Standout performances of the month
We get to watch scores of TV-film theater productions every month, but only a precious few end up as truly exceptional portrayals.
That’s because most performances in teleseryes are of the melodramatic instead of dramatic variety—meaning that they’re done “for effect,” rather than to arrive at insights into the characters being portrayed.
Happily, there are a few actors who insist, not only on being melodramatically impressive and effective, but also on using their roles to clarify human feelings and behavior, and thus help viewers empathetically “understand” their own lives better.
Last month, those ambitious, keenly focused and scrupulously honest thespians were paced by Raymond Bagatsing, whose tellingly textured and appropriately larger-than-life portrayal of National Artist Nick Joaquin in Sari Dalena’s biographical film, “Dahling Nick,” was able to soar as high as its dauntingly iconic protagonist “flew.”
People who knew Nick Joaquin well especially appreciate Bagatsing’s achievement, because they saw him as a brilliant, complicated and even self-contradictory artist, as well as an “ornery” character whose assertive and even “bombastic” personality intimidated some of the people he met. —How could an actor hit all those peaks and ring all those bells without coming across as “OA?”
Well, Bagatsing was able to, through sheer dint of artistic observation, understanding and empathy, not to mention a wide range of thespic techniques and vocal placements as his assigned character aged in the course of the very long film.
Other thespic standouts this month: Collectively, the acting ensemble on “Ningning” has been able to sustain the believability of its collective performances, going directly against the TV drama field’s usual preference for overacting and self-consciously ardent and verbose portrayals.
In fact, they’ve been so effective that other TV shows are now also opting for more believable renditions.
On a more individual basis, we appreciated the comeback portrayal of Roxanne Guinoo on “Walang Iwanan,” because it was so focused and credible, and hope that she gets other acting offers right away, so she can make her return permanent.
—Ironically, in the same new series, Jhong Hilario turns in an unrelievedly surly portrayal as Roxanne’s intensely jealous spouse. —He should rethink his kneejerk characterization and take his cue from her.
Other admirable portrayals this month: Francine Prieto and Sarah Lahbati on “Maala-ala Mo Kaya.”
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