Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Defining What's Normal

(The Philippine Star)
Original Article can be found HERE

His name doesn’t command top billing but actor Jake Macapagal has things as important as stardom: A body of work and integrity.

More than two decades as theater and movie actor, Jake has portrayed a wide range of characters in major and indie projects. From key roles as healer (in Pandango) to the inconspicuous party guest (in Sakay), the soft-spoken actor has, indeed, been there, done that in a way that allowed him to even work in Japan, Singapore and Germany.

In the next few weeks, Jake will be adding to his back catalogue by playing Dr. Madden, a shrink in Atlantis Productions’ Next to Normal. His patient is the lead character Diana, who has bi-polar disorder, a psychological disorder characterized by alternating episodes of depression and mania.

“Not only did I have to research on the disorder but some of the lyrics have medical terms. It’s something I’ve not done before,” he said.

More than testing his mettle in learning tongue-twisting words, Jake said he auditioned for the role because he believes in the message of the story; that is, defining (or in this case, not defining) what is normal.

“What can be normal to you may be abnormal to someone else. Ultimately, the story tells us to not be judgmental of others,” he said.

Next to Normal is a Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize winning rock musical that addresses such issues as grieving a loss, suicide, drug abuse and ethics in modern psychiatry. Sounds heavy? Not if you ask Jake.

“It helps that there are lots of singing and that the music is country and rock, two genres that many Filipinos can relate to. It’s kinda like Rent — you have tons of fun that you hardly notice you’re learning a lot about yourself, the world and your relationships”.

Jake acknowledges that bipolar disorder as subject for a musical may be taboo, if not left-of-center, to some Filipinos. He points out that many Pinoys still frown on the idea of visiting a shrink unless he is deranged.

“But bipolar disorder can affect anyone even without them or their family knowing that he has it. So how could you address the issue if you don’t acknowledge it first and then do something about it?”

Asked if he thinks his role in Next to Normal could be his ticket to stardom, Jake just smiles. He said that what’s more important for him is that he does a variety of roles and that he gives each one justice.

Spoken like a true actor.

Catch Atlantis Productions' NEXT TO NORMAL
on March 19, 2011 / 2PM / Saturday / RCBC

Borgy Marzan (0922.888.5344)
Robert Marzan (0922.888.5348)
or Onay Sales (0918.536.2116)
 Seat Plan can be viewed here:

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