After 28 years, muling gagampanan ni RS Francisco ang role na Song Liling sa Tony Award-winning play na M. Butterfly.
Ang actor-producer-entrepreneur ang bida sa Manila staging ng M. Butterfly na magsisimula ng September 14, 2018 sa Maybank Performing Arts Theater in Taguig.
Eighteen years old pa lang si RS noong lumabas siya sa production ng Dulaang UP na M. Butterfly in May 1990.
Ang kuwento ng M. Butterfly ay tungkol sa isang French diplomat na si Rene Gillamard na-in love for 20 years sa isang Chinese opera diva (Song Liling) na hindi niya alam na isang lalake pala.
The play was inspired by Giaccomo Puccini’s opera Madame Butterfly and is loosely based on events surrounding the 1986 espionage trial of French Diplomat Bernard Boursicot and Shi Pei Pu, a Peking opera singer.
Ang film version ng M. Butterfly ay pinalabas noong 1993 at pinagbidahan ito ni Jeremy Irons as Gillamard and John Lone as Song Liling. Dinirek ito ni David Cronenberg.
Presented by Tony and Grammy award-winning producer Jhett Tolentino and Frontrow Entertainment, ang Philippine production na ito ay sa ilalim ng direksiyon ni Kanakan Balintagos.
Noong unang naging bida si RS sa M. Butterfly, naging matunog ito dahil sa ginawa niyang frontal. Gagawin ba niya ito muli sa 2018 edition?
Ani RS, “I dont know with the director. I don’t know with the playwright but as much as I know when we got the license for M. Butterfly through Jhett Tolentino kay David Hwang, we told him [Hwang] that we wanted the original scripts and we will be as faithful. We will not alter or tampered it even if our director here is so surreal. And out of the box and sometimes in borderline.”
Para kay RS, naging turning point ng kanyang career ang pagganap niya bilang Song Liling sa M. Butterfly.
“In so many ways, M. Butterfly served as a turning point in my career.
“To play Song Liling again after 28 years, it brings back so many fond memories.
“One instance during opening night, Tony Mabesa, Dulaang UP’s founding artistic director, handed me my first paycheck of P2500, which was for 20 shows.
“My initial reaction was, 'No, no, no, I'm doing this for free,' kasi doon po ako nasanay.
“I love to act and I would do it na walang bayad. But he said, 'No, this is yours, you deserve it,'” kuwento pa ni RS sa media launch ng M. Butterfly sa Limbaga 77 in Quezon City.
Malaki na raw ang pagkakaiba sa unang pagganap niya as Song Liling noong 18 years old siya sa ngayon na 46 years old siya.
“Wala pa akong masyadong life experience when I was 18. Kailangan humugot ako in order to try to think I was 40.
“I've gone through so much. Dumating ang hardships, all the heartbreaks and I can put that all sa character ko as Song Liling.
“I feel, with Kanakan Balintagos' direction and motivation, I can layer Song Liling even more.
“That's how I feel I can do justice to the role, more than I did 28 years ago,” diin pa ni RS.
Nais daw nilang dalhin ang kuwento ng M. Butterfly sa bagong generation ngayon. Ito ay para ma-appreciate naman daw ng mga millennials ang importance ng theater bilang part ng art and culture.
“We want the younger generation to be interested in theater. We want to present something that will be an interest to the millennials,” diin pa niya.
Nagbukas ang maraming doors of opportunity in show business for RS after doing M. Butterfly.
Kinuha si RS bilang si Michelle, ang transvestite sa unang pelikula niya na Midnight Dancers in 1994. Nasundan ito ng mga pelikulang Markova: Comfort Gay, Reyna, A Love Story, Pikit-Mata, Amor Y Muerte, She’s The One, Bwaya, Past Tense, at Bhoy Instik kunsaan nanalo siya bilang Best Actor sa 2017 Sinag Maynila Film Festival.
Naging executive producer din si RS ng mga indie films na Bwaya, T.P.O., at Bhoy Intsik.
Bilang president ng multi-level marketing firm na Frontrow, napili ni RS ang Dulaang UP bilang isa sa mga beneficiaries ng kikitain ng M. Buttefly sa 15-show run nito sa Maybank Performing Arts Theater.
Kasama ni RS bilang producer ng M. Butterfly ay ang Tony-winning theater producer na si Jhett Tolentino.
“Dulaang UP has given me so much and has opened so many doors for me.
“It changed the course of my life, and it brought me to places I never thought I'd go to.
“This is the time na I want to give back everything with all my power, all my love, and all my heart,” ngiti pa ni RS.
Kabilang din sa 14 beneficiaries ng M. Butterfly ay ang Hope For Change, Love Yourself Foundation, at Teach For The Philippines.
Ang iba pang kasama sa cast ng M. Butterfly ay sina Pinky Amador, Olivier Borten, Norm McLeod, Maya Encilla, Lee O’ Brian and Rebecca Chuaunsu. Ang members ng ensemble ay sina John Paul Ortenero, Pheit Lena Ballug, Kat Megan Kierulf, Aira Jay Igarta, Ulysses Basa and Rica Nepomuceno.
WILLING TO STRIP ONSTAGE. Ang isa sa mga co-stars ni RS sa M. Butterfly ay si Maya Encila.
Si Maya ang gaganap bilang sa bombshell na si Renee. Ang karakter na ito ay isang sexually liberated Danish woman na magiging mistress ni Gallimard, ang diplomat na partner ni Song Liling.
May maselan na eksena si Maya dahil ang karakter niya ay kailangan na maghubad onstage.
Sa press con ng M. Butterfly, inamin ni Maya: "You know I was actually okay with that because when I told my parents about that, they were some of the most supportive people ever. They actually really pushed me to audition for this role and to give my all for this role so I’m grateful for that."
Kinuwento naman ni RS ang nakakatawang nangyari nang mag-audition si Maya para sa karakter na si Renee.
Ani RS, "Actually what happened was when we were casting her, she was the last to be cast because...we were looking for a fresh-faced woman who could act, who can ooze when she stripped.
"So when she read for the part, she was perfect. She was reading for the part and all that, I go, She’s perfect, she’s perfect.'
"When she left, I go, 'Does she know she’s gonna strip?'
"Tapos sabi ni Jhett, 'Ah, wait let me confirm.' Jhett calls the father. Sabi niya, 'Is your daughter willing to strip?' And the dad goes, 'Yes.'
"And then Jhett goes, 'Yes.' I go, 'E, yung tatay tinanong mo? Dapat yung anak!” Sabi ko, 'Bakit yung tatay tinanong mo? Yung anak yung tanungin mo, yung anak yung maghuhubad. Patanong mo ulit.'
"Sabi nung tatay, okay sa kanya, e.”