I spent the greater part of my evening last night practicing a Pilipino accent. It was in preparation for the Stories High Stage Reading I have to do tonight. It’s just a few lines but the lines I do have, they make me feel awkward. I know as an actress, you have to be professional about everything but I can’t help but feel almost as if I’m making fun of Filipinos. If I were Filipino, I might feel more comfortable but since I’m not, it just makes me feel like I’m derogatorizing the entire people. I know that’s not a word but it makes sense to me right now so I have to use it.
Why is it that I can’t get over this feeling? I mean, isn’t that what actors do? They pretend to be someone they’re not? That’s all I’m doing here, right? Unfortunately, my mind begins to think too deeply about how 95% of the audience will be Filipino and my job is to convince them into thinking I am Filipino. Hmm, I don’t know if I can do that without making it seem like I’m a poser. And even if they don’t think it, I still feel it. In order to pull this off, my rehearsing involves channeling all the mothers of my BFFs and become them, just for a few minutes. I’m not a gossip girl but I have to be a tsismosa for this part, which is so not me. A tsismosa is a Filipino word for someone who loves gossip. On top of that, the director wants me to be “OA.” OverActed. Oh gawd, my area of weakness & yet, my favorite form of comedy. I’ll be channeling Will Friedle for inspiration on that part. He’s always OA.
There’s a saying that goes, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery” – Charles Caleb Colton. I plan on blowing the audience right out of the water. My character’s name is Verita, which means “truth.” Like George Burns once said, “Acting is all about honesty. If you can fake that, you’ve got it made.” I just need to get up there, commit to my truth and just breathe. Perhaps this will be the beginning of my return to the stage. Wish me luck!