And then there were seven
Amadís Ma. Guerrero (The Philippine Star) - February 2, 2016 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines – Do you possess acting, singing and dancing skills? If so, would you like to be a member of the Actors Company, the core group of performers of Tanghalang Pilipino (TP), resident drama group of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP)?

Well, you audition, do a monologue where you can show how well you emote, then interpret a song and do a dance number. If you pass the audition and are accepted following evaluation, you may go through three levels: Scholar, Apprentice and Member. The three levels signify the number of years of actively participating in the productions, and length of service with the company. The Members have stayed longest with Tanghalang Pilipino, and enjoy regular pay.

“The Scholars are the new ones,” says Nanding Josef, Tanghalang Pilipino artistic director and a teleserye character actor of ABS-CBN. “After one year, they are evaluated and those with high artistic potential, are disciplined and have good human values and team spirit become Apprentices. And after another year, or perhaps several years, depending on the finances, they become a full-fledged Member.”

There are now only seven in The Actors Company (AC) — four actors and three actresses: Jonathan (Tad) Tadiowan, Marco Viaña, JV Ibesate, Aido Vencilao Lhorvie Nuevo, Antonette Go and Doray Dayao.

“Aldo has comic timing,” observes Nanding. “He knows how to use his body, is very intelligent and a critical thinker, very analytical. His natural talent is in comedy but he showed himself adept in serious drama.”

As for Lhorvie, “She has very Pinay features,” says the TP mentor. “At first, I doubted if she could make it. She’s very shy, natatakot sa English but she turned out to be very good. She has natural intelligence, a natural understanding of human problems and stage presence. She is humble and hardworking, and determined to be a good actress.”

JV, a theater arts graduate of the University of the Philippines, has a command of both English and Tagalog, is eloquent, a good emcee, very organized, a good singer, a good coordinator, very analytical and has both artistic and administrative skills. “But,” declares Nanding, “he has to do something about his baby fat! He could become a Pinoy leading man in contrast to Marco, who is very mestizo.”

Antonette is a film communications graduate of De La Salle University. “She was interested in backstage work at first but turned out to be a potential lead actress,” says the mentor. “She is very skilled in spoken English and Tagalog, often teams up with JV as emcee, is intelligent, pretty and Chinese-looking.”

The lone Scholar, Doray, is a late-bloomer and has a business background. One fine day, with time on her hands, she decided to take a TP summer workshop and what do you know, she impressed the trainers. “She has good timing,” notes Nanding. “She is good at analyzing the material and the emotions she showed were quite sincere, deep… She has a deep understanding of human emotions which she is able to bring out.”

Now Jonathan and Marco are the full-fledged Members, tried-and-tested actors with AC. “Si Tad,” says the artistic director, “Hirap mag-English. Akala ko hindi niya maiintindihan ang Shakespeare, pero napaka-natural ang kanyang understanding of even the most difficult Western plays. Like magic. No matter how simple or how short the role is, he has proven many times (how effective he can be). And he has a very good singing voice, he’s a tenor.”

As for the handsome hunk Marco Viaña, raves Nanding, “He is truly lead actor material, good-looking, tall and deep… His (spoken voice) is good but his weakness is his singing voice. He can also dance.”

But there’s a catch, and this to the credit of Marco: “Parang ayaw sumikat, natatakot sya. He wants to be challenged by different roles; he’s hungry for varied roles, mala-Johnny Depp, very experimental. He is so interested in proving that he is not just a pretty face.”

As of now, the seven are focused on their career with TP and have no intention of going into movies (Tad had an acclaimed bit role in a Cinemalaya film) or TV. But that is always a possibility. So the training they receive (which includes script analysis) may include how to adjust to acting in a teleserye, face the camera, lower your voice, act more naturally and so forth.

Through the years, Members, some of them have become prominent and with families, have come and gone, for reasons or another, having to earn a living (not much money in theater, only prestige), or they tried other fields or went abroad.

Some are into the teleserye, with their irregular working, and they miss the discipline and the camaraderie of the theater. And so, when they have time to spare, they go back to the company which first trained them, whether this be Tanghalang Pilipino, PETA, Gantimpala Foundation or Repertory Philippines.

Tanghalang Pilipino artistic director Nanding Josef with the members of The Actors Company — Jonathan (Tad) Tadiowan, Marco Viaña, JV Ibesate, Aido Vencilao Lhorvie Nuevo, Antonette Go and Doray Dayao


  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?
Login is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with