Briones: Transcending age

I RECENTLY acted in a student’s thesis film that was shot in the northern town of Borbon.

I accepted the part because, well, it was the lead. And lead roles for actors—yes, I’m also a thespian—my age are hard to come by. Heck, who am I kidding? This was a one-in-a-million opportunity so I immediately grabbed it.

Don’t bother to ask me how old I am, though, because I’m not telling. But let’s just say that I’m past 30.

It also helped that the director, who happens to share my last name, explicitly told me that he wrote the part for me, or maybe I was mistaken and it was just my ego acting up, but it had to be something along that line otherwise I wouldn’t have agreed to spend three days in a place where there is hardly any cellphone signal, which automatically meant I wouldn’t have access to Facebook.

And you know how it is with us, feeling millennials, our day isn’t complete without opening our account on the social networking site. To do without it for three days was an act of sacrifice.

Ah, the great lengths some people go to for art.

But there I was. Inside a van heading north past 11 last Saturday night after work. At breakneck speed. In the rain. Packed like sardines with college students from the University of San Carlos.

Not exactly the scenario you would associate with showbiz, I know. But those who work or have worked in the industry know that it’s not all glamor. In fact, only a small fraction get to experience the razzmatazz. (Why do I have the sudden urge to do “jazz hands?”).

It was almost 2 a.m. when we got to our destination. The house that would be our home for the next few days was abuzz with activity. Either our arrival woke everybody up or the crew was just too excited for the morning shoot.

There was just enough time for me to play catchup with a good friend, Cebu’s go-to-guy for sound Kulas V., and have a bottle of “milk.”

Being in a set where you hardly know anyone can be daunting, especially when most of them are young. So very, very young. Like they could be my children young. That is if I impregnated a girl when I was 12.

Kulas’s familiar face helped break the ice.

Not that I was worried. I’ve always gotten along with the crew and last weekend’s shoot was no exception.

After the director yelled “cut” after our first scene in a mosquito-infested, pig poo-smelling location next to what was left of a mangrove forest, I was joking around with everyone.

I thought they initially shied away from me because of the aura that I give off as an artist. After all, it’s not every day that they get up and close with THE Publio Briones--and I’m writing this with a straight face--only to find out later on that they just had no idea how to talk to someone my age. That is, until they realized that not only am I young at heart, but I’m also very young in thinking. In fact, in one of those quizzes on Facebook, I found out that I have the maturity level of someone who is 23.

Later that night, while I was nursing another bottle of “milk,” one of my fellow actors, a young girl who is a mass communication major, came up to me and said: “Bilib kaayo ko nimo, Sir. Maski tiguwang na ka mo-jam gihapon ka namo.”
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