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.
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.