Baron Geisler once again lives up to his villainous image, but this time on stage.
The controversial actor is making his theatrical debut this month after being slapped a one-year suspension by the Philippine Artist Managers, Inc., which has effectively barred him from from acting in movies and on television since last December.
He plays the kontrabida in “Aurelio Sedisyoso,” a rock sarswela staged by the Cultural Center of the Philippines’resident theater arm, Tanghalang Pilipino.
The play is a sequel to “Mabining Mandirigma” and highlights the conflicts in Philippine society during the third phase of the Philippine revolution, as well as the last chapter in the life of Filipino playwright and dramatist Aurelio Tolentino. David Ezra leads the cast in the title role.
Baron, whose prodigious acting skills have unfortunately been eclipsed by his long history of alcoholism and abrasive behavior, feels particularly apprehensive about his latest endeavour.
“I’m very nervous. Right now we’re in the process of rehearsing. They gave us only a month to prepare for this musical. I’m not a professional theater actor. I’m just merely an actor so it’s very challenging for me,” he admitted in an interview with Interaksyon.
Despite his hesitation, Baron is, however, determined to deliver a stellar performance. “So I’m giving it my 100 percent, walang bola. But…no buts, actually. I’ll just do, I’ll make it.”
Baron also admitted that he auditioned twice to land the role of Tikbalang, the shape-shifter that takes on the different faces and phases of American colonization. He is thankful for the opportunity, and hell-bent on proving himself worthy.
“I dunno. Tanghalang Pilipino’s crazy enough to get me. Kita naman nila yung dedication ko. Di ako nale-late. I come on time minsan, two hours before our rehearsals kasi, nakakabigay ng disiplina ‘to sa akin eh. Alam naman natin lahat di ba, hindi naman tago na minsan, umiinom ako.”
He is grateful not only for the chance to break into theater, but also because it has helped him in his efforts to become a better person.
“Di naman ako perpekto pero, dahil dito, naisip ko, baka makatulong ito sa buhay ko, sa pagiging malinis. Parang eto na yung pinaka-rehab ko,” he said.
“Tanghalan, I should be paying them for educating me. Typical actors sa industriya, especially sa showbiz world, are given the chance to just learn and…parang education ito para sa akin eh.
“I have a lot of self-doubt. I want to thank Ms. Liezl Batucan, for always calling me to reassure me every day that ‘Baron, we got you for a reason. Because bagay ka kay Tikbalang.
“I’m very grateful kay God. I’m very grateful sa Tanghalang Pilipino for getting me, for trusting me. I’ll do my best not to let them down,” he said.
Despite his extensive acting credits, Baron’s big theater break isn’t as easy as one would think.
“Aurelio Sedisyoso” is a rock sarswela which means that the character actor is required to do something outside of his comfort zone — singing.
He explains, “Parang feeling ko nga dark horse ako dito eh, Parang, yeah, mukha akong tatanga-tanga. To tell you the truth what was running in my brain, parang I’m not worthy to be amongst these amazing people.
“The lines, I do not have any problem but with the singing, it’s crazy because I improve and I don’t have that typical classical voice that all of these amazing actors have.”
While he seems to have no difficulty with previous roles, stage fright adds to the nervousness he feels during rehearsals.
“It’s really nerve-wracking which is, napu-push ako and I’m grateful na napu-push ako. Let’s just test the limits and see where I go. Kung gaano ka-deep yung mapuntahan ko,” he said.
Apparently, the actor has been seeking support not only from friends and colleagues, but supposedly, from a higher being as well. Baron hopes that his efforts to turn over a new leaf will pay off.
“I’ve been praying to God. Every day, I’ve been meditating rin. Na sana bigyan niya ako ng…basta yun. Sabi ko nga, dark horse, pero malay niyo pagdating ng play, I might surprise people,” he said in conclusion.
“Aurelio Sedisyoso” runs at the CCP Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino (CCP Little Theater) until September 17, 2017 with Friday shows at 8PM, Saturday shows at 3PM and 8PM, and Sunday shows at 3PM.
Show buying opportunities as well as subscriptions, season passes and group discounts are available through Tanghalang Pilipino’s hotline 832 1125 loc. 1620 or 1621. You may also contact Ms. Lorelei Celestino at 09156072275 or Mr. Enzo Marco at 09998843821.
Tickets are available through TicketWorld at https://www.ticketworld.com.ph or 891 9999; and the CCP Box Office at 8323704.