Saturday, February 27, 2016

You Turn : Liesl Catherine Hermosisima Batucan

Isa sa mga hinahangaan sa mundo ng sining lalo na sa teatro ay walang iba kundi si Ms. Liesl Batucan. Base sa aking pangkakaalala nakilala ko si Liesl Batucan noong napanood ko siya sa "Wait until Dark" ng Repertory Philippines doon pa lamang ay nakita ko na sa kanya na talagang pinapahalagaan niya ang kanyang trabaho. Mas lalo ko siyang hinangaan noong nagkaroon kami ng munting usapan pagkatapos ng play na iyon. Marahil doon na nagsimula ang lahat kung bakit naging malapit na rin ako kahit papaano sa kanya.

Kaya naman bilang isang tagahanga niya sa mundo ng teatro naisipan ko siyang interviewhin para sa aking You Turn kung saan tinatampok ang ilan sa mga magagaling at may passion sa kanilang ginawa.

Tara kilalanin natin ng husto kung sino nga ba si Ms. Liesl Batucan sa mundo ng teatro.

Full Name and Alias: Liesl Catherine Hermosisima Batucan / Liesl Batucan
Instagram: lieslbatucan
Education: Magna Cum Laude, University of the Philippines Diliman, College of Business Administration

Mabining Mandirigma of Tanghalang Pilipino

Tell me something about yourself that people don't know:
When I was a young girl, I had all this creative energy that just kept bubbling out, so all this love for the arts went into writing poetry and short stories, composing songs on the piano, singing, dancing, and drawing! Lots of sketching and painting and drawing. Which led my young mind to believe I wanted to be an Architect. Haha! So my first course in UP Diliman was actually Architecture, before I decided it wasn't an optimal fit.

What is your current state of mind before we continue with the interview?
Grateful. Blessed. Centered. Peaceful.

When did you first know you wanted to become an stage actor?
I had been working in corporate finance with SGV&Co. for 3 years when I decided to audition for Repertory Philippines, basically on a whim. At that time, I just wanted a fresh new adventure. I love adventures! I think of life as one big adventure! And I love to just jump into it!

What was the first show you ever did?
My first theatre production was Repertory Philippines' Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. That was 1993.

And hows the experience?
Love at first sight. I fell in love with the Theatre.

What has been your favorite role so far?
Oh my goodness. It's so difficult and rather painful for me to pick a favorite. Because I love them all. And I've lived all those lives. They all have a unique and special place in my heart.

EMIR Movie
Have you ever played someone of the opposite gender?
Oh perfect question my dear Axl! Now, haha! I currently have the immense honor of playing a True Hero: Señor Apolinario Mabini. And am so grateful to Sir Chris Millado (CCP Artistic Director and Mabining Mandirigma Director) and Tata Nanding Josef (Tanghalang Pilipino Artistic Director) for entrusting me with this truly special honor.

What was that like?
You know, the more I study him, the more amazed I am that such a human being ever existed. Namamangha talaga ako. What a man! What a Hero! His heart! His mind! His spirit! His being is one of almost angelic proportions. When I look into his heart, I see such goodness, such wisdom, such clarity, such quiet unbreakable strength, such integrity, such deep love for country and its people. He faced many Goliaths in his lifetime, but this David remained unfazed. I salute him. Grabe. Viva El Señor Apolonario Mabini! How I wish our country had more and more like him today. Gentle Warriors. Especially in these rather treacherous times.

Pinocchio by Repertory Philiipines
What show/shows are you currently working on?
Tanghalang Pilipino's MABINING MANDIRIGMA. We run weekends till March 13 at the CCP Little Theatre.

Have you ever forgotten your lines, or a prop, or choreography during a performance?
Oh sure! It happens haha! I've forgotten a lyric or two while singing! Or skipped some lines during a scene.

What happened?
Yikes. I had to improvise lyrics on the spot hahaha! Instant musical composer! My brain had to move at warp speed! It's tricky with the syllabication having to fit the note values. Especially in Tagalog, waaah! But thank God, saved, phew! And in the case of skipped lines, that's the beauty of ensemble work: The cast swoops in to save the scene. Its amazing to behold when you're in it. It's one of the most beautiful synergies of the theatre--ensemble teamwork! Thank you castmates! You know who you are! Haha! Love you guys!


What is something that you know now that you wish you knew when you were first starting out as an actor?
Hmmm. I think I had so much young naive idealism when I started out. With regards to the different kinds of people I would be encountering in the theatre world. I thought all artists were created with the same kind of heart. But that's not always the case. And in the end, that's fine. I just keep my nose to the ground and just work work work as hard as my body, mind and spirit will go. With full integrity and full authenticity. In the end, we are accountable only to our Creator. He is the one who gave us our gifts in the first place. So we are fully responsible to Him and Him alone, in the end.

If you could choose, what three actors would you really want to work with? 
Oh my goodness, too many! But Meryl Streep is on top of my list. I love her. So versatile. Such a chameleon. She has such range and artistry, and the full humility to allow herself to disappear and just let the role take over. Then all you see is the character she is portraying. And that's the whole point of being an actor, I think.

Virgin Labfest 10 
Why do you think theater is important? 
Because it has the ability to educate without being too in-your-face about it. To spark imagination, to motivate, to uplift and, when necessary, to cast a glaring light on certain truths.

Why do you think so many aspiring actors end up giving up on their dream?
Theatre is tough. The craft is tough. The demands are tough. The reality is tough. But for the artists who barrel on through the rough terrain, the fruits of theatre are so sweet.

What is something embarrassing or unexpected that happened to you on stage?
Wahaha! Too many! In one show, an entire sofa fell on me during a certain choreography haha! Not only was it embarrassing, I got a huge black and blue after, super bruised pasa! And too many times, I have sneezed on stage, not exactly apropos for the scene, sending my castmates into shoulder-bobbing concealed laughter! Sorry castmates! Haha!

August : Osage County of Repertory Philippines

What do you need in order to become a successful actor? 
I think, foremost, your heart has to be in the right place. I believe God created artists for a reason. We have a special role in light of humanity. Artists should always be generous. And full of love and light. I feel we have a huge responsibility. In some ways, when the heart is right, artists are also healers.

Any final message?
Mga Kaibigan, inaanyayahan ko po kayong manood ng MABINING MANDIRIGMA! Second weekend na po namin! Sana mapanood ninyo ito para magabayan kayo sa pagboto sa darating na halalan..."Mahirap bang mag-isip bilang Pilipino?" #ApolinarioMabini #UtakPusoBayan Shows: Friday 8pm, Saturday 3pm and 8pm, Sunday 3pm at the CCP Little Theatre.

See you at the Theatre! Mabuhay ang Teatrong Pilipino!!!

And thank you so much dear Axl! I truly enjoyed this interview. God bless you and more power to Axlpowerhouse!

Sobrang daming salamat sa maikli ngunit punong puno ng tawanan at kulit na interview na ito, no doubt kung bakit ang masaya ang bawat eksena na magkasama tama Ms. Liesl Batucan. Kita-kits po ulit tayo sa loob at labas ng teatro!

Mabuhay ang sining Pilipino!

Photo credit to the facebook account of Ms. Liesl Batucan 

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