Rinabeth Apostol, who plays expat Rio Gonzaga, joined us for our penultimate Dogeaters cast interview. She talks about quiet audiences, Filipino banter and unforgettable performances.
Rinabeth with her mom Sorcy Apostol (an activist and educator) on our first day of rehearsal for Dogeaters.
What is your favorite thing about this production?
The camaraderie of the cast is a great thing, but my favorite, are the amazing crew and design team. Our tech process was so specific and incredibly detailed. The designers and crew had the most difficult job of creating the world around us for us to live in – and those elements add so much depth in to the storytelling! I still find myself shocked by some of the design elements when I’m looking around onstage, thinking “Man! That looks so good!”
Now that you’ve had a weekend of performances under our belt, have there been any discoveries/surprises you’ve found in performing this show?
A quiet audience doesn’t necessarily mean a “bad” one. It can get a slightly nerve wracking when certain laughs or reactions aren’t where you’re accustomed to hearing them – but I had to remind myself I’ve been immersed in this world so I’m privy to everything that’s going on. This show is such a kaleidoscope of stories and characters that I can imagine; it can get overwhelming to keep up with everything going on if you aren’t familiar with the world. It’s almost as though they stay quiet as not to miss a thing! And the payoff, of course, is the quiet audiences usually give off the loudest applause.
Rio talks to her Lola’s ghost.
What is your favorite line in Dogeaters (it doesn’t have to be yours)?
“Darling, Communists are always cute.” (Actually, that entire exchange between Perlita & Chiquiting in Act I, Scene 10 – the lovingly messed up banter done in true Filipino fashion!)
From the scene Rinabeth references above: Chiquiting and Perlita sharing tsismis.
What is the favorite role you’ve ever played?
Professional auditioner, all day, everyday! Any and every “role” is just a huge bonus!
Is there one performance you’ve seen that you’ll never forget? What was it?
There are two performances that have moved me like nothing else:
King Lear at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, where there was, what seemed like a torrential downpour in the amphitheater. The audience popped open umbrellas and covered their heads with ponchos and programs. Onstage, the actors continued with the show. Their gorgeous velvet costumes, I’m sure were growing heavier every second it got soaked!
The other was the closing night of Aida on Broadway w/ Deborah Cox in the title role. The passion of the entire cast and Miss Cox had my sister and I in tears – it was as though they were singing for their lives!
In both cases, the actors onstage were giving such dynamic performances under whatever circumstances –and I knew I wanted to be able to do that – to give whatever I could as a performer to an audience and make people feel exactly what I was feeling (in the audience) in those moments. I was so incredibly moved by the performances and sensed just how much the audience was in to it too. It’s a rare thing, when an audience and the performers are on the same page and just want to be together to create an unforgettable evening. Gaaah! My face is starting to leak thinking about it, so let’s end this here!