Sam Concepcion

Let’s admit it. We’ve all seen the memes and we’ve shared all the long Facebook posts. (Yes we’re looking at you, 9gag. You too, berlin-artparasites.) Nowadays, truth prevails in the form of sass, humor, and hugot – existential blabber if you will. So when The Sandbox Collective decided to get serious on dropping truths and metaphors about today’s generation “why”, they did it in the most millennial way possible – all talk, “No Filter”.

Now with a new venue, new monologues, and more millennials, the conversation just got a little bit more interesting. We caught up with newbies Paolo Valenciano, Sam Concepcion, and Carla Humphries to get the lowdown on how it was like joining the gang, re-learning theater, and perhaps even get a hint of the surprises up their sleeves. It maybe too early to tell what “No Filter 2.0” has in stored but if there’s anything we can already take away from this set of re-runs, it’s that it will always be a process of constant learning and improving – oh wait, is that another metaphor?

Did you watch the first run of No Filter? What did you think?

Paolo Valenciano: Yes. It’s so refreshing to hear all these tiny voices in your head finally [said] out loud. Either I experienced something exactly like that or I know someone who was going through the same thing and it’s comforting cause its nice to know that I’m not the only one.

Sam Concepcion: Aside from it being relatable, it was very reflective. At first, it was [said to be] a play by millennials for millennials but it turned out to be for everybody. It was a way for the previous generation to understand our struggles more.

How did you get the part?

Pao: Toff actually asked me to be a part of the first run but we had some problems with the schedule. But I really liked the material so I wanted to get involved somehow. He started inviting me to the critique night and asked me for my opinions. Then when they decided to have a second run, I had about 3 shows this September and 1 show in October that got cancelled so I figured it was a clear sign that I should do it.

Chill pill: Paolo Valenciano steps out of his comfort zone in the monologue “About Last Night.”

How was it like re/learning theater?

Pao: I haven’t done theatre in 12 years. For the past 3 years, I’ve been directing and performing shows and I felt that there was so much to learn as a director and as an actor from being a part of this show. I was drained mentally, emotionally, and physically.

Sam: During ‘Intensives’, you really get into the root of every sentence and what you mean by it because when you’re out there, when you’re in front of the crowd, it will get really intimate so you have to know what you are saying, you have to know your story, and you have to connect. It was intense but it feels good to be a thinking actor again.

Carla Humphries: My confidence was too low because I’m taking it seriously and it’s something I want so I’m a little harder on myself and I tend to self-sabotage. It’s so hard because a lot of the time it’s so constructive and it’s going to hurt your ego but you’ll really be a better actor. It’s doing wonders for my love of the craft [of acting].

What happened on the first day of rehearsal?

Pao: I was the new kid and I haven’t felt that in a long time. It freaked me out a bit but then I slowly started to get to know each one of them. Right now it kind of really feels like a family. They keep on pushing me and it’s a really good feeling.

Carla: Despite me having existing friendships [with the original cast], it’s still so hard cause the bond has already been established – the repor is already there, the banters, the inside jokes. I couldn’t help but feel like I have to be kapal enough to assert myself. We took a picture of all of us lying down on the carpet in Toff’s living room and I felt that this is what an acting environment should be like.

How was your previous rehearsal?

Carla: I have to catch up because a lot of them already have their rhythm. As a newbie, and since Sam and Paolo have theatre background already, I have something to prove.

Red lady: Theater newbie Carla Humphries joins the cast of No Filter 2.0.

What’s your favorite monologue? Why?

Pao: I really like my monologue called “Best Chance”. It is a story of a guy who was held back by his parents. Thankfully, my parents were not like that but being Gary V’s son, I sort of get that pressure from everyone else. We have certain dreams and aspirations that we want to do but society sort of hinders us because of what they believe we should be like. I was originally supposed to be Khalil’s alternate, but then I told Toff that I really want [Micah’s monologue] so that I won’t have to act. I just need to read it and remember my “emo” days.

Sam: “About Last Night” is a monologue where 5 different people talk about the same event from different perspectives. My character talks about being in the middle of a conversation and he didn’t know his place among adults. When do you know that you’ve become one? Because of the way things work and how fast things happen, sometimes you just get thrown out there and you’re just expected to do things. I grew up in the business so I was probably already an adult before I even hit puberty. I was already working and I was dealing with situations that children should not even be dealing with so I could really relate.

Into Silence is also a feel good monologue and it’s a new one about what this generation is doing, how we are, and how we should be affecting our society. I think we are the way we are because of how the previous generation brought us up and it’s kind of daunting how it also depends on how we carry it on for the next ones. It’s a little scary but if you think about it, it’s the reality.

Carla: I was so excited that I got Saab’s track. I had just come from a year of soul searching and I actually ended up in New York. One of her monologues was set there as well so it hit so close to home. It was such a perfect opportunity to express that part of my journey.

Trial by Numbers is a new monologue about online shaming. As a celebrity, it’s something that I always worry about. We are given a platform to judge and humiliate people. It’s interesting to see the cycle that it goes through and now, it’s making people aware that it’s not just going to happen to celebrities. Now, [their] lives are as public as ours.

Hands on: Sam Concepcion goes back to the theater stage.

Why is doing this show important for you?

Sam: It tackles subjects that aren’t usually talked about and we have the privilege of being able to do it in this show. It’s therapeutic.

Carla: Aside from being a part of this as a voice, it’s also a personal journey for me. I’ve been gone for a year and honestly, it’s renewing my love for acting. It’s teaching me so much and you don’t get a lot of opportunities in life that lets you become aware that it is really molding you into something.

For those who have seen it, what’s there to look forward to? For those who haven’t seen it at all, what’s to expect?

Carla: Aside from the obvious –– Sam Pao and I (laughs)… Since the feedback for the first run was really good, they have to see the second run because it gave [the cast] an opportunity to say whatever they weren’t able to say in the first run. There are a lot of new monologues that I think people should hear. Also, we’ve mastered it enough that we can play with it a little bit more.

by Tin Sartorio