Can you tell us a little about your character? What do you think is his best quality and worst quality?
Basillio Cruz is a charmer, hustler, and dancer. A devoted husband to Milagros' sister Fely, he carries both a suspicious past and a limp. Was it a war time injury or a tall tale to help him sell insurance? And what about his past wives? Who knows? What we do know is that he loves to dance and tell jokes. His love of life is his best quality. Life is too short not to laugh. Worst quality? Maybe he needs to take it easy on that Tequila.
What is your favorite line in The Gangster of Love (it doesn’t have to be yours)?
"Fine choice, Pilipinos! Pilipinas! We dream of pool halls. Dance Halls. Fiery Sunsets. The sad eyes of broken men." Whew. Jessica "Freak'n" Hagedorn People.
We learn a little about the poets and musicians who inspire Rocky throughout the play. Who are the artists who inspire you?
Every time I'm lucky enough to be part of projects like this, I'm constantly inspired by the artists around me. The actors, director, sound designer, playwright, the stage crew. The love and care I see these artists put into their craft is incredible to soak in. Its motivates me to create more and be better. The magic here is contagious.
What do you anticipate being the most challenging part of your journey towards performance, and which parts do you look forward to?
The challenge of every new work is the evolution that the play must go through to be ready for the masses and having the flexibility to change your performance along with the work. This is also the part I look forward to, being part of this organic process is why theater is such a special art form.
What’s the performance you’re proudest of in your career so far, and what roles would you like to perform in the future?
Not sure what performance I'm proudest of as I enjoy every part I play. I had a great time performing Chuchi in Dogeaters here at the Magic because I got to play a terrible terrible person. When audience members approach you after a show and tell you "I hated you!", it's the BEST feeling! I also recently did a run of Cowboy vs. Samurai (Pear Theater) in March with I LOVED because it was this wild ridiculous comedic character that triggered laughter after every line. So I guess in the future I'd love to play either funny or just plain terrible people. (What does that mean?)
Do you have any funny or exciting stories from previous productions? Goofs, triumphs, unexpected connections?
In my most recent show (Cowboy vs Samurai) I had one scene where everything seemed to just go wrong all at once. My character was dressed like a ninja from head to toe, complete with a solid steel grappling hook around my waist. The scene opened with me sneaking around in the dark, searching through a desk with a flashlight. As I'm frantically searching, the desk drawer I've just opened suddenly just comes off it's hinges, leaving me holding a drawer. The crowd eats it up so I place it on the floor in the darkness and continue with the scene. The lights go on and as I begin my dialogue with my castmate, my solid steel ninja grappling hook just comes off my belt and hits the floor with a loud THUMP. I pick it up and start to swing it around like it happens all the time. We are able to work to the end of the scene where my character is supposed to exit by backing out of the door like a cool confident smooth guy, but this night my sleeve decides to get caught on the door knob and I have to wrangle my way free. It was completely nerve wracking and HILARIOUS at the same time. You expect things to go wrong during live theater, it always happens, but I never got hit with 3 things in one scene. End of the day, the audience still loved it. Whew! Thank goodness for comedies!!
Do you have a favorite Filipino dish? What is it? Would you share the recipe?
Sisig. Sisig is traditionally pork that is marinated in soy sauce, sugar, ginger, and garlic and is cooked and served crispy on a sizzling plate. It's finished with lemon or calamansi (Filipino Lime) juice, chopped onions, and peppers (Serrano or Jalepeno) for some kick. Some (the smart ones) even crack an egg on top of it. You eat it with rice...it's life-changing. My uncle makes the best Bangus (Milkfish) Sisig in the bay at his restaurant Patio Filipino. I never tire of it. I'm definitely an addict.