TWI's Chewy Buhion had the wonderful pleasure of sitting down with some of the cast and crew of Repertory Philippines' season opener, BOEING BOEING.
Jennifer-Blair Bianco - Gloria
Jennifer-Blair plays Gloria, the American Air Hostess from TWA. Originally from Illinois, Jennifer has been reconnecting with her Filipino roots, doing various commercials and plays here in the Philippines. Bringing in her tremendous amount of experience from performing in the U.S. Jennifer-Blair and her husband, David (who plays Bernard in the show), have brought their years of experience to the audiences of Manila.
How would you describe your character?
“My character, Gloria, is an airhostess in the 1960s, she works for TWA, she is from America, and she is engaged to Bernard who is a Frenchman living in Paris. Gloria is a very sensual woman, she knows it all, and is very confident. She loves to eat all kinds of crazy foods! She loves pancakes! They make comments on how she has strange eating habits.”
Let’s take Gloria, and Jennifer-Blair, is there a bridge between the two?
“I wouldn’t say there are a bunch of similarities between me and the character. I would say I’m more conservative about public displays of affection, whereas Gloria isn’t. This is also a different time period, the 60s, [the days of] free love. Of course showing affection with your partner was more common then, especially for Gloria who is a very openly sexual or openly sensual woman. For me I’m more traditional, more conservative. In that respect I definitely think that I’m different. So, this is definitely a challenge for me, and exciting too to play!”
Is there any twist which you put to the character to make it your own?
“Yeah! Every single day of rehearsal is a new experience, because we’re adding the lights, the music, and costumes. Everyday we’re building more, and with the character we’re building more and more. When I’m playing Gloria, it’s really fun, because we can put those twists on it. I wouldn’t say its one particular thing, each of the circumstances are different. Every day is a new experience, and I’m just trying to build more and more into my character. If she’s sensual, I want to put more of that. If she’s weird with her eating habits, maybe make it more like I’m talking and eating at the same time, and make it more larger than life, because it is a farce. In comedy like that it is larger than life, and it’s also shedding light on the caricatures of these people.”
How did you do your character research? Did you watch the movie?
“I have never watched the movie; normally I don’t like to. I like to do research in terms of something in the script. I research within the guidelines of the script. Maybe afterwards I’ll watch the movie. However, I did see in 2008 when I was living in New York the Broadway revival of BOEING BOEING, and it won a Tony Award for best revival for that year. Mark Rylance who played Robert, won a Tony for best actor for that year too. It was such a great, hilarious production, and I really loved it! When I was asked by Miguel if I could audition I was really, really excited to do so for the part.”