Friday, August 28, 2009

Deaf performer uses his heart to hear

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The only thing that actor-dancer, Romalito “Rome” Mallari, is deficient in is his ability to hear. The 29-year-old De La Salle-College of St. Benilde deaf scholar turns in a stunning performance in Mike Sandejas’ Cinemalaya crowd favorite, “Dinig Sana Kita.” We recently interviewed him, with Giselle Montero acting as his interpreter.

Dream come true

How did he get the part? Rome recalled, “Mike was looking for a deaf actor, and I was recommended. It was a dream come true for me!” Of the acting workshop he went through with director Laurice Guillen: “You can’t play pretend. It’s important to have the mind and heart connected to each other to help you express more.”

His childhood consisted of being alone with his brother or just staying at home. He shared, “Our neighbors couldn’t understand me. My father was uncomfortable about the situation. So, sometimes, I was left to play on my own.”

Where did he draw his range of emotions for the film? He swiftly answered, “From my heart. When my character was left by his mother, I had to relate it with my past.”

When Rome’s “father” died, he learned that he was adopted. Unfortunately, no one else knew of his real parents’ whereabouts. He reminisced, “I was in my early 20s the first time I heard about it. I was shocked. But, my foster father was good to me.”

Did he rebel at that surprising revelation? He replied, “It was hard to deal with it initially. But, I want to show people how we can work together and be friends. Let’s open our hearts and minds!”

For now, Rome’s greatest desire is to find his real parents. And, his search for answers continues.