A friend of mine, upon my telling him that I was starting work on “God of Carnage,” said that it would only work well if the actors in it are friends; it would be difficult if you hated the people you are working with. Fortunately, Bobby Garcia assembled a cast of actors that all like and respect each other very much.
I had worked with everyone else before, with the exception of Art Acuña, to whom I was only briefly professionally exposed while hiding in my brother’s studio during a recording session of “The Kitchen Musical.”
Working with Adrian Pang on “They’re Playing Our Song” was just so lovely, so I anticipated this time to be more of the same.
Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo is not only a professional teammate, but also a good friend (and a ninang to my daughter Nicole).
Bobby and I have worked and played together for over 10 years, starting with “Proof.” He’s only grown in leaps and bounds as a director and a friend. This is our seventh play together.
No easy rehearsal
Rehearsing a play like “God of Carnage” wasn’t exactly easy to plot out. The moment the lights go on, the action begins and never stops. There are no blackouts, no costume changes. Everything happens in real time.
So, there weren’t “scenes” in the traditional sense of the word. We had to go by page number or acting beat, with Bobby having plotted out our rehearsal sequence beforehand. But then it would also depend on how fast or slow we were progressing.
The first 12 to 15 pages were probably the most difficult to learn and set up properly. Menchu, herself an acclaimed director, said that “exposition is always the most difficult.” She wasn’t kidding. It was hard to learn, to get the words in my head; it was arduous to plot where conversations were heading, in the way that unplanned and awkward small talk can’t always be predicted.