Compromised bid for acting ‘cred’By Nestor U. Torre
Philippine Daily Inquirer
NOW that Iza Calzado has moved over to ABS-CBN, the channel has been resolutely trying to beef up her reputation as a topnotch actress. It’s latest effort in this regard was her stellar portrayal on “Maala-ala Mo Kaya?” last Sept. 15.
The attempt to add to Iza’s acting credentials was earnest and well-meaning, but its success was compromised by the choice of material given to her: A “medical” drama that had her go from paranoia to deep depression, with other negative emotions, resentments and traumas thrown in for good measure. For a drama like this to work, the medical issues involved have to be easy for laymen to figure out.
In the case of Iza’s character, however, her shifting and compounding mental and psychological problems were so arcane that a “psychologist” character had to be written to help her (and the audience) understand what the heck was going on, deep in her troubled and fevered psyche.
Alas, the ploy wasn’t sufficiently helpful, and the actress herself occasionally appeared to be confounded by the many “stressed” scenes she was required to do, one after the other. She performed them dutifully and “correctly,” as best she could, but there wasn’t enough thespic coherence to her role’s many jagged moments for her character’s organic progression to come through, and genuinely involve viewers.
On the positive side, it was good for Iza to share some scenes with the fine actor, Bembol Roco, who was cast as her father. Bembol’s role was similarly challenging, because it turned out that the father had been the one who had cluelessly planted the seeds of his daughter’s psychological problems, when he failed to give her the emotional support she needed as a child.
The faithless cad had tried for years to make up for his unreliability as husband and father, but his change of heart had come too late to help his now paranoid and severely depressed daughter.
Given this complicated and conflicted back story, the father-daughter relationship in “MKK’s” “Komiks” episode was a major challenge for Iza and Bembol. —Unfortunately, however, only Bembol was able to make sufficient thespic sense of it, while Iza struggled to keep up with him.
What did he do that she could not? He was able to cut through all of his character’s many dramatic adumbrations and focus on his defining pain and remorse—while Iza floundered because she lacked the ability or experience to similarly concentrate on what truly counted for her character.
She should have been helped more in this regard by the teleplay’s writing and direction. In addition, some of the smaller roles in the drama were assigned to less-than-competent performers, so the lead actress was left with too much to process, and contend with.
We hope, however, that Iza’s chance to interact with an actor of Bembol’s ability and experience has helped her see the thespic light with greater clarity, so her renewed bid for acting “cred” will eventually be genuinely productive—and successful.
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