Last, but certainly not least in our series of cast interviews, we have Jomar Tagatac who plays the glamorous Perlita alongside the ruthless General Ledesma.
If you could play another character in Dogeaters who would you choose? Why?
If I could play a different character, I'd want to play Perlita playing Imelda Marcos. I think it would be a fun challenge to have Perlita's point of view playing an iconic character like that. Perlita would probably play up the glamorousness of Imelda while at the same time revealing Imelda's ridiculousness, but all in good fun and in a sneaky way of course. Either that, or Pucha. Sometimes it can be fun to gossip and misbehave at a restaurant.
What is your favorite thing about this production?
I love the sense of family. I've been lucky enough to feel a sense of family in all the productions I've been in, but this is one big family...typical Filipino style. I also love hearing Loretta bust out some tagalog phrases. Hot night tonight, di ba?
What has it been like working with Jessica Hagedorn?
It's been a blast to work with her. When I saw her on the first day of rehearsal, she had her arms open to hug me. She kissed me on the cheek and said, "I'm back and I've come to torture you." Torture me all you want Jessica. I like dat! She is so kind and gracious and insistent, just like my own mother. I call her auntie sometimes because she feels like that, familiar. I miss her and hope she comes back in town for the closing show. Jessica did you hear me? Come back!!!
What was the rehearsal process like for you?
The rehearsal process was tricky. The first part was to really understand the world of play and the state of the country at that time. Thankfully Lily and Sonia, our two dramaturgs had collected great information for us to reference. After that, the scene work begins. Loretta is such a great leader in guiding us to find the answers to what the scene is about and why these characters have come to this point where the scene has to happen. And the last part was to fully be engrossed in the characters we play. A lot of us played multiple characters. It was important to make sure Perlita and Ledesma were two separate people, making sure that one character didn't bleed into the other. They are both on opposite sides of the spectrum anyway. I just had a thought of Ledesma doing a drag show. Hmmmmm.
Can you tell us a little about your character? What do you think is his/her best quality? Worst?
I think Perlita's worst quality is that she feels this need to control everything. Her best quality is that she is who she is without any apology. And she gives that same respect to everyone around her. Ledesma's worst quality is that everything is black and white. There is no gray area to him. Ledesma's best quality is, I think it's important to know that Ledesma has a heart. He isn't made of stone and isn't a robot. That's why I love that Prayer scene. He is asking for forgiveness for his actions.
What is your favorite line in Dogeaters?
My favorite line is said by Daisy. " Do you love this country?" I love the placement of the line in where it's said in the story. I love the way the actor says it, with such sincerity and simplicity. I love that she's really asking the question. I love that there's a sense of hope.