After more than a decade, award-winning actress Sue Prado is back on stage.
Alternating with Martha Comia, Prado plays the title role in Dulaang UP’s (DUP) staging of William Wycherley’s “The Country Wife” under the direction of Professor Emeritus Tony Mabesa. DUP is also mounting “Ang Misis Kong Promdi” from Nicolas B. Pichay’s direct Filipino translation of the 1675 five-act play. This marks the first time that the classic comedy of manners, widely popular during the Restoration Period, is being staged in the country.
“I’m memorizing two languages in this play. Like in other Tony Mabesa plays in the past, actors are asked to do both versions. Actually, I haven’t done a play in more than ten years. I had my last theater experience way back in college,” Prado, who graduated with a degree in AB Communication Arts Major in Theatre at the UP Los Baños, revealed.
After debuting in acting for film in Myrna J. de la Paz’s musical “Abadeha” in 2006, Prado got sidetracked by a car accident and came back strong by winning Best Supporting Actress from the Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino for Raymond Red’s “Himpapawid” (Manila Skies), playing three roles – a harlot, a clerk, and a flight attendant – in one film. From then on, she got the opportunity to work with seasoned filmmakers like Joel Lamangan, Gil Portes, Jun Lana, Auraeus Solito (now known as Kanakan-Balintagos), Mes de Guzman, Richard Somes, and Ato Bautista.
“It just so happened that I can act in films almost simultaneously but the requirements of a stage play are different. I also have to discipline myself with the schedule,” Prado explained. “When Sir Tony told me about the play when we met during the Cinemalaya period or even prior to that, I have always wanted to go back to doing stage plays but it was hard to schedule it then because I was doing films and TV shows. Months before, I talked to my manager Ferdie Lapuz and we agreed that if we can schedule it properly then I can do it,” she said.
“I really want to make it happen. It’s some sort of a retraining and going back to my first love. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that I would be directed by Sir Tony. I did not actually know that I can still go back on stage,” the award-winning actress added.
Aside from working with Mabesa, Prado also got to perform with seasoned theatre actors like Leo Rialp, Neil Ryan Sese, Shamaine Centenera-Buencamino, RS Francisco, Adriana Agcaoili, Issa Litton, Jay Gonzaga, Ces Aldaba, Aurora Yumul, George De Jesus, Tarek El Tayech, Ian Ignacio, Carlo Tarobal, Jacques Borlaza, Dolly De Leon, Brian Arda, Sigmund Pecho, Karen Gaerlan, Bea Paloma, Rizzy Alejandro, Joanna Lerio, Ron Biñas, Francis Mata, Chona Fernando, Gian Carlo Patelo, Regina Mendezona, Yvonne Ricaro, and Ccia De Leon.
“Honestly, at first, I felt like I was back to square one because I haven’t done this in a long time. Observation came in handy. I watched plays. I tested the waters. I had the same feeling before but this is very humbling in a good way. It made me realize that I still have a lot to learn. I studied what I have long forgotten. I also got the opportunity to work with these brilliant people. It was a great experience in itself because I really learned from them. They’re really kind and supportive because they know that I’m relearning the craft. It is also heartening to know that they treat me as family,” Prado admitted.
Completing the creative team behind the production are dramaturg Joanna Lerio, set designer Clint Ramos, costume designer Eric Pineda, lights designer Shakira Villa, and set piece designer Ohm David.
“The Country Wife”/“Ang Misis Kong Promdi” satirizes hypocrisy and human judgment which dominated the Puritan Regime, issues that are still relevant to our society at present. “This is actually a play about the corruption in our society versus the innocence of a woman from the province. It’s a period comedy, a Restoration play but looking at it deeply, it’s a social commentary. If a society collectively does something which is not right, does it become right? If a person is ignorant or she doesn’t know anything, does it make her less of a person? When she goes to the city she starts to have aspirations. She believes that the city is beautiful and life is good there. However, there is still corruption and society tolerates it.”
Asked to compare her character in the play from her previous roles both in film and TV, Prado said, “I haven’t done something like this in a film. Maybe I’ve done a similar role on TV but this is a social commentary. She is surrounded by people in the city. She comes up with a way to attain her aspirations but she realizes that she still comes from the province.”
Prado advises aspiring actors to love what they are doing. “Be genuine in your intentions, not just for yourself. We are part of a whole and we have a responsibility to this whole. It’s not just enough to do your job. You need to give your best effort in what you do. I always want to achieve excellence in everything I do. That’s a tall order for me.” However, she unwinds by taking care of her five cats at home and engaging in water sports. “I also surf and swim a lot.” She is also fond of taking pictures of everyday life. “I get fascinated by really small details.”
“I love what I’m doing. I clearly believe that this is my contribution to the society. I’m aware that I should always do my best because I have accepted this as my part in our society.”
Given this belief, Prado is definitely here to stay, not just in film and TV but also in theatre.
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