Marco Mañalac doesn't want to be stereotyped after going nude in Equus

"Wala naman akong problema sa paghuhubad. Yung acting lang talaga, yung pag-aarte. Yung internalization. Yun talaga ang challenge, ang fear ko. Yung nudity, hindi masyado," says Marco Mañalac about stripping on stage.


Siguradong hindi makakalimutan ng theater actor na si Marco MaƱalac sa buong buhay niya ang stage play na sinulat ni Peter Shaffer, Equus.

Nagwagi ng Tony Award ang dula for Best Play noong 1975 at muling binigyang-buhay ni Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter film series) noong 2007.

In the '70s, now veteran actor Leo Martinez played the lead role of Alan Strang, isang binata na may sexual fascination sa mga kabayo. This year, si Marco ang gumanap sa complex character na ito sa production ng Repertory Philippines.

Nakausap ng PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) si Marco noong Biyernes, June 23, sa Onstage sa Greenbelt 3 Makati pagkatapos ng pagganap niya sa Equus.

"Two more to go," sabi niya nang tanungin namin kung ilang performances pa ang gagawin niya.

Noong Linggo, July 25, ang final show ng Equus pero kung marami pa raw ang magre-request, posibleng magkaroon ito ng repeat. One month rehearsal daw ang ginawa nila bago ang actual performances. At para kay Marco, sigurado raw na marami siyang mami-miss about the play.

"The lessons I've learned with Tito Audie Gemora [director of Equus]. Kasi, I'm a new actor, so I have a lot to learn. Kahit yung mga workshops, parang one month actually yung process. From the basics to internalization, characterization... It's really the teaching of Tito Audie," sabi niya.

EQUUS IS MORE THAN NUDITY. Neophyte pang maituturing si Marco sa pag-arte sa teatro. The most that he did as far as he could remember was school plays and workshops by Trumpets. Pero ngayon lang daw siya nakagawa ng isang legitimate stage play at napakabigat agad ng role na ibinigay sa kanya.

Nakakagulat ang husay na ipinakita ni Marco sa kanyang pagganap, lalo na ang kanyang nude scene na tumagal din ng mga 15 minuto.

Paano niya nagawa 'yon?

"Yung final audition, nag-audition lang ako. Bahala na...I got it. Lot of prayers, lot of studying. And I have the audio recording of Daniel Radcliffe version, so yun," sagot ni Marco.

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May ideya naman daw siya from the beginning what Equus was all about, even the nude scene nila ng kanyang co-star na si Pheona Baranda.

"I thought medyo sexual yung tone ng play. Yun pala, he blinded six horses. Hindi naman talaga sexual. May mga sexual components like orgasm sa horse, yung nudity, but mostly it's about repression. Repression ng religion, parents," saad ni Marco.

Hindi talaga siya nagkaroon ng apprehension knowing that woud be a nude scene?

"Hindi naman," sagot niya. "Wala naman akong problema sa paghuhubad. Yung acting lang talaga, yung pag-aarte. Yung internalization. Yun talaga ang challenge ang fear ko. Yung nudity, hindi masyado."

Masaya naman daw siya sa mga comment at feedback na naririnig niya mula sa mga taong nakapanood na ng play niya.

"Kahit si Tito Audie, may mga feedback siya, may mga notes like sometimes I overreact. Sometimes I don't act enough. I don't have energy. He tells me naman, he guides me. But from viewers, mostly positive naman."

Dugtong din niya, "There's no other feeling like this. Being on stage, acting. Nothing can compare talaga with this experience."


LEO REMEMBERS EQUUS. Nakasabay namin sa panonood last Friday night si Leo Martinez, na siyang unang gumanap sa role ni Alan Strang. Ayon sa beteranong aktor, first time niyang mapanood ang bagong version ng Equus kung kaya't tinanong namin siya how it is watching the stage play that he starred in 34 years ago.

"Naalala ko 'yung mga lines ko. Pero I think ang main difference namin, my interpretation was more sexual. The endingof Act 1, it's actually an orgasm. I was on top of the horse, making love to the horse, that was the end of Act 1. It has to be sexual because that is the downfall. He made love in this girl in the tabernacle. I also remember the line of Jose Mari Avellana who did the Miguel Faustmann part. So, it brought back memories."

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Masaya naman daw ang actor sa naging interpretation ni Marco.

"Iba-ibang interpretation naman 'yan," sabi niya.

Aminado naman si Marco na na-conscious siya at medyo kinabahan nang malaman niyang nasa harapan ang orihinal na gumanap na Alan Strang sa Pilipinas habang nagpe-perform siya.

"Super, super!" natatawa niyang sabi. "Intimidated, oo... Actually, we had a few pictures with him backstage. Up to now, medyo intimidated. Sabi nga ng mga classmates ko before the play, 'Hayan, nandito si Sir Leo Martinez, yung original.' Ako, 'Naku, patay! Sana si Red [Concepcion] na lang, yung alternate ko!'

Pero aniya, "Okey naman, hindi naman naapektuhan yung naging performance ko, confident naman ako. Siyempre, yung original, nothing can beat. You can only hope to be different."

MARCO EYES ACTING ON SCREEN. After doing Equus, gusto naman ni Marco na pasukin ang mundo ng pelikula.

"Sana...sana...movies naman. Sana superhero film. Gusto ko kasi ang Spider-Man. So, if the Philippines has new superhero, that's my goal," sabi ni Marco, who graduated cum laude in Ateneo de Manila University and became one of finalists of MYX VJ Search.

Bagamat malayo ang theater sa pelikula at telebisyon, posibleng magpaka-daring si Marco sa future projects niya, lalo na sa pelikula. Ano ang masasabi niya rito?

"Actually, I've been getting na offers, mga nude roles, indie films, gay films, gay nudity. But I guess, for now, I wanna try something different. I don't wanna be stereotyped naman. I think, this is the most that I can do, paghuhubad sa public. More than films, more than anything. I don't think I can top this," sabi niya.

Aside from acting, Marco would also like to try hosting.


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