Co-written by Jude Cartalaba
Manila, Philippines, January 11, 2012 – Perceived as a boy-next-door type by many young theater habitués and TV 5 viewers, Fredison Lo (Fred Lo to his theater colleagues and former schoolmates at De La Salle University-Manila), has started out a career niche in the theater by essaying lead roles in major musical productions of Rent (Mark Cohen) and Trumpets' N.O.A.H (Narrator/God); and has recently been exploring acting on mainstream television too via TV 5's remake of the '70s-'80s popular sitcom Iskul Bukol, where he played the role of the young professor Rude Valentino.
"[As to being typecast as a take-home-to-mama guy] Well, I try to be as nice as I can be whenever I deal with people. But, I don't exactly label myself like that because in every experience that I have, it changes me in some way, helping me grow as a person. And, I do admit to having a dark side," Lo told BroadwayWorld.com at Resorts World Manila's recent press conference for its extended run of the beloved Broadway musical The Sound of Music. Lo has been tapped to breathe life into the character of Rolf (with Marvin Ong as alternate actor), the young Nazi messenger whom Liesl von Trapp has fallen head over heels with, and who will eventually betray the von Trapp family in the play.
Among the characters he has played in the theater and on television so far, Lo finds playing the role of independent filmmaker, Mark, in the Pulitzer Prize-winning rock musical Rent as the most challenging.
"For me, acting on stage isn't about acting like someone but being the character itself. After figuring out what kind of person Mark was for me (his history, likes, dislikes, motivations, etc.), I tried incorporating who my image of Mark was into my own personality to create my version of him. In doing so, I was able to convey a character on stage that felt natural to me even though I wasn't exactly like him, because I put part of myself into the character."
Lo added, "[Iskul Bukol's] Rude was more of a fun character to play. Rude was nice, smart, and serious yet naïve. His character dealt with trivial problems and had less depth, while Mark was deep and involved in more complicated and serious situations that left a lot of inner dialogues and conflicts to be discovered in his [spoken and sung] lines."
He also stressed that his role as Rolf, as opposed to Mark, reveals that "Rolf's biggest conflict would be between his interest in Liesl von Trapp and his political views/inclinations. He technically has a clear and concise view of his path in life, and he follows it based on his instincts. Mark, on the one hand, is someone who's looking for purpose and meaning to his life, and what he's doing. As the story progresses, we slowly see Mark's growth and emotional battle through each experience he has in the play, while, Rolf's journey is left to the imagination."
During BroadwayWorld.com's interview, Lo was vocal about auditioning for or playing the part of Simba's nemesis, Scar, if ever Disney's The Lion King would make it to the Philippines.
"I've always been curious of how I'd do as a villain," he said.
"Frankly, I know that I don't exactly fit the peg of a villain, that's why I usually get protagonist roles. I guess, I just want to see what my other side is like on stage, just for a change. Also, I love The Lion King."
Interestingly enough, if he were given the opportunity to be a leading man in a mainstream movie, he would be picking television host-turned-recording/concert artist Anne Curtis as his leading lady.