Francis Amadeus Rex Rodriguez also know as Chesko Rodriguez in the world of Philippines Theater, he recently part of the biggest and awesome musical of Globe Live and 9Works Theatrical entitled Disney Newsies. Aside from that Chesko was a remarkable role Dalanghita’s Kung Paano Ako Naging Leading Lady as one of the lead character namely Popoy Pusakal.
In this Psst.Ph Part of the Story Series, Francis Amadeus Rex Rodriguez talks to us about his career in Philippine Theater and his experience in the industry.
Full Name and Alias: Chesko Rodriguez
Location: Cainta, Rizal
Education: College graduate
What is your current state of mind before we continue with the interview?
Tired but happy.
When did you first know you wanted to become a stage actor?
I think I’ve always wanted to be a stage actor eversince I was in high school. I remember being very active in directing and performing in class plays. It was around this time also that I told my mom I wanted to enroll in a summer musical theater workshop with Trumpets.
What was the first show you ever did? And hows the experience?
The first show I did was a school production of Jesus Christ Superstar, where I played King Herod. It was fun. We only rehearsed after school hours and I had to act with my teachers. Haha.
What has been your favorite role so far?
I really enjoyed playing Popoy Pusakal in Dalanghita’s Kung Paano Ako Naging Leading Lady. Plus working with that cast was amaaaazing! So much fun!!!
Have you ever played someone of the opposite gender? (If not do you want to try it?) What was that like?
I haven’t played someone of the opposite gender. I played drag characters. I had to play a man in women’s clothes. Did it twice on stage: Priscilla Queen of the Desert and La Cage Aux Folles. With Priscilla, at first, I was scared because I have never gone drag in my life that time and I had to wear a panty infront of a lot of people. Hahaha. I really enjoyed the experience. It is only through this shows that I get to do it. Hahaha. 🙂
What show/shows are you currently working on?
We are on our closing weekend of Globe Live and 9works Theatrical’s Newsies!
Update: we just closed Newsies!
Have you ever forgotten your lines, or a prop, or choreography during a performance? What happened?
Hahaha! There are quite a few times I have forgotten choreography. I am not a dancer dancer. I am a mover. So sometimes I panic and end up messing up my choreo. Hahaha. 🙂
What is something that you know now that you wish you knew when you were first starting out as an actor?
There are really no small roles in the theater. Every person on stage contributes to the bigger picture that we are showing. So you always have to be present in every scene you’re in.
Besides acting, what other training have you had (voice, dance, stage combat, etc.)?
I am very grateful to Globe Live and 9works for allowing me to be part of Training Ground for Newsies. Here i had extensive dance training, which I’ve never had before. When I was a kid, I remember taking voice and performance classes in Center for Pop Music. I also had stilts and powerskips training in Universal Studios Singapore.
How do they memorize alot of lines?
It is going through your script as much as you can, and rehearsals really help also. You get to associate lines with your movements and blocking.
If you could choose, which three actors would you really want to work with?
Oooh, I have worked with a lot of artists I look up to. If I were to choose from those I haven’t worked with, I would love to work with Bart Guingona, Irma Adlawan and Cherie Gil.
Why do you think theater is important?
Theater doesn’t only entertain people. It mirrors a lot of things that are happening in society or things that we aspire in our communities. It affects lives. It changes lives. Theater is something that we could relate to because it always works on truth.
Why do you think so many aspiring actors end up giving up on their dream?
I think it is making a career out of it that scares a lot of people. It is not a steady job. It is mostly project-based. It’s not always also that we get paid so much. I think people give up to find stability elsewhere. Another reason can also be the fact that it’s a slow start. We all have to start somewhere to go farther. Maybe some expect to be up there right away.
What is something embarrassing or unexpected that happened to you on stage?
There was one time I was doing a children’s show and I had a veneer made for one tooth. It will take time for the veneer to be made, so the dentist would put a cover over the filed tooth. In the middle of the show, I was talking to kids and out flew my “tooth”. I scrambled looking for it on the floor and ran offstage and put it back on without cleaning. Hahaha. Hassle.
What are some of the greatest fears you think actors/actress face?
– forgetting lines and cues
– Quick changes
– Being sick
What do you need in order to become a successful actor?
Good work ethics, discipline, patience, hard work and passion
What makes a good stage actor in your opinion?
A good actor is someone who shows truth on stage and someone who allows himself/herself to bare his/her soul to show the character being portrayed. I’ve always been fascinated also with actors who are not scared to look ugly when they’re performing.
What are the pros and cons of being an actor? Please be specific.
– You get to portray different characters; some you never even imagined you can do/pull off.
– You get to meet a lot of people sharing the same passion.
– You get to work with amazing and talented people.
– You learn a different kind of discipline when you’re in theater.
– It’s getting paid to have fun! Haha.
– You get paid doing what you love. Lol.
– We work on holidays! Hahaha! But that’s okay because there’s no traffic.
– We sometimes miss special ocassions due to rehearsals or shows.
What goal are you working towards within your career and when will you know you have reached it?
– I just want stability in this career that I chose. I plan to do this for as long as I could. There are still a lot of things that I haven’t done, which I am working on. I want to do straight plays. I want to do more film or TV projects. I don’t know how I’d know if I have reached my goals. I really just want to enjoy everything that comes my way.
What organizations do you belong to?
– yikes! Theater orgs? None really.
If you weren’t a stage actor or an artist, what would you want to be? Why?
– Hmmm, I have always wanted to become a doctor. I had that all set up when I was younger. I planned to take up Med Tech as a pre-med, coz my mom was a med tech grad. Continue on with Medicine. I did take up medtech though for two years in UST but lost interest. I guess I wanted to be a doctor then to be able to help people.
What advice would you give someone who wanted to do what you do?
Just keep on trying. Keep on auditioning. Don’t lose hope if they don’t cast you and just always do your best in whatever you do.
How do you see yourself 20 or 30 yrs from now?
Hopefully, I am still doing what I am doing or I have my own business, so i can still do what I am doing. Haha. 🙂
What legacy will you leave on?
I want to remembered for all the hardwork that I put in on the shows that I do and for good work ethics.
Any final message?
– For everyone who wants to try theater, always give auditions a go. Do your best and just be yourself. Keep learning.
– Also, i would like to thank everyone who has helped me along the way, from when I started til now. To all of my directors, choreographers and mentors, thank you!
– And thank you to everyone who has been supporting theater, especially the shows that I’ve been in.
Photo from the official facebook of Chesko Rodriguez and Erickson Dela Cruz