Ryzza comes up short
Now that “Princess in the Palace” has gotten into its third week of telecasting, we can more properly assess its plus and minus points:
First, the central plot and thematic idea of telling a story about a lonely female president at Malacañang Palace (Eula Valdez) and the “ordinary” girl (Ryzza Mae Dizon) who saves her life and thus gets into her sad heart of hearts is a definite plus.
It opens up the drama to a number of significant possibilities, like the “democratizing” elimination of social barriers, to make “ordinary” people and viewers feel that they aren’t just faceless cogs.
The series also reveals that great power and wealth aren’t assurances of happiness and fulfillment, even for the most important person in the nation—and that danger and hypocrisy constantly threaten and lurk in high places.
In vivifying these and other themes, the series hits some, misses others. Its strongest suit is the warm bond that develops between the “needy” chief executive and the little girl who keeps reminding her that she’s vulnerable and human.
On the other hand, the drama falls short in believably creating the presidential syndrome and milieu, with its visuals, production values and staged scenes looking small and drab compared to the real thing.
In addition, some key “presidential” moments and encounters are poorly executed, like a really slipshod assassination attempt, its too facile way of being foiled, the chief executive’s security detail’s laughable ineptness, the poor casting of the actor who portrays the president’s head of security, etc.
These may sound like niggling details, but it’s key to dramas about important people in high and powerful places that they be convincing on point of context and detail, so viewers can believe in and empathize with their supposedly significant developments.
Another major stumbling block to the series’ success is the shallow and uncommitted performance being turned in by Ryzza Mae. Eula Valdez acts her heart out in her role, but Ryzza is “just there,” perfunctorily doing what she’s been told to do, delivering her assigned dialogue, but falling way short of being the ordinary girl she’s supposed to be playing.
Clearly, the juvenile star needs to really understand what vivifying her assigned character entails, which is much more than just “being herself.”
Other cast members Ryzza could learn a lot from include Aiza Seguerra as a security officer and relative, and Ces Quesada as the president’s “partner in crime” whenever she slips out of the Palace incognito to visit Ryzza’s character. —They should teach the little star to act while there’s still time to save the show!