Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The not-so-invisible girl

CHASING TOFF By Christopher De Venecia  
(The Philippine Star)
Original Article can be found HERE 

There comes a time in every actor’s life when the perfect show, the perfect material, and the perfect role come together at the perfect moment and everything humdrum can quite possibly turn golden. The world halts for a split-second. The actor is overcome with unfathomable emotion, an out-of-body experience if you will, and a star is possibly born  that is, until the euphoria fleets as fast as it had initially crystallized and there is that stark realization, “Holy sh*t! I’ve gotta get to work!”

Such is the experience of theater actress Bea Garcia who will be getting her break this March in Atlantis’ forthcoming production of Next to Normal. A Pulitzer award-winning rock musical about a suburban mother who struggles with bipolar disorder and a dysfunctional family that’s left to pick up the pieces, Bea is working tremendously hard to do justice to the role of anxious and overachieving 16-year-old Natalie. STAR spends some quality time with the 25-year-old actress who will be sharing the stage with the likes of Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo and The Dawn’s Jett Pangan as she talks about the role of Natalie, being the on-stage girlfriend of Markki Stroem, and doing theater since as far as she can remember.

PHILIPPINE STAR: Tell us a little something about yourself.

BEA GARCIA: I’m 25 years old, and my first love has always been musical theater. I took my first acting workshop when I was six, and eventually ventured into professional theater when I was seven.

You were first seen as Little Cosette in Rep’s Les Miserables. How have you grown as an artist since then?

Les Miz was more than 17 years ago, and back then, I really was doing it simply because I enjoyed it. I did not fully grasp the discipline it entails and did not have the passion I have for theater then as I do now.

Describe your character Natalie.

Natalie is the daughter of Diana (a suburban mom who is diagnosed with bipolar disorder, played by Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo). She is basically the character who craves her mother’s love and attention but is let down many times. We see how this affects her life, and everything around her.

How different or similar are you to your character?

Well, I, too, am the only child. Luckily, my parents have been amazing and have been the two most supportive people in my life. Unlike Natalie, I think I have and will always have the love she felt she lacked from her family.

How did you prepare for the role?

I did a lot of research before we started the rehearsal process. I try to look at everything (Natalie) goes through, and internalize the kind of pain and difficulty she feels every single day, and how it manifests in her life and her relationships.

How is Bobby Garcia as a director?

Direk Bobby is great. He not only encourages us to be the best we can be but he helps us along the way. He also asks us questions that make us evaluate the choices that we make, and he is very clear with his vision for the show. I am very lucky to be working with him.

Who inspires you as an artist?

My greatest sources of inspiration are my parents. When I was a child, my mom and dad always told me that the only way I will truly be happy in life is if I love what I do  I remember this advice and follow it to this day.

What’s it like being scene partners with Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo and Jett Pangan?

I cannot put into words how inspiring Tita Mench and Jett are! They are both very generous actors. Even when we are just talking outside rehearsal time, I learn a lot from them. Tita Menchu has always been one of the most supportive people in my life, and I always come to her for advice; she really is like a mom to me.

How’s it sharing the stage with Markki Stroem who plays Natalie’s boyfriend Henry in the show?

It has been really great working with Markki! He’s new but he has so much passion for theater and he is so open to learning. You would think that he’d be different because of the fame he’s gotten over the years, but he’s totally humble.

What musicals would you like to see done here in Manila?

Wicked! Thoroughly Modern Millie! Rock of Ages!

Finally, where do you see yourself 10 years from now?

A happy mom and wife, but still very much involved in the theater scene. I dream to also be able to put up a school that will train young actors and bring theater to the less privileged.

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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