Mike Sagun joins us to discuss Dogeaters, acting and his aunties' tsismis. Mike plays revolutionary Santos Tirador, Lieutenant Pepe Carreon and action star Tito Alvarez.
If you could play another character in Dogeaters who would you choose? Why?
I'd love to play the fierce Perlita Alacran. She reminds of my aunties that feed and live off tsismis at family parties--always gossiping and laughing around a game of mahjong or while eating kamayan style around a table filled with food like: lechon. I can see them pssst'ing at each other and pointing with their lips at a poor unsuspecting woman with a knock off Louis bag. I also love wearing high heels. And Perlita loves her heels.
What are you most looking forward to about this production?
I'm really looking forward to hearing the audience's response to this production. I think it's going to make people laugh, cry, and uncomfortable. The story is so real and Loretta does a brilliant job capturing life and putting it on stage. I feel like we are a cast that really cares about the work--it helps that most of us are Filipinos/APIs and the story resonates deep in our bones. We have family members and friends that lived through the Marcos regime and have first hand experience with what it was like to be in the Philippines during that time.
And I think Dogeaters paints a vivid picture of the effects and ramifications of what imperialism and colonialism can do to a country--good and bad--and everyone can relate to imperialism and colonialism in some form.
What drew you to participate in this production of Dogeaters?
A few friends of mine invited me to watch a reading of it in early 2015. I remember them describing it as, "A show about the Philippines with a bunch of Filipinos." This piqued my interest. I fell in love with the script after watching the reading and I knew that I had to audition. When will I ever be able to use my Pilipino accent in a show?! I mean, it's only on my theatre resume under 'special skills'.
How did you get into acting? What was your first gig?
Growing up, I loved performing and acting in front of family members. I thrived under the spotlight. And in the seventh grade I signed up for an elective called speech and drama. During that time in my life I was going through a lot of family issues and I found that putting on a costume or acting like a different character was very healing for me. That year Mr. Ebersole cast me as the lead in his original play called Tommy in TV Land. From then on I was hooked. I ended up doing theater in high school. And after high school I landed a job with Kaiser Permanente Educational Theatre. Theatre has always been an outlet for me and it will always be.
Why do you think it is important that we produce this play today? How do you think it will resonate with a contemporary audience?
We're in a really interesting time in our country. Our politics are being divided further than we've ever seen. The wealth disparity is significant. Innocent people are being murdered on the streets by the very hands that are supposed to protect us. I think we are people that love this country and want change. And I think these are themes that run parallel to Dogeaters. And I hope people see the similarities and feel the conflict we might have as Americans just like some of the Pilipinos in the show