Tessie Tomas draws on past heartbreak to deliver dramatic scene in ‘Dirty Linen’
Tessie Tomas may be portraying the most hated character in the TV series “Dirty Linen,” but in her most raw moment onscreen, she had to draw on her past heartbreak to deliver one of the most emotional scenes on the show.
At the finale mediacon for “Dirty Linen,” Tomas disclosed that she has a moment of unease when asked by director Onat Diaz to prepare for a scene where her character, Doña Cielo, confronts that of actor Soliman Cruz, who turned out to be her rapist when she was younger and about to be married.
“Meron ding isang eksenang parang… sabi ni direk na doon sa eksena namin ni Alejandro (Soliman Cruz), ‘Tita, I just want you to feel’…parang ang sinabi niya, hindi ko na rin maalala masyado, ‘ni-rape ka rito.’ Tama ba direk?’ ‘Ni-rape ka, eh,’” she recalled.
(There’s a scene where the director said, “Tita, I just want you to feel” — what’s that he said? I don’t remember anymore, something like “You were raped here.” Is that right, Direk? “You were raped.”)
The veteran actress said the director told her to show a myriad of emotions in that scene — her pain and anger at someone whose betrayal finally came to light after so many years.
“’I want to see that. I want to see your pain, your anger.’ Parang mga five to 10 emotions all at the same time. Hindi ko na matandaan kung ano, (I don’t remember anymore),” she said.
As she was being told that, Tomas was thinking to herself how she was going to enact a rape scene, an idea that is foreign to her even in her many years acting in front of the camera.
“So, parang hindi ko maisip kung saan ko huhugutin. At saka dito, remember you only have 10 minutes to prepare because marami pang eksenang gagawin. Minsan, kapag hindi ka pa ready, gumaganon-ganon ang kamay ng mga tao or may nagdadaldalan, nagdadaldalan ang crew na ayokong-ayoko,” she said.
(So, I can’t figure out where I will draw that emotion. Remember you only have 10 minutes to prepare because there are so many scenes to tape. Sometimes, when you’re not yet ready, people behind the camera begin to move and chat, which is kind of all the more distracting. That’s something I don’t really really didn’t want to happen.)
As if on cue, Tomas began to recall the pain dealt to her by a past boyfriend who she broke up with a long time ago.
“Ang in-imagine ko na lang — puwede ko namang sabihin ‘to kahit buhay pa siya, iba ‘yung hugot ko doon sa ex ko — Pinipigil ko ang luha ko ngayon, pero iyon ang isa sa pinakamasakit. Naramdaman ko, ginamit ko siya. Buti naman napakinabangan ko siya. Kesa naman inutil na siya. Na inutil na rin kasi nga na-stroke ‘yun, eh, pero buhay pa,” she said.
(What I had thought of — I can say this even if he’s still alive, drawn from my past feelings for an ex-boyfriend. I am trying to control my tears then, but it was one of the most painful. I felt it, so I used it. It’s good that I am able to make use of it somehow, rather than it is rendered worthless. He’s already inutile now because he had a stroke, but he’s still alive.)
Tomas said she wanted to disclose her technique in the hope that some actors may also learn from it.
When asked to give further details on her heartbreak that became her inspiration for this “Dirty Linen” scene, Tomas gamely recalled that her then boyfriend told her that he was leaving her, but that he would return to her soon.
“Parang sabi niya, ‘iiwan na kita kasi meron na akong ibang pupuntahan. Pero babalik din ako.’ ‘Ah, talaga, ha,’” she said. (It’s like he said, “I will leave you because I am going somewhere. But I will return.” “Oh, really.”)
As she was very much pissed at that time, Tomas said that she tried to push him from the head of the stairs where they were, but he thankfully managed to evade her.
“Hinulog ko siya sa hagdan. Pero hindi nahulog. Ang taas (niya), eh,” she said. (I tried to push him from the stairs, but he didn’t fall. He was so tall).
“He actually left me. So I tried to recall that (for this scene), no matter how painful it was. Sabi ko, masahol pa siya sa rape. Gagamitin ko ito. Iyon ang ginamit ko (It was worse than rape, I will use that emotion. That is what I did),” she said.
Aside from Tomas and Cruz, “Dirty Linen” also stars Janine Gutierrez, Zanjoe Marudo, Dolly de Leon, John Arcilla, Epy Quizon, Angel Aquino, Francine Diaz and Seth Fedelin. EDV