant to Pilipinos, Filipino-Americans, and the American audiences today. Themes and struggles such as immigration, colonial mentality, LGBT issues, and political corruption that all forms of government can fall victim to. It is also important for American audiences to witness and experience a brief moment in the Philippines’ colorful history, even if it’s told through the lives of these “fictional” characters.

    You know, I don’t think I have an answer to that question. I do believe that audiences will either love it or hate it. However, I will appreciate and be grateful at the fact that they took a chance in getting to know a culture where all they might know is that lumpia is a deep fried Filipino dish and every Filipino household has a karaoke machine.

    Anything can happen with live performance, do you have a funny moment/embarrassing memory to share?

    Yes, it happened a few years ago. While the stage manager called 2 mins until “Places”, I told myself, “Hey I didn’t stretch my lower back!” As I assumed the position, legs spread apart, at squat stance, getting ready to turn right, I hear a loud “RIP”. YES, my pantaloons had sprung a tear. From crotch to the upper crest of my ass. Then my Stage Manager calls, “PLACES!”. With no extra pair of pants, or seamstress, or dressers, or time, or a sewing kit; I went and did the show. With torn pants. Oh the thrill and drama of live performances!

    Dogeaters Cast Interviews: Meet Beverly Sotelo

    TONIGHT IS OUR FIRST PREVIEW!!!

    We are not even halfway through our cast interviews.  Beverly, who is playing Imelda Marcos and Leonor Ledesma, shares her thoughts.

    BSot

    If you could play another character in Dogeaters who would you choose? Why?

    Truthfully, I would LOVE to play Trini Gamboa. I love her need. She in that perfect storm of a moment: she NEEDS to love and be loved and saved by love, and time is running out. I love that dilemma. How do you get what you most desperately need in order to survive in your world and at the same time, fight the ever looming thought it might never come true? And yet, with Romeo, it really could be true! All the dreams all the wishes all your validation, so close! GOD. I’d love to play Trini.

    What has the rehearsal process been like for you?

    This process has been so JUICY! Half the joy of playing someone like Imelda Marcos is doing the homework and the research to understand how she ticks and what her point of view is. The more I dig deep, the more I have to convey, and the more I become hungry to embody her! I’m absolutely in love with figuring her out.

    And the rehearsal room is filled with vibration. It’s like we’re invoking our family histories every time we try on one of these characters. It’s more than a play; it’s communing with the pain and desire of a mass of people and if we do it right, we’re channeling it.

    Had you read the novel? How does it inform your understanding of the play and your character?

    I read Jessica’s novel way back in the 90’s when I was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. That novel still remains as a poetic whisper of what I imagine the Philippines to be. When I went to the Philippines in the 2000’s to visit family, that novel came back to me like a slow rolling fog. I feel that Jessica has painted a window into the Philippines; it has a distinctive ESSENCE. The novel is like a series of snapshots with a lot of stuff happening and it’s all true. Like a truly great painting, you can always come back to it and discover something you overlooked before. I feel that way about this play. There are a lot of stories interwoven into this magnificent portrait and the audience can choose to look at this part of the picture or this or stand back and look at the whole.

    What is your pre-show ritual?

    I am actually wracked with stage fight. I’m a true introvert and being on stage is extremely exposing. So I spend a lot of time mediating on trying to calm down and finding my character and asking him/her to carry me thru the production so I don’t crack under the lights. And I pee. A LOT. One of my actor fears is that I will need to pee and I am supposed to be on stage. I try to be absolutely dehydrated by the time I hit stage. 😉

    What was your first experience at/with Magic?

    The Magic actually played a very sweet part in my life during a very trying time. I was set to do my first real reading at the Magic for the Virgin Play series (Madame Ho by Eugenie Chan) and a tragedy happened that forced me to have to pull out of the reading rather suddenly. But I remember sitting at my kitchen table when a beautiful potted flower arrived from the Magic. Attached was a card with all these positive messages of love from all the cast members and Dori Jacobs (the Director of New Play Development at the time), and I remember feeling so supported and so grateful for the family atmosphere that the Magic tries really hard to create for everyone. I felt and continue to feel blessed.

    Dogeaters Cast Interviews: Charisse Loriaux in the house!

    Get to know Charisse Loriaux who is playing several characters in Dogeaters including Lolita Luna, Lola Narcisa Divino, and Stephanie Jacobs among others.

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    What are you most looking forward to about this production?

    I’m most looking forward to gracing the Magic stage with this talented cast, speaking Jessica Hagedorn’s words with truth and honesty, taking the audience on a ride of a lifetime, and executing Loretta Greco’s vision at optimal energy and total commitment.  All of this equals to having a blast and having so much fun.  I look forward to all of this.  However, I know it’ll pass in a flash.  So, writing this is a reminder to myself to breathe it all in, hold my breath and exhale slowly.  I want to remember how very special this time in my life is.

    What was your first experience at/with Magic?

    My first experience at the Magic Theatre was in 1998 when I saw Mules by Winsome Pinnock, directed by Dianne Wynter.  I was a young student taking classes at Diablo Valley College, passionate about theatre and excited to see my sister’s friend, Andrea Harris perform.  My sister, Bridgette Loriaux met Andrea Harris at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival where they both were Company Members.  I remember the intimate space, sitting center and being drawn in by the actors and their talent.  Also, feeling quite special because I knew someone in the cast.  I left the Magic Theatre feeling inspired and it only reaffirmed I wanted to be an actor.

    What have you seen/read (shows, concerts, movies, books, art) lately that really spoke to you? Why?

    In December, I took my partner to experience Janet Cardiff’s The Forty Part Motet at the Fort Mason Center.  It’s a 40-part choral performance of English composer, Thomas Tallis’s sixteenth-century composition Spem in Alium, sung by the Salisbury Cathedral Choir.  There were 40 speakers arranged in an oval, where each choral member was individually recorded.  When standing in the center of the oval, my partner and I were flooded with harmonies and a force that was so moving it brought me to tears.  However, when we stood close to any of the 40 speakers, placing our ear next to the soft black material, we could hear the individual voices and the parts they sang, along with the occasional clearing of their throat or laugh during their intermission. It was so intimate and personal.

    It spoke to me because it was really the patrons who roamed the room that made the exhibition fascinating.  I saw couples holding each other, eyes closed and still.  I saw a young woman staring out the window. I saw an old woman and a teenager giggling.  I also just watched my partner for a small while as he went speaker to speaker and just listened.  All of this was happening as these 40 voices filled the room.  I’m grateful Janet Cardiff created 14 minutes where we could just breathe and feel beauty or whatever you wanted to feel.

    How did you get into acting, what was your first gig?

    It was 1998 and I was 19 years old when I received a phone call to audition for The Aurora Theatre Company.  They were producing Posing for Gauguin, by Dorothy Bryant, directed by Cliff Mayotte.  They first wanted my older sister, Bridgette Loriaux to audition, but she was already working in another show.  So my awesome sister recommended her little sister for the job and I ultimately got the part of Teha’amana, Gauguin’s teenage mistress and Tahitian model.  I was working with Jeri Lynn Cohen who played the ghost of Gauguin’s grandmother and Owen Murphy who played Gauguin himself.  They took me under their wing and I was able to experience professionalism at its finest.  In addition to working with these two incredible actors, I was able to be under the direction of Cliff Mayotte.  What a brilliant man and just so damn smart!  We had come full circle and I was able to work with Mr. Cliff Mayotte again in 2010 in the Rough and Tumble World Premiere of A History of Human Stupidity by Andy Bayiates.  Cliff has always believed in me and I’m so grateful.  There’s one more person that I owe so much to and that I must thank.  She saw a spark in me at 19 and fostered my career.  This wonderful person is Barbara Oliver, an actor and director who founded the Aurora Theatre Company in 1991.  Barbara Oliver passed in 2013 and her legacy of love and theatre lives on.

    Can you tell us a little about your character? What do you think is her best quality? Worst?

    I play the role of Lolita Luna, the soft porn “bomba” movie star.  She’s the life of the party, beautiful, sexy and successful.  The company she keeps are men who use and abuse her, but they’re also very rich and very powerful.  Although her adoring fans thinks she has it all, all she really has is her beloved son. Lolita prays these men with great power will help her and her child escape the country.  Her best quality is her worst quality.  Lolita is willing to do anything and will go to great lengths for what she wants.  She’ll go to that deep dark place and sacrifice it all for her son. Her capacity and tolerance for pain is limitless.

    Dogeaters Cast Interviews: Welcome Ogie Zulueta

    Continuing our series of interviews with the cast of Dogeaters, we are happy to introduce Ogie Zulueta, who plays Senator Avila and Uncle, as well as Man with Ukelele.

     

    OZ
    How did you first get involved in the project?
    I got involved in the 2nd workshop after the initial Loretta Greco and Jessica Hagedorn workshop at Sundance. Michael Greif directed the workshop at South Coast Rep, and I was cast as Joey Sands then. Obviously I’ve matured to the older roles for this production.  I was also involved in the ongoing Magic Theatre workshops the past 2 years.

     

    What has the rehearsal process been like for you?
    The rehearsal process has been thrilling as I’m taking on new roles in the play. Having Jessica in the room is always rich with information and stories that informs us on the world and the perspectives the characters in her book and play have.  And it’s my first time working with Loretta in a full production, and I think she’s one of the smartest directors I’ve ever worked with.

     

    Why do you think it is important that we produce this play today? How do you think it will resonate with a contemporary audience?
    The Philippines is a character in itself in this play. And with this large cast populating the Magic stage the audience will be able to witness the dramatic shifts in its’ character and history that molded those Filipino immigrants coming to the USA in the early 80’s. I think the play is important because the Philippines is still relatively a young country in Asia, compared to the other countries with so much history like Japan, China, and the South East Asian countries.
    The play will resonate with a contemporary audience because the Philippines as presented in this play can really represent any country going through it’s growing pains, and aim for relevance in the world.

     

    Is there one performance you’ve seen that you’ll never forget? What was it?
    Yes, when I think of one production that I’ll never forget, it’s probably Steppenwolf’s production of The Grapes of Wrath, written and directed by Frank Galati at the La Jolla Playhouse before it landed on Broadway. Adapted from Steinbeck’s novel, and told during the America’s Great Depression. Another sprawling story about a family and people heading out to California for a better life from Oklahoma. This production also had a large cast, and the creative team was top notch.

     

    What are you most looking forward to about this production?
    I’m looking forward most about this production is to see the Filipino community come out and represent in the audience. I believe that they’ll be proud to see their home country’s time in history presented in this play from Jessica’s seminal novel.

    Dogeaters Cast Interviews: Spotlight on Lawrence Radecker

    Get to know the man behind Dogeaters’ Rainer Fassbinder, Father Jean Mallat and journalist Bob Stone (aka all the white men in the play)… today’s interviewee is Lawrence Radecker.

    LRad

    If you could play another character in Dogeaters who would you choose? Why?

    If I could play another character in Dogeaters it would be Perlita. Of course I would have to have Filipino parents but I can dream right? Perlita is a strong, funny, broad character who knows what she wants and knows how to get it. Plus there’s a big dance number that I would have killed!!

    What has it been like working with Jessica Hagedorn?

    It is always an advantage to have the writer in the room but Jessica is more than just the writer. She knows these characters so well because they began for her when she wrote the novel. It’s like having a director and a dramaturg wrapped up in a writer. She also brings her warmth and love to the room, which lends to a fantastic rehearsal process.

    How did you get into acting? 

    My first experience with theater was in high school when I was cast as the rebel soldier in a Civil War play called Breaking Bread. I won the best actor award and I was hooked.

    What drew you to participate in this production Dogeaters?

    I read the novel in the early 90’s when it was first published and I loved it! My wife Joy, who is Filipino, encouraged me to read it. I’ve been following the play’s productions from a far for years and wanted to be a part of this epic show. I was asked to participate in the first workshop the Magic did a couple of years ago and then continued through to this production.

    What are you most looking forward to about this production?

    I’m looking forward to playing with this talented cast every night. I’m also looking forward to hearing the audience reaction, especially the Filipino community’s reaction.

     

     

    Dogeaters Cast Interviews — Introducing Julie Kuwabara

    Next up in our series of cast interviews is Julie Kuwabara who plays Pucha Gonzaga.

    JK

    What is your pre-show ritual? 

    Arriving early to relax into the space. Taking a quiet moment to ground and give myself a pep talk “to let go of expectations and to have fun while on stage.”  My post-show ritual is getting into pajamas, drinking a hot cup of tea and snuggling with my dog Lambie.

    Tell us about your character.

    Pucha Gonzaga has lived a life of privilege in Manila.  She’s excited to see her cousin Rio who she hasn’t seen in over 14 years.  It’s a bittersweet homecoming for Rio and Pucha but she’s determined to make the best of Rio’s visit. Pucha is a person who loves opulence and who will do whatever it takes to maintain her luxury lifestyle.  Pucha allows me to embrace my inner-mean girl and diva.

    What was it like working with Jessica Hagedorn?

    Having Jessica in the rehearsal room was amazing. I loved listening to her stories about living in Manila and the people she based her characters off of.  These extra stories helped us to understand the world of Dogeaters and dig deeper into our characters.  The best experience was taking Jessica out for her despedida at a local Filipino restaurant “Patio Filipino”

    What has the rehearsal process been like for you?

    I’ve told friends it’s been “boot camp” rehearsals, one of the fastest and intense proccess I’ve been a part of and I’ve loved every minute of it.  Everyone has been focused to bring this epic story to life.  It’s been awesome to watch how the show has progressed we’ve all done in this short amount of time and it’s only going to get better and richer with every performance.


    Have you seen/read anything (shows, concerts, movies, books, art) lately that really spoke to you? Why?   

    Alleluia, The Road by Luis Alfaro performed by Campo Santo and Our Town by Thornton Wilder performed by Shotgun Players are two of my favorite shows. Alleluia, I walked out of the show asking myself, “What rock had I been under, that I had not seen a Camp Santo show before Alleluia?” I was blown away with the acting and the story of a bizarre and surreal road trip. Our Town, I fell in love with the characters and the casting of the show.  The last scene when the theatre turned into a dark quiet starry night in Grover’s Corners was just pure magic.  Both shows continue to inspire my journey as a storyteller.

    Dogeaters Cast Interviews – Meet Jed Parsario!

    During the rehearsals and run of Dogeaters we will be posting brief interviews with the cast to help you get to know the actors behind this production. Our first guest is Jed Parsario who plays Romeo Rosales.

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    If you could play another character in Dogeaters who would you choose? Why?

    I would love to play Joey Sands because of the challenges that come with playing that role. He was the character that left the deepest impression when I first read the play years ago.

    What drew you to participate in this production Dogeaters?

    Being a first generation Filipino-American I felt like I had to be part of this production. It’s my people’s story, it’s my family’s story, it’s my story. My parents and their family lived through the Japanese occupation and the Marcos regime. Also, it’s just a damn good script.

    What has the rehearsal process been like for you?

    This has been a process. It’s been the shortest rehearsal time I’ve ever been part of for a full production. And there’s 15 of us! Somehow I don’t feel rushed though and that probably has lots to do with Loretta. I love, LOVE how Loretta works. She’s detailed but trusts us enough to make our own discoveries. For me, I feel like she’s allowed me to make Romeo Rosales my Romeo Rosales, with blessings of course from Jessica herself. I think for those audience members who’ve read the novel, they’ll meet a different Romeo in this production.

    Anything can happen with live performance, do you have a funny moment/embarrassing memory to share?

    Outdoors. 250 people watching. Last Saturday performance of Don Quixote. Act 2, Scene 1. Just right after intermission. It’s hot and my sweat is streaming down my forehead and is stinging my eyes under my commedia mask. The two actors and I are on it. We’re a well oiled commedia machine. Tick tock tick tock tick tock. Then… I forget my line. Beat. Silence. Beat. I turn around and look at my cast mates who look right back as a shake my head. They give me my cue again. Still nothing. I look back and shake my head again as if to say “Nope. I don’t have it. Let’s move on.” That line was never spoken for that performance. Oh, mask work. It really does raise the permission levels for the sorry souls underneath.

    What  is your favorite line in Dogeaters (it doesn’t have to be yours).

    “Naku! She’s going to have a bunch of pissed of ghosts haunting her stupid film festival.”

    Introducing our Dogeaters Cast

    Dogeaters Cast Stairs 1-1

    Meet our beautiful and talented cast:

    Rinabeth Apostol*, Melvign Badiola, Esperanza Catubig*, Christine Jamlig,  Rafael Jordan*, Julie Kuwabara, Chuck Lacson, Charisse Loriaux, Jed Parsario, Lawrence Radecker, Mike Sagun, Carina Lastimosa Salazar, Beverly Sotelo*, Jomar Tagatatac*, and Ogie Zulueta*