Erik tries acting for a change

Erik tries acting for a change
By Maridol Rañoa-Bismark
The Philippine Star
July 24, 2010 12:00 AM

erik santos
Erik Santos is an OFW in tonight’s episode of
ABS-CBN’s Maalaala Mo Kaya

MANILA, Philippines – There’s got to be a first time. For Erik Santos, it’s acting for the first time via ABS-CBN’s Maalaala Mo Kaya tonight.

This would have been unthinkable for Erik seven years ago, when he turned down an offer to play himself in a Maalaala Mo Kaya (MMK) episode on his touching life story. He was then a newbie in showbiz, fresh out of his victory in Star in a Million.

Singing was his one and only comfort zone. So Erik said, “No, thanks” to ABS-CBN’s offer. The role landed on Jericho Rosales’ lap.

How times have changed! Piles of albums, concerts and TV guestings later, Erik is ready to face the cameras, not as a singer for an MTV, but as an actor. The role is not light and breezy the way most parts assigned to new actors are.

It requires at least one breakdown scene and a lot of tears. Erik plays an OFW who applied as a singer but became a housekeeper at the posh Venetian Resort-Hotel in Macau.

Erik summoned all the hurts of the past bottled up inside him and let them off in one explosive blow.

Someone with more angst, more reasons to grieve would find this easy. But not cheerful, pleasant Erik, whose mother has yet to see him raging mad.

“I went back to the time when a girl I loved abandoned me, “ he explains. Turns out Rufa Mae Quinto is not the only girl Erik fell for. There have been others, some of them non-showbiz, he reveals.

To his surprise, Erik loved their hectic three-day shoot in Macau, where the episode’s letter-sender is based.

“I learned a lot,” he says. Director Laurice Guillen, who had a one-on-one acting session with him introduced him to acting nuances he never knew before.

“In singing, you show your emotion in song. Not so in acting,” Erik points out. “ Here, most of the things you do — even the mere act of swallowing — has meaning.”

The MMK stint also brought Erik’s respect for actors and their craft to an all-time high.

“I admire my actor-friends all the more,” the Backroom artist relates. Piolo Pascual and John Lloyd Cruz stand out in Erik’s list of actor-idols.

“I admire John Lloyd’s way of delivering his lines. He makes you feel what’s in his heart.” Erik explains. Piolo’s eyes, on the other hand, carry a world of emotion in them, adds Erik.

Today, the guy who flinched the first time the offer to act in the upcoming MMK episode came along, won’t mind a follow-up role.

“Sana tuloy tuloy na ito,” he gushes. “My director (Mae Cruz) told me the challenge is for me to retain that raw quality in my acting.”

Another reason Erik is so hooked on acting is because he believes a Divine Hand is guiding him as he feels his way in this uncharted territory.

“I prayed a lot,” he admits. “I said `Lord, Ikaw na po ang bahala. If you give it to me and if it pushes through, it means it’s Your will.”

Luckily, the acting bug will never snatch Erik away from singing.

“Singing is still my priority,” he stresses. Well-meaning friends have advised Erik to beware of too many lines of dialogue, too much late-night tapings and excessive fits of crying on cam. They warned him that it may ruin his voice.

Erik has many reasons to protect that voice. He will hold a concert at Meralco Theater on Sept. 24 and 25. Then, he hies off to Europe for a series of shows. Next year, Erik is a shoo-in for a role in a musical theater production.

“I was told that I didn’t have to audition for the role,” he says.

With things falling into place, is there anything else Erik dreams of doing?

“I want to get married and have a family of my own,” he replies right off the bat.

But he has yet to meet The One he will bring home to Mama. The minute he does, romantic Erik knows he will feel it in his bones.

Meanwhile, let’s sit back and relax as we set aside Erik the singer and replace him with Erik the actor for a few hours. He may yet spring a few surprises that will make us see him in an entirely new and better light.

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