While infidelity is one of the more controversial issues being talked about in Philippine media, have you ever imagined a housewife meeting a globetrotter, who is passionate for his craft of photography, and risking a possible infidelity with her husband, in exchange for adventures with a stranger? In a conservative country like the Philippines, are such situations deemed to be acceptable by society?
Like it or not, such situations that involve infidelity, artistry, and desire for adventures do happen in our society, which makes the plot of the musical Bridges of Madison County something that most if not all Filipinos can relate to.
A book written by Robert Waller, Bridges of Madison County talks about how Francesca Johnson, an Italian war bride who has been living a quiet life, comes across Robert Kincaid, a photographer who is assigned to cover the famous covered bridge of Madison County. While Robert and Francesca go on an adventure, both risk the possibility of infidelity especially since Francesca is married.
As we get a real-life perspective of the issues tackled in Bridges of Madison County, we let Mig Ayesa and Joanna Ampil, who will play Robert and Francesca respectively in the musical, weigh in on the issues presented in Bridges of Madison County.
Dull life or a life full of adventure?
With life nowadays having a faster pace than usual thanks to technology, most people would definitely answer that a life full of adventure is the way to go. “Full of adventure, that’s for sure,” Joanna said with confidence.
While both Joanna and MiG do agree that it is better to have a life full of adventure, MiG does think that there are times that they need to slow down a bit sometimes, especially since both of them are now in their 40s and are not getting any younger. “I’m not a young spring chicken anymore, and sometimes a bit of the boring stuff is really exciting for me,” said MiG.
Overall, MiG emphasized that he would like a life that has more adventures, and at the same time a life that is relaxed once in a while, of which Joanna does agree. For both of them, this meant a perfect balance between the two.
A true artist is . . .
As veterans in the acting industry both here and abroad, MiG and Joanna have a say when asked about what it takes to be a true artist. “Being a true artist means everything you do has a touch of artistry,” said MiG.
Asked about what being a true artist meant, MiG gave a good explanation about the topic. “You have to care, you need to have the passion…and you also have to be creative in every asset of your life,”MiG emphasized, as it is evident to his career as an actor and a rock star singer. In addition, Joanna added that part of being an artist is the desire to constantly want to learn, which is evident to both Joanna and MiG’s diverse acting careers spanning various Broadway performances.
In fact, Joanna added that one of her challenges for Bridges of Madison County is the length of the songs. “They’re over five minutes long, and each song can be considered a story by itself,” Joanna shared. Despite the challenges, Joanna stands for MiG’s statement on being a true artist as she welcomes the challenge in her stellar Broadway career. “The challenge should always be there; otherwise it will be boring,” said Joanna.
Affairs: Destroy or Save?
In a country that is dominated by Catholics and relatively conservative, infidelity is greatly considered a sensitive issue on whether it can destroy or save marriages. With issues on infidelity being a main topic in Bridges of Madison County and with various media platforms in the Philippines like movies and TV series, both MiG and Joanna think that it depends on a case-to-case basis. “It totally depends on the couple,” MiG said.
MiG can relate to the issue as he has been in a similar situation with his former partner, where he tried to work hard to make the relationship work despite of infidelity issues between him and his partner, but it was his ex-girlfriend who decided to call it quits.
“Sometimes, when something is damaged, it is damaged,” MiG shared.
For Joanna, who is a Catholic, it’s hard to gauge the effects of affairs especially with married couples. “Once you enter the sacrament of marriage, being unfaithful is a no-no,” she said. However, she knows of couples who have dealt with infidelity issues and made their relationship stronger. “It still really depends on the couple,” she added.
Bridges of Madison County tackles several issues that are relevant to Filipinos, which makes the musical more than appropriate to the Filipino audience. Catch Joanna and MiG as they play Francesca and Robert, starting November 20 at Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium, RCBC Plaza, Makati City.