Jeffrey Quizon as stage actor: "Shakespeare feeds my soul."


Jeffrey Quizon (left) plays opposite Cris Villongco (right) in the modern-dayversion of William Shakespeare's Love's Labor's Lost staged byRepertory Philippines.


Jeffrey Quizon, more popularly called Epy in showbizcircles, is known for his comic antics and quick wit. But a more serious EpyQuizon was seen by viewers of the recently concluded stage production Love'sLabor's Lost. This play presented by Repertory Philippines sets WilliamShakespeare's most flamboyant, intellectual play during the 1980s.

King Ferdinand (Epy)and his cohorts are students in Manila's University Belt just before the EDSArevolution. They vow to spend three years devoted to study but they becomedistracted when the Princess of France and her entourage arrive in Navarre ona diplomatic visit.

To make this classic more accessible to younger generations,the play's director, Bart Guingona, set the Shakespearean play in the 1980swhen Filipinos were fighting for democracy through the EDSA revolution.

"It [Love's Labor's Lost] is something that waswritten 300 years ago and was brought to 1986 and was performed in the year2007," explained Epy Quizon, when PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) talked withhim after his performance of Love's Labor's Lost.

"It was actually my time. I was 13 yearsold during the revolution. That's why it's actually bringing back students to atime when it is very important for our history. Actually, 1986 was one of the turning points of our history, that'swhy probably he [the director] chose that time."

Despite the changes in the setting, the actor clarified thatthey still used the original lines of the famous playwright. "We are using theoriginal lines of William Shakespeare. Although, of course, it's set in 1986 but we are still using the Elizabethanlanguage," stressed Epy.

"We cut a few lines but we never modified. Of course, we tried to sing songs, yet thosesongs...we did not sing the original lyrics but we used Elizabethan language aswell. So basically those are the minor modifications. We cut a lot of lines because if we settled with the originalwe'll probably still be at first act.

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As a Humanities graduate from De La Salle University, Epy isvery passionate about performing live onstage. "It's like going back to school and it feeds my soul," says the TVhost-actor.

Epy was known for his theater roles even before he becamefamiliar to viewers on TV and the big screen. "Actually, I did my first Repertory [play]in 1997. I played a very little role asParis for Romeo and Juliet. AndI've done several Shakespearean plays already. This is my third Shakespeare. Two or three years ago, I played Puck for MidsummerNight's Dream. I mean, for me, it'slike going back to school. I usually doone when I feel like I need to feed my soul, to feed my craft."

He also noted the difference between performing live on stageand acting for the mass media. "Basically, with films and television, you canalways ask for a cut and usually it's easier to do ad libs. In a Shakespeare, there's no ad lib, there'sno cut. So it's either you perfect youcraft or you get in the zone with your craft or, you know, really look stupidon stage.

"That's why it's like going back to school. I mean, there's more money with TV andfilms, you know, but my spirit, my soul, is more full, it's well fit on stage."

UPCOMING PROJECTS. Dolphy Quizon's son has made aname for himself by hosting his own show on Studio 23 titled Gag Ito! andstarring in the Peque Gallaga indie film Pinoy Blonde. Epy is also part of Jon Red's indie film Beerhouse,which will be coming out soon. Also, hedid a documentary film titled The Dancer Within. He plays a part inChito Roño's upcoming horror film Dagaw.

As for other theater productions, Epy revealed, "Anna Bitongis actually thinking of doing Hamlet next year. I think she has a role for me. I think it's also for Repertory.

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"Shakespeare feeds my soul that's why you'll see me once ina while in theater. It's really likegoing back to the craft I learned to love," Epy said again before we parted.


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