Ogie tries drama anew
Ogie Alcasid in his Best Actor-worthy role as a simpleton in Kuya We.
Ogie tries drama anew
FUNFARE - Ricky Lo (The Philippine Star) - October 5, 2019 - 12:00am

As a judge (hurado) in the Tawag Ng Tanghalan (TNT) segment of It’s Showtime, what Ogie Alcasid avoids is unwittingly hurting a contestant (especially children) and being summoned to “the principal’s office.”

It’s true that a judge has to be honest, that he owes it to the contestant to be honest even if it (sometimes) hurts, but Ogie sees to it that he doesn’t cross the line between honest-to-goodness objective criticism (positive) and unintentional “offensive” comments.

“There’s a way of saying it without being hurtful,” explained Ogie who was nursing a sore throat when he had lunch with selected movie writers at Frazzled restaurant (on Scout Gandia, Quezon City). “You know, you gently tell the contestant, ‘medyo inalat ka today; it’s not your day today…like in basketball, hindi ka lang naka-shoot. You have the voice but this day isn’t good’.”

Ogie Alcasid with his children Leila, Sarah and brother Nate.

Unlike their counterparts in similar talent-search shows who are comforting and nurturing, extremely nice even when pointing out “faults” in the contestants’ singing, some of local judges can be harsh and brutal, discouraging instead of encouraging aspiring talents.

“A lot of our singers are very sensitive,” noted Ogie, “so judges must be careful and cautious in treating them. Did you know that we judges do get summoned to ‘the principal’s office?’ Yes, it happens especially when the comment has nothing to do with the singing. As long as you don’t get personal, okey lang, basta you don’t resort to body-shaming (commenting on a contestant’s weight or manner of dressing, etc.), bashing o nilalait mo ‘yung pagkatao. You don’t want to come out as a villain and yet you just have to be honest.”

But as an actor, Ogie dares cross the line from comedy to drama. People say that comedians are good actors and it has been proven many times, in fact by Ogie himself when he was named Best Actor (for his performance as a simpleton in the indie Kuya Wes) last year by the PMPC Star Awards for Movies.

In tonight’s episode of MMK (Maalaala Mo Kaya), Ogie plays a puppeteer (based on a real story), a clown and a budding artist with four children leading a hard life.

“Doing drama is hard,” conceded Ogie, “and I’ve turned down several offers. I didn’t want to do (the MMK episode) but when I bumped into Ruel Bayani (head of ABS-CBN business unit) at the recent Sine Sandaan event, he told me, ‘Ogie, you have to do it,’ so I said yes.”

Surprisingly, Ogie enjoyed it and acquitted himself pretty well even in the crucial breakdown scene.

“Masakit sa dibdib,” he confessed. “I hated the feeling. It’s painful here (pointing to his chest) at hindi ako makahinga.”

But it was easy for Ogie to identify with the character because he’s also a father of three (Leila and Sarah with ex-wife Michelle van Eimeren and Nate with current wife Regine Velasquez). It’s Leila, 22, who has followed in Ogie’s footsteps (while Sarah lives with her mom and her stepfather in Australia).

“Leila is of age na so she pretty does what she wants to do and I let her be. She has a gift of songwriting; she’s a brilliant songwriter. Her style is between jazz and soul/blues, parang Nora Jones. She’s also a great vlogger with many followers. Besides songwriting, she’s also interested in investing.”

Ogie confirmed that Leila has a boyfriend, a Filipino rapper named Mito Fabie (a.k.a. Curtismith). He said that he trusts Leila so he doesn’t have to impose any do’s and don’t’s.

“No sleepover, though,” stressed Ogie, “and (her boyfriend) can’t sleep in our house,” adding, “I like Mito. He’s a good influence on Leila.”

One time, related Ogie, he invited Mito to have a drink when Mito visited Leila. They talked over a bottle of Scotch.

“Hindi pala siya drinker,” laughed Ogie (who is a few inches shorter than his future son-in-law who stands 5’10”). “We almost consumed the whole bottle, one-fourth na lang ang natira, with me drinking more than he was. I said, ‘Matutulog na ako,’ and when I was about to go to our room, I overheard Mito telling Leila, ‘I’m so drunk,’ so I told Leila to let him sleep muna sa sofa.”

Aside from TNT and his Oct. 10 concert Ogie and the Hurados at Resorts World Manila (RWM…see side story), Ogie is preparing for the stage musical set for next year, featuring more than 20 of his hit songs.

Lawyer Romy Macalintal with soon-to-be guests (on his new DZRH show Senior Moments) Rep. Lito Atienza (left) and Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto

Senior moments of poetry and songs

Often, we refer to the phrase “senior moment” as a sign of aging or unable to recall something.

But lawyer Romy Macalintal has a different view of the phrase as he revives his former radio program of songs and poetry. This time it will be on radio-TV over DZRH aptly titled Senior Moments, every Saturday (with initial airing tonight at 9 o’clock, in time with the celebration of Elderly Week from Oct. 1 to 7 as mandated by Republic Act No. 10868).

Romy said that “the ‘senior moments’ in our new program refers to those periods of time or all instances when we share happy events and memories with our loved ones. Yes, January to December, we will have moments to remember, if I may borrow from that immortal song of the Four Lads in the ’50s.”

Similar to his previous radio show, Romy will read love poems together with a celebrity who accepted his invitation to likewise read love poems. After each poem, a love song will be rendered by an invited singer or group of singers, and/or a song of yesteryears. The reading of poems is also open to all listeners especially to senior citizens who may want to show their talent in poem reading.

Romy hopes to revive that age-old tradition of poem reading and poem writing which had practically vanished in our culture and tradition.

“In one website, which asked the question: ‘Is poetry (still) popular nowadays?’ one categorically answered, ‘No, because the art of reading poems has been permanently lost with the advent of visual media’,” Romy lamented.

Thus, Romy is very confident that with his renewed and revitalized radio-TV show, “love poems will be heard again and not merely read silently in the room and to make you fall in love again… forever,” he added.

Already lined up to read love poems for this month are Rep. Lito Atienza, Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto, Secretary Martin Andanar and Ricky Davao.

Since the program is catered to senior citizens, Romy will still find time to discuss the benefits and privileges of the elderly and will answer questions from his audience on the proper implementation of the laws on the elderly and PWDs (People With Disability).

(For more updates, photos and videos, visit www.philstar.com/funfare or follow me on Instagram @therealrickylo.)

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