MANILA—It was only an hour before the show when she found out that she was going to stand in for the lead.
Though instead of giving in to the immense amount of pressure, Pinay actress Charlene Magalit knew she would do just fine thanks to her wide experience, including the training she got in Manila.
Magalit talked to Palabas Tayo about the opportunity she got as an understudy to play the lead for a date in the UK tour of the musical version of "Amélie," a classic French film about an eccentric woman who dedicates her life to helping others, last August.
She told the theater website that the training she received from her mentors in the Philippines, as well as her stint in Hong Kong working for Disney, has prepared for the task and to be "competitive enough in an international scale."
"They love us (Filipinos) here because we work hard, we have no qualms, and we're so damn nice to everyone," Magalit said.
She added that she was did not saw it as a chance to make her fellow Filipinos proud, even if that was on the back of her mind, but as a way to prove to the UK people how "great Filipinos are and for them to realize that the world is diverse."
"Race doesn't matter. I think we're just so triggered by race and appropriation nowadays," Magalit continued.
About last night: I was able to play the role of Amélie with an hour’s notice. (Don’t worry! Audrey is fine and brilliant as she always is) I am amazed at how quick thinking everyone was. I felt nothing but support and love from the entire team. We did a rehearsal of the parts I wasn’t able to run through with the entire team. After that, I did a bit of flying and then the next thing I knew, I was putting on my makeup while someone fixed my hair. As if in a blink of an eye, I was in my costume and the prologue music was already playing. Intense. I thankfully did well, according to people, both cast and audience alike, but of course, there are points to improve on, which I will try to do next time.* edited: Audrey is back and will be performing as usual! I couldn’t really gauge my performance as I was too busy living the show. Everything was organic. Amélie’s panic attacks, loss for words, her hesitation on kissing Nino. (Because I never rehearsed the real kiss!!!). As an afterthought, I realized that I wrote in my diary that same afternoon, “you know what you need to do, you will find the nuances of your character once you get to play it.” That was exactly what happened. And I guess that’s what made me so calm. I have so much respect and love for Audrey Brisson. She does so much every show and does it so brilliantly. She is out of this world, seriously. I remember her telling me when I asked how she does it all. “You’ll just learn it all and you’ll be amazing.” ❤️😭 It was also so heartwarming to hear that members of the cast were tearing up at different points of the show. Some audience members approached me and congratulated me. One took the cover role announcement and had me sign it. 😂 In the end, last night was a cornucopia of emotional triumphs. I would love to play the role again for family and friends. Maybe someday. 😉 #amelieuktour #cover #understudy #achievementunlocked #titlerole #onahigh #lovewins @ameliemusicaluk @cssdlondon @gilbertandpayne 📸@bwaykt’s Twitter acct and of course @nuwanhugh
Magalit joined the touring cast of "Amélie" in May, after sending audition tapes of her performing the musical's "Times are Hard for Dreamers" song, she shared in the same interview.
She recalled that she was in the middle of being part of the UK tour of a theater adaptation of "Cat in the Hat" --her first-ever-- when she got the call for her agent to try for "Amélie."
"After every show, I'd work on my self-tapes, making sure that everything was perfect. I'd stay in my dressing room after hours, learning the materials and then recording them. ...On the day of submissions, I was still editing the reel that I almost wasn't able to submit it on the intended deadline."
She said that she got the news that she got the cover part a day after she submitted her tapes.
In the Palabas Tayo interview, Magalit also talked about how it was like to train as an understudy, the difference of a Pinoy crowd to the one in the UK, and her future plans. Check it out in this link.