RS Francisco reprises Song Liling in new staging of ‘M Butterfly’

So, RS Francisco is at it again, playing the role that made him famous in the ‘90s when he played Song Liling in the wildly acclaimed Broadway play by Asian American playwright David Henry Wang.

I remember, when my editor Chit Lijauco at the then S (the Sunday supplement of Manila Standard) asked me to interview RS Francisco, I thought I’d just brush through a subject, at that time he was a student at the UP, who was fiddling with a dream of becoming an actor.

I never thought that he would be serious and become a professional actor.

Today, RS Francisco is bankrolling the re-staging of M Butterfly along with his partner New York-based Jhett Tolentino at Maybank Performing Arts Theater at BGC Arts Center in Bonifacio Global City premiering on Sept. 13 with weekend performances until the end of September.

'M Butterfly' lead cast RS Francisco and Oliver Borten
RS, prior to deciding to reprise the Song Liling role that introduced him to the world of stage plays has had a veritable experience in acting both on stage and in the movies and television. Recently he won an award for his roles in Bhoy Intsik and Bwaya, though playing mostly gay roles. He, however, is looking forward to playing a straight man in the future.

In the meantime, he is busy rehearsing for M Butterfly, this time under the direction of Kanakan Balaintagos. His character Song Liling, is a Chinese opera singer, Gallimard’s object of affection.  

In May 1990, the late Behn Cervantes played Gallimard, this time the production has signed a real Frenchman to essay the role. 

French actor Olivier Borten plays Rene Gallimard, a former French diplomat, who relates the story of his passionate, disastrous affair with Song Liling from his cell in a Paris prison, where he is serving a long sentence for treason. 

Pinky Amador returns to the play as Gallimard’s wife­­—Helga. 

After 25 years of stage acting experience in the United Kingdom, Scottish Norm Mcleod steps on the Philippine stage as Manuel Toulon, the French Ambassador to China who also happens to be the dominant and strong-willed superior of Gallimard at the embassy in Beijing. 

Trilingual American actor Lee O’Brian will personify Marc, the sexually unapologetic best friend of Gallimard. He will also briefly portray Sharpless in M. Butterfly.

Playing the role of both Suzuki and Comrade Chin is master of Theater Arts and master of Communication Rebecca Chuaunsu. Her previous acting experience in theater as seen in The Joy Luck Club and in films like Mano Po 7 Chinoy has prepared this Filipino-Chinese performer to portray her two roles in M. Butterfly with full authenticity. She recently produced Binondo­—A Tsinoy Musical.

This re-staging of M. Butterfly will be 100 percent non-profit. Net proceeds from each performance will be dedicated to one particular charitable institutions: Hope for Change - funds the full education (from elementary to college) of children in Tondo; Love Yourself Foundation - cultivates HIV awareness; Teach for the Philippines - develops leaders for education equity by enlisting some of the country’s most promising young leaders to teach in public schools throughout the Philippines.

For tickets, call Ticketworld at 8919999.

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When Karen Reyes auditioned for Pinoy Big Brother six years ago, no one thought she’ll be sharing the spotlight with other well-known local celebrities. A proven risk-taker at such a young age, she admitted that her mom has no knowledge she’d be joining the reality show. Her attitude, having no fear to try new things, made her reach the title Second Big Placer of Pinoy Big Brother and from there, the bright future ahead her continuously placed her to where she is today. 

Growing up in Oriental Mindoro, it is no surprise that Karen maintains a low-key image and remains approachable and full of happy thoughts. You hear nothing but all out fun from her. She answers questions with a smile. May it be about work, love, or life in general, an exchange of conversation with her is like a best friend chit-chat. She is very open, honest, and playful.

When going places, she opts to do it just by herself but would love it even more when she gets to spend time traveling with her boyfriend. 

Karen normally goes to different local places at least once a month. Just to mention her recent travels, she went to Mt. Pinatubo with the team and was able to enjoy the bumpy 4 X 4 ride and strenuous hike. Amidst all the dirt, humid, and 2-hour long trek, Karen remained cheerful and lively. “Mas adventurer ako, kesa traveler,” she said.

As for Karen’s dream travel destinations, she looks forward to visiting Batanes, Albay, and Palawan. Unlike other travelers who would excessively pack during trips, her essentials only include clothes, a wallet, her mobile phone, a lip tint, and speakers.  

Topics: RS Francisco , Song Liling , David Henry Wang , M Butterfly , Jhett Tolentino , Lee O’Brian , Karen Reyes
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