Q&A: FullHouse theater group seeks to satiate a hunger for meaningful plays
THERE is a hunger that afflicts six individuals – a hunger that begs to be fed in a form of a limelight-filled stage and a thousand gripping lines. These six individuals decided not to wait for feeding time — they went ahead and searched for something that could relieve them. And thus, FullHouse was born.
This newly formed theater brand is composed of experienced actors, all with a desire to express their creativity by staging meaningful plays. Their maiden production is Love Confessions: A Collections of Monologues, Soliloquies and Poetry, which presents nine poignant and truthful stories, nicely balanced with the simplicity of its staging and the breathtaking swirls of both conflict and brilliance. It was first staged last Oct. 3 at the Artist Hall of Benedicto College and again, due to popular demand, last Oct. 10.
But not only do they conceptualize play productions but they champion the group by doing everything — financing, coordination with partners and vendors, mounting, directing, marketing, etc. Truly, hunger does make a man do everything.
Sun.Star Weekend got a chance to get to know the six actors, and friends, behind FullHouse: Eli Razo, Clint Solante, Ansel Ancajas, Troy Tomarong, Rachel Laya-og and Josh Eballe.
How important is theater for you?
Eli: As an actor, theater is one of the integral tools for training in all kinds of performances. As an audience, it is one of timeless entertainment medium about human relationships. As for me personally, it is a reflection of myself that moves me to become a better human being.
Ansel: Theater is home to me. It keeps me from going insane in this 9 to 5 world.
Clint: Theater is education. It’s a great way to learn and it teaches us about people, ideas and enhances or develops our creativity.
Josh: Before I became part of the BPO industry, I was a high school teacher for nearly six years teaching History (first year to fourth year levels). One of the approaches or tools in learning that I use when I teach was role playing. I found out that the lessons are retained and the students developed appreciation towards History. I realized that classroom role playing (which is the fundamental ground of theater) changes how students, and people in general, view things. I realized that theater is important because it is a tool that can change how people see or perceive things thus, making them more logical and thinking individuals.
Troy: It is important as it is the mecca of truth. It is truth magnified on-stage added with stage elements.
Rachel: In a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest, I’d say 8. It is important because in a sense, it has become a part of me.
What roles do you play as theater group members?
Eli: With the group, I play the role as the Line Producer or Host of the House since we literally rehearse and train at my basement. As a character to play, any role that challenges or amuses me in heroic proportions.
Ansel: In Love Confessions, I play someone who is still longing and hoping for love to return. The concept of moving on is difficult and painful but necessary for my character.
Clint: Aside from being an actor of Love Confessions, I also handle all the music requirements of the play as the Musical Director. As the musical director, I make sure that the music used in the play is appropriate. Since I am also acting on stage, I make sure that I calibrate the Technical Director as far as musical background is concerned.
Josh: Since we are a startup and haven’t formally identified the technical and functional roles of each member, I consider myself as the “compass” of the group. I provide direction and strategy in terms of how we position the FullHouse brand. On the Creatives side, aside from being one of the resident actors of FullHouse, I also write and edit scripts for the group.
Troy: I am active in terms of pitching in the creative and artistic side of the production. We don’t have any director in Love Confessions. Therefore, I see to it that I wear my director’s hat during rehearsals, and during situations when the group needs a “devil’s advocate.”
Rachel: On the business side, I’m the Marketing Head and the Finance Head. As an actor, I assume the role of the “strict sister.” I impose discipline among the other members by making sure that they arrive on time during rehearsals, that they are prepared during rehearsals, that they fulfilled their commitments to the group, etc. I provide honest and sincere feedback whenever we critique our performances.
What kind of pieces are you most inclined to do?
Eli: Pieces with either the right balance of everything or with two or more powerful conditions, contradictions or dilemmas.
Ansel: I welcome any piece as I long as I feel that I can give justice to it. I mostly do dramatic pieces and I have a flare for adlibs in comedic sequences. I love roles that I can play with.
Clint: I am open to play different characters as long as it fits me.
Josh: I guess because of my physical attributes, I am given mostly characters that exhibits power, authority and intensity. This includes characters who are villainous, unyielding, and the like which requires compelling emotional demands. Though I am happy about these, I am looking forward to doing characters like Eddie Redmayne’s “The Danish Girl,” Sean Penn’s “I am Sam,” or Colin Firth’s “The King’s Speech.”
Troy: I am inclined to a role that has social relevance and caters to the human emotions because there’s just much truth in it and you’ll never go wrong if there’s truth in everything that you do on stage.
Rachel: Mostly dramatic pieces. I usually perform roles that require heavy emotional demands and deep characterization.
Who are your theater influences?
Eli: I get my notes from Hagen, Meinser & most recently Chubbuck.
Ansel: Every Pinoy would have to include Lea Salonga because she is fab and brilliant. Other influences would include my peers and probably the first thing I can recall learning about theatre is about Stanislavsky’s method and all and that influenced me in a way.
Clint: I would not say that there is someone who influenced me. But there was a time i watched a stage play and was observing the actors. I thought to myself if i could give it a try and then discovered that this is my passion.
Josh: My first taste of theater was in college under Liceo Theater Arts (LITA) with my college theater director Estrelito Galarita. Sir Lits, as I fondly call him, was generous in sharing his knowledge and expertise to me and the rest of my theater colleagues. The most important lesson I learned from Sir Lits, in terms of my role as an actor which I can also share with the readers is to always research. Whatever role is given to you, make sure you’ve done your research.
Troy: Butch & ETC (Edgework Theater Company)
Rachel: I’d say the University of San Carlos – Theater Guild. I started my theater experience with TG and it is where I harnessed my craft. It is where also I built relationships with people.
What can you say to people who have yet to come out of their shells and try theater?
Eli: “Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure… than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.” — Theodore Roosevelt
Ansel: I’ll say that they will probably need to just join one or audition for one and they will be hooked. The passion and the thrill will get you going.
Clint: Theater is a place where you learn how to express and boost your confidence. You just got to enjoy it and have fun.
Josh: I always believe that people need to leverage on their strengths. If arts (not just theater) is your passion, then by all means pursue it.
Troy: Push mo yan!
Rachel: Never be afraid to explore and surprise yourself everyday. Always trust in your dreams.