Kids rule the roost in local drama shows | Inquirer Entertainment

Kids rule the roost in local drama shows

/ 12:30 AM August 25, 2014


Child characters have always figured strongly in local TV drama series “Flordeluna” had Janice de Belen and Herbert Bautista, “Anna Liza” starred Julie Vega in its title role, “Mga Batang Yagit” featured many juvenile players.

However, the current TV season bids fair to end up as the most “child-friendly” (in terms of exposure) TV season of them all, with practically all ongoing shows casting child actors in key roles:


“Hawak Kamay” may topbill Piolo Pascual, but he has to work doubly hard to avoid being upstaged by the gifted juvenile likes of Xyriel Manabat and Zaijian Jaranilla. “My BFF” topbills Mona Louise Rey and Jillian Ward as her “ghostly” ate.


“Be Careful With My Heart’s” lead youths have been growing up in full view of the popular show’s audience because it’s been telecasting for two full years, and counting. “Ikaw Lamang” has many little ones playing its adult leads’ respective progeny. Kids of all sizes and ages are similarly all present and accounted for in “Dading,” “Ang Dalawang Mrs. Real,” “Sana Bukas Pa ang Kahapon,” “Niño,” etc.

mona louise rey

Mona Louise Rey. FILE PHOTO

Why are child characters and actors so popular with producers and viewers? The so-called “awa factor” is a key consideration, because teleseryes are basically tearjerkers and nobody can beat a small, innocent, vulnerable and pathetic waif at easily and breezily fulfilling that most essential function and requirement!

All the angel-faced child actor has to do is look at viewers with his or her big, beautiful and ineluctably sad and forlorn eyes and the communal waterworks readily ensue!

Trouble is, some TV people aren’t satisfied with the naturally affecting gift of child talents and feel that they have to amp up the lachrymal “flow” of their shows for maximum effect!

So aside from making the kids in their cast behave and act naturally, they jazz up their performances with many additional heart-tugging ploys, most of them fake as a three-peso bill and there goes the child actors’ spontaneity and affecting believability!

The worst sins of commission in this regard is the fetish of local drama series to give child actors a lot of expressive, flowery and “poetic” dialogue to “feelingly” and “quotably” intone. In real life, children talk briefly and to the point on TV, however, their loquacious and poetic counterparts are given long and self-consciously “sensitive” lines to tearfully utter, thus making them come off as little adults, much too wise and insightfully sensitive for their tender years.


In fact, some popular child stars pride themselves for their ability to speak flowery reams of “adult-minded” dialogue in a mad, hyperdramatic and emotional rush, without even stopping to take a deep breath!

Alas, this hokey ability is nothing to be proud of because it artificializes the child actor’s performance, which is most touching when it is simple and truly felt.

Why don’t some scriptwriters and their “enabling” directors realize this? Because they think that they’re in the business of coming up with shows that are “larger than life,” “as melodramatic and amazing as possible, and showcasing “acting for effect.”

In so thinking and doing, however, they deprive viewers of the genuinely deep emotions that come only when characters and actors, especially children, are allowed to just believably be, rather than be amazing!


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Directing child actors

TAGS: child actors, Jillian Ward, Mona Louise Rey, Xyriel Manabat, Zaijian Jaranilla

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