This thought-provoking and sensual drama opens viewers’ eyes to the themes of what love can make people do, how far people might go to achieve personal gain, and the illusions people create.
The attrition rate of gay actors in showbiz, most especially males, is in a way mortifying. Iconized today gone tomorrow, so they say. Where are the likes of Bb. Gandanghari, IC Mendoza, Mr.Fuh, or even Tim Yap and the rest of the great pretenders who have eventually become third-rate mascots of forgettable movies and teleseryes?
While showbiz, according to Freudian, shrinks feed on the homosexual soul of its practitioners, the business side of it is run by heteros whose side of the brain is engaged in accummulating capital and riches.
This brings us to former legit theater actor turned award-winning movie actor RS Francisco aka Raymond Francisco, who has won three Best Actor Awards for Bhoy Intsik in a row, namely for Sinag Indie Filmfest, Phil. Movie Press Club (PMPC), and the 1st Subic Int’l. Film Festival. This was directed by Joel Lamangan from the script of Ronald Carballo.
Before winning the said awards, however, RS in a manner of speaking has been around with his sparkling presence in a couple of indie films that he helped co-produce and acted in. This included remarkable roles in highly -rated teleseryes. He also directed high-end commercials on the side.
RS Francisco himself comes from a family of actors. In hindsight, he recalled: “My father Rudy Francisco was a popular matinee idol in the 50s at Sampaguita Studio who was also the film outfit’s corporate lawyer. Eventually, however, we experienced scraping days over the depleting financial situation of my parents, charge it to the law of diminishing returns.”
He added, “I grew up with scenarios of movie actors including the iconized ones falling out from their pedestals with hardly nothing to fall back on in terms of financial security.”This prodded him to work hard for the money to sustain the financial stability of his family. To cut a long story short, he succeeded in putting up a business oufit of his own called Frontrow with friends in showbiz as his associates.
Now his business empire is lording it over and is a top name in the distribution of the world-famous health and wellness products Luxxee endorsed by celebs like international model Cristina Garcia, Cristine Reyes, James Reid, Fabio Ide, Tim Yap, Rico Barreira, and the hottest loveteam of them all, Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla.
RS is now in the league of showbiz celebrities who have taken to entrepreneurship on the side, the likes of Lucky Manzano with his fleet of taxis, Chinkee Tan and partner Cristine “Tin Tin” Bersola who have turned professional wealth and business coaches, etc.
Incidentally, Francisco is now reprising his role of Song Liling in the play M. Butterfly which first hit the Philippine stage in 1990 through Dulaang UP. He was only 18 years old at the time.
Produced by RS Francisco’s Frontrow Entertainment with a Grammy and 3- time Tony award-winning Filipino producer Jhett Tolentino, the play immortalized by David Hwang is directed by award-winning Kanakan Balintagos aka Aureus Solito of Ang Pagdadalaga Ni Maximo Oliveros fame.
RS Francisco further pointed out, “The best thing about this production is that it’s 100% non-profit. It’s a passion project for its well-decorated cast who simply want to give back. Members of the production have chosen beneficiaries like their high schools, theater organizations, environmental organizations, and others, who will be receiving portions of the ticket sales. Isn’t that great? By watching the show, you won’t only get to support local theater, but local organizations that need our support, as well.”
The multi-national cast includes French actor Olivier Borten, who will be playing René Gallimard. This will be one of the first times that Gallimard will actually be portrayed by a Frenchman. This role has previously been depicted by British, Filipino, and American actors. Well-known Filipino theater actress Pinky Amador will be portraying Helga, Gallimard’s wife, and Scottish actor Norm McLeod, will play French ambassador Manuel Toulon.
During the media launch of said play showcased at Luxent Hotel, we asked co-producer Jhett Tolentino the difference between Francisco’s approach in playing the role of Song Liling during the time he did in Dulaang UP more than two decafes ago, as compared to the current version? “I told RS to behind his past approach because our version is undeniably set against the new age of sort, to set the minds of the millennials,” Tolentino pointed out.
What about Kanakan Balintagos’s directorial approach to the play? “It’s the political aspect of the play that I’m most concerned with. Since the internet is full of false news and we are in the midst of memory loss, this play is about that. Twenty years of illusion. How can one person do it? Fool someone, and we are being fooled by the internet. It’s the blurring of the lines between what’s real and what’s fake,” disclosed Balintagos.
M. Butterfly is a play that’s loosely based on real life events and the opera of the same title. You may also be familiar with the film of the same name. It’s a tale of forbidden love between French diplomat René Gallimard and Chinese opera singer Song Liling. Unknown to Gallimard, Song Liling is actually a man and they have a 20-year relationship, and Song Liling turns out to be a spy who gathers information from the French for the Chinese government. M. Butterfly is currently running, from September 13 to 30, 2018 at the Maybank Performing Arts Theater, BGC Arts Center, Bonifacio Global City.