From theater acting to being cast in telenovelas, starring in acclaimed films and hosting variety shows, Jerald Napoles appears so comfortably settled in show business, there doesn’t seem to be a need for him to ever turn back.
However, the all-around performer says he will always go back to his roots and will in fact perform in the re-staging of “Caredivas” by the Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA) as part of its 50th anniversary celebration.
Jerald, who is best known in theater circles for his role as Tolits in “Rak of Aegis,” reprises his role as Kayla, one of the caregivers-by-day, drag-queens-by-night in the rerun of “Caredivas.”
He considers this role even more challenging than his role in “Rak of Aegis” – the role that propelled him to theater superstardom.
“Definitely my role in Caredivas is more challenging than Rak of Aegis. ‘Cause sa Rak of Aegis, ang role ko is bangkerong lalake—mas malapit kasi sa akin yun eh. Sa Caredivas I’m playing a transvestite working abroad in Israel,” Jerald said in an interview with InterAksyon during the “Caredivas” relaunch.
His role in the highly acclaimed musical is quite different from anything else he has ever done. “Eto yung role na hindi ako nakikilala ng tao. Gustong-gusto ko yung akala nila bading ako.”
“Kung actor ka, you would always want to fool your audience by playing your truth. Dito yung performance ng buhay ng bading. It’s a different thing from what I do every day eh. Hindi naman ako nagme-make-up ng ganito every day; hindi ako nagwi-wig, hindi ako naghee-heels. Mas naa-appreciate ko din kung paano nagbibihis ang babae,” he explained.
Jerald first took on the role of Kayla as part of the original cast in 2012. While picking up a role again—characterization, drag costume, heels and all— after five years might seem daunting to some, Jerald is more confident about strutting as Kayla this time around.
“Mas confident, mas grounded, mas totoo,” he said firmly.
Jerald also clarified that being part of the show won’t get in the way of his other commitments, as there will be only 15 rehearsals and alternate weekend shows in this run that would be divided among himself and alternates Ricci Chan and Gio Gahol.
Considering his success in mainstream showbiz, the talented Jerald still feels a different sense of fulfilment from theater.
He explains, “Siyempre ang theater may lamang siya ng konti, kasi it’s my roots. I came from theater: I love performing live. Pero sa film kasi pag nakita mo na maganda yung ginawa mo, since hindi naman ako ganun ka seasoned actors like the others doing film, meron ako nung ‘uy kaya ko pala.’ Kaya ko pala magbigay sa pelikula. So it’s a different kind of fulfilment.
“Sa TV naman pag pumapalo yung ratings tapos people are tweeting about you and your show, and sinasabi nila ‘uy gustong-gusto ko si Jerald sa ganyan, sana magkaroon pa siysa ng maraming exposure,’ it’s a different fulfilment again. Ang lamang lang ng theater is because I started here. ”
More than the fulfilment, Jerald also loves the process theater acting entails. “Sa theater kasi, there’s a sense of ensemble. When you’re rehearsing for the role, may proseso kasi siya para ma-build mo yung character mo with your co-actors. Sa TV and movies kasi, you have to do it on your own. Sometimes, kasi minsan, salang na eh. Mas kailangan na ma-contain mo yung character for the whole day. Ganun kasi sa taping eh. “
“Dito kasi, polish, polish, polish, polish, mark! Perform, perform, perform; discover, discover, discover.”
“Gustong-gusto ko yung mahaba yung oras ng pagbibihis ng character. Like if you’re going to be performing as the character for three hours, you’re gonna be the character for three hours. Andyan yung instant appreciation that you get from the audience. Dito kasi, nandiyan pa lang, pag binitawan mo yung punchline, tawa yan. Pag nag-drama ka, iyak yan. Makikita mo yan eh. Pag live performer ka, it’s fuel,” Jerald added.
Knowing a good pair of heels from lemons aside, Jerald learned priceless life lessons from “Caredivas.” He shares, “Natutuhan ko na yung Pinoy, pag nagmahal sila, kahit malayo kayo sa isa’t isa, puwedeng panghawakan ng Pinoy yun.”
All in all, Jerald is overjoyed with the chance to reprise his role as the star performer Kayla in “Caredivas.”
“I am very, very happy. I’ve been wanting to do this again, especially for the 50th anniversary of PETA. I want to be part of history,” he said in conclusion.
“Caredivas” will run from June 24 through July 30 on Fridays (8 pm) and Sturdays and Sundays (3 pm and 8 pm) at the PETA Theater Center. For inquiries and tickets, contact PETA at 725-6244 and firstname.lastname@example.org or TicketWorld through 891-9999 and www.ticketworld.com.ph.