My First Time as Queen Jocasta…
Even if my character, Queen Jocasta hung herself, I survived!
My debut as Queen Jocasta in Mel Magno’s stage presentation of Oedipus the King (starring Vince Ferraren as Oedipus) was a brave first-time-attempt at classical theater on my part. And if I can pat my own back, I think I did a decent enough job not to get fired, LOL!
It was an extra-special show since students from my Alma Mater Benedictine Abbey (now known as San Beda Alabang) were in the house to watch. Some of them came up on stage after the curtain call to have photos taken with the cast – a shoutout to all you Bedans from Alabang! Other university students in attendance were CEU, Arellano and a couple others. They were there as part of their English Lit class.
Here are a few photos of what transpired during my opening day as Queen Jocasta:
The story begins with King Oedipus desperate to find the murderer of Laius, the previous king. He needs to find the culprit to avert a curse on his city of Thebes.
Playing the role of Oedipus, Vince Ferraren proves that he’s far more than just a pretty face and body. The guy CAN ACT. He acts so well that in the early stages of our rehearsals, his fierceness would stun me into forgetting my lines.
These young men keep the story going, helping the actors tell the story and warning the audience that King Oedipus and his wife Queen Jocasta are on a dangerous path to doom. They alternate between chanting and singing their lines. Classic.
The cuties that make up the Chorus have their own fair share of fangirls. During the curtain call, giggling girls in the audience swarm around them (not just Vince Ferraren) for photos. Ah, to be young and free!
Tiresias the prophet brings bad news. He says it was Oedipus himself who killed Laius! Oedipus is suddenly reminded of a wealthy stranger he killed on the road years ago due to an altercation – could this man truly be Lauis? Or is this blind prophet lying as part of a plot to remove Oedipus from the throne?
Actor Francis Cruz plays Tiresias (he alternates with Direk Mel Magno). FYI, Francis also played Queen Jocasta before I stepped in. And I imagine that my arrival is to his relief. It is not easy for a man to don a gown and heels, sport a head full of curls and wear false lashes with a tiara on his head but Francis is an excellent actor who can do all that AND make you forget that he’s a dude.
Creon is the one who brought in Tiresias the blind prophet in an effort to help his brother-in-law, King Oedipus discover the murderer of the former King Lauis. But Creon ends up being accused by the King of devising a plot to unseat him. They fight, and shout and do more fighting and shouting. And then they fight and shout some more, hehehe…
Mehran, the Persian actor who plays Creon might not physically measure up to Vince Ferraren’s 6’4″ frame but he delivers on stage with his powerful voice and presence. He has nice legs too. 🙂
Queen Jocasta shows up in the midst of their fighting and tries to patch up Creon (her brother) and Oedipus (her hubby). But to no avail. The two dearest men in her life continue to fight and shout even more. As you can see below:
It is a joy and honor to be playing Queen Jocasta in this particular offering of Oedipus the King! And working with these two actors – Vince Ferraren (in blue) and Mehran Khaledi (green) is a thrill. And a pain in the neck as well, hahaha! I have to keep these two angry beasts away from in each other at the height of their quarrel!! I did not realize that I’d be getting quite a workout in this play…
Queen Jocasta: In God’s name, explain to me my Lord… what was it that made you so angry?
King Oedipus: Creon and his conspiracy against me, that’s what made me angry!
To you Vince Ferraren fans who are curious about how he works, here is what I have to say. First of all, he’s very thoughtful of his co-actors; when I came in midstream, taking the place of another actress who had to back out, he went out of his way to attend extra rehearsals for my sake. On stage, he allows others to shine, never trying to steal the spotlight.
Second, he makes me feel very safe even during the scenes when we are physically close. I am leery of male actors who try to ‘take advantage’ of their feminine counterparts but Vince does not fall into that category. He might look like a sexy demi-god in his Bench billboards but when he’s backstage with the cast, he’s like a kid having fun!
Thirdly, though he throws me around on stage once or twice, he is quite the gentle giant about it. He is quite good at making it seem like he hurled me violently on the ground. Love it!
Queen Jocasta to the King: There is no human being born endowed with prophetic power. I can prove it to you — and in a few words…
Queen Jocasta tries to comfort the King who, after some investigation, begins to believe that the blind prophet was right. She urges him to ignore prophecies because they don’t necessarily come true. Jocasta revealed that an old prophecy once said that she and her former husband King Laius were to have a child who would kill the king and marry her. But it never came true, she claimed, because King Lauis had the child killed right after his birth.
My dear hubby Ron T. was in the front row taking photos of my debut as Queen Jocasta and he started taking interesting shots based on the shadows. In this photo above, it is as if King Oedipus has turned into a ghost; or perhaps his shadow ran off to be with mine?
King Oedipus is not comforted by the assurances of Queen Jocasta and continues to seek proof that he is not the killer of Lauis. He also divulges to her an old strange prophecy saying he is fated to kill his own father and marry his mother. Jocasta is stunned because it is the same prophecy given to her son years ago. Except in Jocasta’s case, they killed the baby boy… or so she thought…
One of the hardest things to do as an actress (at least in this particular play) is to stand in the background and react to whatever your co-actor is saying and doing. Someone should come up with an acting workshop devoted to just emoting!
King Oedipus, tormented by the blind prophet’s words refuses to be consoled or comforted. He begs Jocasta to send for a shepherd who may have information on how Laius died and who his killer was. The Queen, who reluctantly gives in, seems to sense the tragedy that is about to come.
The truth finally comes out in bits and pieces as the shepherd tells Oedipus his true identity.
These are the two oldest members of the cast above and they are simply amazing. They truly look like slaves when on stage (off-stage they look like wise men) and have turned the act of cowering-against-the-wall into an art form. I have NEVER seen anyone cower and quake as professionally as these two men.
Queen Jocasta cannot come to terms with the horrific truth that Oedipus is her son with King Laius. That Oedipus is the son they thought they had killed at birth. As she staggers away in tears, she makes up her mind that a quick death is the only way out of their shameful situation.
After Oedipus realizes that Jocasta is his mother, he finally realizes another terrible truth – that he is the killer of Laius. The prophecy was true! But it is too late; he finds his dear Jocasta dead by her own hand. Unable to handle losing her and the painful truth of who he is, Oedipus gouges out his eyes, doomed to be as blind as Tiresias and exiled from the city of Thebes forever.
What a sad story, sniff, sniff. But at least it ends with Vince Ferraren tearing off his clothes. This moment never fails to get the loudest cheers from a shocked audience. Good-shocked, I mean. The female members give the loudest screams, I must add! For a moment, a verrry long moment, everyone forgets that Jocasta just hung herself as they all moon over Vince’s abs. AAHAAAHAH!
If you think that sitting through a 2-hour classical tragedy is like penance, this scene makes it all worth it. Vince strips down to his barest minimum and rages all over the stage as he recites his final monologue. He is in his full bloom in his final minutes on stage.
Though the story of Oedipus is depressing, seeing this beautiful half-naked man pour out his soul on stage helps lessen the sting of this most unhappy ending. And I say that with the same respect I give to all the beauty contestants I scrutinize in my blog.
Now that I have your attention, come and watch the next showing of Oedipus the King by Mel Magno
in BAGUIO! On February 5, 2014, Wednesday, 2pm at the Baguio Convention Center. See you there!!!
The Baguio show is cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances but the show will push thru on Friday, 7, 2014 in Bulacan, will be giving more details on that so stay tune!