“I like to challenge myself as an actor.”
That’s Angel Aquino’s quick response when asked why she continues to accept offbeat roles in films, television and, this month, in theater with her casting in Red Turnip Theater’s maiden production of “Closer”, a faithful staging of Patrick Marber’s award-winning play.
“Closer” was also adapted into the big screen by acclaimed filmmaker Mike Nichols (“The Graduate”) in 2004 and starred Julia Roberts, Jude Law, Clive Owen and Natalie Portman.
Asked by InterAksyon how she reacted when she was first offered the role of American photographer Anna Cameron played by Julia Roberts in the film version, Angel admitted that she initially did not take it seriously.
“I was like, ‘Wow! Let’s go for a reading’. But as we got into it, I began to wonder, what did I get myself into?” she recalled.
Although Angel had her first taste of theater back in 2002 when she was included in the cast of New Voice Company’s production of “The Vagina Monologues”, “Closer” is actually her first full-length theater debut.
“I have this huge stage fright. I do hosting jobs and sometimes I screw up my lines. Hindi puwedeng ganun in a dialogue-heavy play like ‘Closer’. I really need to do this right,” she confessed.
To her credit, Angel has done a really good job of bringing Anna to life and, together with fellow stage greenhorn Marc Abaya, holding her own against theater veterans Bart Guingona and Cris Villonco.
“But it’s a wonderful material. It’s beautifully written and I think it’s something that every actor would aspire to be part of so I feel it’s a privilege to play Anna,” she added.
As acting challenges go, “Closer” is not the only project that pushes Angel’s acting ability to its limit. She has been essaying some of the most memorable characters in recent memory, such as the title role in Topel Lee’s psychological horror drama, “Amorosa: The Revenge”; a transgender in Adolfo Alix, Jr.’s provocative Cinemalaya 2013 feature “Porno”; and the unfaithful wife of a hired killer in Erik Matti’s “On The Job”.
And then there’s her recent CineFilipino Best Supporting Actress turn as Pilar, the mysterious new woman in a small town in Sigrid Andrea Bernardo’s acclaimed lesbian coming-of-age drama, “Ang Huling Cha-Cha ni Anita”.
“I was in Lucena doing a fashion show so I wasn’t able to attend the awards night. But I kept telling everyone involved in the film to keep me updated and they texted me all night, and I was so happy with the awards we won,” she exclaimed.
Angel admitted that she was surprised that “Ang Huling Cha-Cha” was one of two films to be honored with the festival’s Best Film award. “But I’ve always believed in the film. The first time I read the script, I really wanted to do it, it was such a great material and Pilar was a great character to play.”
She said she was also very happy for her young co-star Teri Malvar, who won Best Actress. “The vehicle was really good for her and brought out the best in her acting. I really wanted her to win because she worked so hard,” she admitted.
One of the film’s highlights was a kissing scene involving their respective characters. For Angel, doing delicate scenes is part of one’s growth as an actor.
“A kissing scene is a kissing scene. Kahit sino pa yan, dapat halikan mo siya the way you should kiss that person in real life, whether it’s a man or a woman, whether you like it or you don’t, you just have to do what needs to be done when you’re playing a role,” she pointed out.
As for being regarded as a sensual actress, Angel chalks that up to years of experience.
“When you’ve been acting for several years as I have, you learn a few things, develop a few tricks and experiment on some traits you’re not very familiar with like, yes, sensuality. You just have to bring that to the fore.”
Directed by Ana Abad Santos, “Closer” runs every Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays until October 27. Venue is at Whitespace located at 2314 Chino Roces Ave. Extension (formerly Pasong Tamo Extension), Makati.
Catch Red Turnip Theater's CLOSER
OCT 26 2013 | SAT | 3PM| Whitespace, Makati
Patron Ticket Prices: 1000
Contact: Onay Sales 0917.908.0565 or Jayme 0927.202.2017