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BWW Interviews: Reuben Uy of TE San Pedro Rep's HAMLET

BWW Interviews: Reuben Uy of TE San Pedro Rep's HAMLETSan Pedro, California, November 11, 2013--Reuben Uy ("The King and I," "Altar Boyz"), who is originally from Manila, Philippines, plays the role of Laertes in TE San Pedro Rep's production of William Shakespeare's "Hamlet," which runs until December 21, directed by Martin Jago.

Uy auditioned for the role of Laertes, the son of Polonius and brother of Ophelia in the play, and describes the audition process as "unique."

"Aside from the usual monologues, they wanted to simulate the rehearsal process with you as an actor. I just showed them I was open and enthusiastic about feedback and ready to dive into the lines in any which way and form."

During the audition, the casting team required a two-minute artistic piece that expresses the artist's values.

"I basically told them the story of my life as an actor with no words."

In working with foreign actors, Uy finds it pretty much the same as working with the local theater actors in Manila. What is common is the passion and love for the craft; they just want to tell good stories in the most honest manner.

"The only thing I like better here so far is that the industry is much more vast [compared to the local theater industry in the Philippines]. You can always reinvent yourself if you want.

"In Manila, the industry is very tight. You will work with the same people at least once every year. It's great because you're like a family, but there is a much bigger chance of getting typecast, too.

BWW Interviews: Reuben Uy of TE San Pedro Rep's HAMLET"I've learned that it might be scary at first, but the United States is just like any other place. Work hard, work honestly, and you will get somewhere.

"I know it's cliché, but just be yourself. Race doesn't matter here as much as you would think. What matters is your experiences in life and how well you can apply those to your craft..."

Uy was very effective in his villainous role as Abdalap in Dulaang UP's run of "Orosman at Zafira," a hit original Filipino musical. When asked if he's not afraid of being typecast as a villain, he said, "Definitely I'm not."

"Most of the shows I've done were never really about good versus evil in a 'Star Wars' sense; it was never really that clearcut.

"I'm very happy that I'm mostly been cast in productions that are complex, with characters that are equally complex and with much depth."

As Laertes, his acting process is very simple.

Days prior to rehearsing a scene--he memorized all his lines, with no meanings and no feelings involved, just words alone. And when he gets into the scene, he just forgets everything and trusts his scene partner.

"If all goes well, you create magic. A lot of your choices as a character will be informed by your scene partner. That's why it's important to be fully engaged and involved with him or her. Then if you need more inspiration, just use your imagination."

In preparing for his role, he has been watching and studying his co-actors Lucy Sheftall (Ophelia) and Paris Langle (Ophelia/Horatio). He's more or less looking to sync their frequencies because there is a bond--a radio frequency that [stage] siblings share--that will never be known by others.

As an actor, he wants to portray Biff in "Death of a Salesman' and Brick in "Cat in Hot Tin Roof" someday.

Los Angeles is his base of operations for now. He is not closing his doors in staying for good especially if there are good enough projects that he could do. He is actually shooting a short film, too.

In Manila, he had two films that were shown last month: The first one was the acclaimed film "Metro Manila," directed by Sean Ellis. The second one was "Hello World," directed by writer-director Joel Ferrer.

For tickets to TE San Pedro Rep's "Hamlet," visit

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From This Author Jude Cartalaba

Jude Cartalaba Jude used to contribute to the Philippine Daily Inquirer, BusinessMirror, StarStudio, Illustrado, and–to name a few. Currently, he writes for Philippines and (read more...)

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