Ni: Ruel J. Mendoza
AFTER 28 years, muling gagampanan ng actor-producer-entrepreneur na si R.S. Francisco ang role na Song Liling sa muling pag-stage ng Tony Award winning play ni David Henry Hwang na M. Butterfly on September 14, 2018 at the Maybank Performing Arts Theater in Taguig.
R.S. was only 18-years old noong lumabas siya sa production ng Dulaang UP na M. Butterfly in May 1990.
Ang kuwento ng M. Butterfly ay tungkol sa isang French diplomat na si Rene Gillamard na-in love for 20 years sa isang Chinese opera diva (Song Liling) na hindi niya alam na isang lalake pala.
Unang na-stage ang M. Butterfly on Broadway in 1988 at pinagbidahan ito ni John Lithgow as Gallimard and B.D. Wong as Song Liling. Nanalo ito ng tatlong Tony Awards bilang Best Play, Best Featured Actor (B.D. Wong) and Best Director (John Dexter).
The play was inspired by Giaccomo Puccini’s opera “Madame Butterfly” and is loosely based on events surrounding a 1986 espionage trial of French Diplomat Bernard Boursicot and Shi Pei Pu, a Peking opera singer.
Para kay R.S., naging turning point ng kanyang career ang pagganap niya bilang Song Liling sa M. Butterfly.
“In so many ways, M. Butterfly served as a turning point in my career.
“To play Song Liling again after 28 years, it brings back so many fond memories.
“One instance during opening night, Tony Mabesa, Dulaang Up’s founding artistic director, handed me my first paycheck of P2,500, which was for 20 shows.
“My initial reaction was, ‘No, no, no, I’m doing this for free,’ kasi doon po ako nasanay.
“I love to act and I would do it na walang bayad. But he said, ‘No, this is yours, you deserve it,” kuwento pa ni R.S.
Malaki na raw ang pagkakaiba sa unang pagganap niya as Song Liling noong 18 years old siya sa ngayon na 46 years old siya.
“Wala pa akong masyadong life experience when I was 18. Kailangan humugot ako in order to try to think I was 40.
“I’ve gone through so much. Dumating ang hardships, all the heartbreaks and I can put that all sa character ko as Song Liling.
“I feel, with Kanakan Balintagos’ direction and motivation, I can layer Song Liling even more.
“That’s how I feel I can do justice to the role, more than I did 28 yeard ago,” diin pa ni R.S.