<script async src="//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js"></script> <!-- Showbiz Portal Bottom 1 300x250, created 10/15/10 --> <ins class="adsbygoogle" style="display:inline-block;width:300px;height:250px" data-ad-client="ca-pub-1272644781333770" data-ad-slot="2530175011"></ins> <script> (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); </script>
Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Jul 4, 2018

RS Francisco Reprises His Original As Song Liling In 'M Butterfly' In A Revival Of The Award-Winning Play This Coming September

RS Francisco
RS FRANCISCO has won several best actor awards for his crackerjack portrayal of the title role in the acclaimed film, “Boy Intsik”. Now, it’s full circle for him as he returns to where he originally started as an actor: the stage. 28 years ago in 1990, he played the iconic role of Song Liling in David Henry Hwang’s Tony Award-winning 1988 play, “M Butterfly”, in a production staged by Dulaang UP, with the late Behn Cervantes as his leading man, the French diplomat Rene Gallimard.

The revival of the play will be directed this time by Kanakan Balintagos (formerly Aureus Solito best known for the film “Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros”) as produced by New York-based Tony Award-winning producer Jhett Tolentino. Song Liling is a Chinese opera star who turns out to be a spy. How will RS approach it this time?

“I was only 18 at that time,” he says. “E, supposed to be, Song Liling and Gallimard have been in a relationship for 20 years na, so that means my age was just negative 2 when we started. I was so young and I was scared baka di ko kaya, but our director, Tony Mabesa, told me: Kaya mo yan. Now that I’m 28, joke, I think I am in a better position to give justice to the role. Kasi noon, wala pa akong masyadong life experience and since then, ang dami ko ng struggles and heartbreaks na pinagdaanan so I have more maturity in interpreting the role. I’m more age appropriate now as Song Liling, who’s based on a real life character. This time, we want to share her story with today’s younger generation of millennials.”

Producer Jhett Tolentino says the new production of “M Butterfly” will have a more contemporary
outlook with new stage design and costumes by Eric Pineda. This will be shown from September 13 to 30 at the BGC’s Maybank Performing Arts Theater. Playing Gallimard this time is a real Frenchman, Olivier Borten; with Pinky Amador as his wife, Helga; Lee O’Brien (Pokwang’s real life partner) as his friend, Mars; Norman McLeod as Ambassador Toulon; Rebecca Chuaunsu as Comrade Chin and also as the geisha Suzuki; and Maya Encila as Renee, a Danish girl with whom Gallimard also has an affair. Members of the ensemble cast include Aira Jay Igarta, John Paulo Ortenero, Llena Ballug, Kay Megan Kierulf, Ulysses Basa and Rica Nepomuceno.

Lee O'Brien
RS Francisco is also the head of Frontrow International, a direct selling company marketing quality health and beauty products. “Being an actor and playing different roles helped me a lot in this business as I am able to connect quickly and relate well with people from various walks of life,” he says. “But now, it really excites me to go back to acting in theater and work for the first time with Kanakan as my director as I’m a fan of his movies.”

His producer, Jhett Tolentino, made his debut in Broadway in 2013 and has since won three Tony Awards for original plays like “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder”, “Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike” and the revival of “A Raisin in the Sun”. He was born in Iloilo and has an accountancy degree from the University of Iloilo in 1997. He moved to San Francisco in 2002 for a sales job and to New York in 2004. He got a certificate as a nursing assistant from the American Medical Career Training Center and worked as a health care professional. He also started writing reviews of play in his blog and this started his love affair with the theatre industry.

Oliver Borten
RS says he’s seriously excited working with Jhett as his producer. “What we have now is definitely a new and very fresh take on ‘M Butterfly’, very different from any of its versions before. Preparing for my role as Song Liling encouraged me to eat right, work out and I even had liposuction to get rid of unwanted fats kasi baka sabihin ng director na kailangang may nude scene na naman ako like before. And I’m ready to do anything to do right in my theater comeback.”

Tickets for the play ranging from P1,000 to P2,000 are now available at Ticketworld, 891-9999. The proceeds from all the stagings will go to various beneficiaries, like Hope for Change for the children of Tondo, Love Yourself Foundation for HIV awareness, Philippine Stagers of Atty. Vince Tanada, among others. Accompanying the show is an exhibit called The Chrysallis, featuring the works of the country’s best photographers including Wig Tysmans, Mandy Navasero, Patrick Uy, Raymond Isaac, Jun de Leon, BJ Pascual and Manny Librodo.