Kapuso Actor TJ Trinidad Plays a Closet Gay in “The Normal Heart”
By Patrice Simone Dauz
“Back in 2010, I wrote and directed a film in a similar vein. It’s about a man who was falsely diagnosed with HIV. We showed it in schools just to create awareness,” said TJ Trinidad. He was referring to Mga Kahihinatnan ng Aking Kabalbalan, a feature length film which premiered at the Cinemalaya 2010 Netpac Section. The actor wrote, directed, and produced the said film.
In “Normal Heart”, a play mounted by the The Necessary Theatre and directed by Bart Guingona, Trinidad essays the role of Bruce Niles, a closet gay tasked to lead an organization fighting against a mysterious disease which only affects those engaging in male to male intercourse. In the 2014 HBO made-for-TV movie adaptation of the 1985 Larry Kramer play, Trinidad’s role was portrayed by Taylor Kitsch. The lead role that was played by Mark Ruffalo went to Bart Guingona, who was very effective in evoking the intensity, pain, and desperation of his character, Ned Weeks.
Another powerful performance was from Roselyn Perez, who essayed the role of Dr. Emma Brookner, which was portrayed by Julia Roberts in the film. Red Concepcion was funny and gave a nuanced performance as Tommy Boatwright. Other members of the cast are Richard Cunanan (Ben Weeks), Nor Domingo (Mickey Marcus), Topper Fabregas (Felix Turner), and Jef Flores. Flores plays multiple roles.
“Clearly, it’s not getting any better. We just need to all do our part,” stressed Trinidad. According to the Department of Health, HIV cases in the Philippines dramatically increased starting in 2006. The year with the highest recorded number of cases was in 2014, with a total of 6,011.
“This is my first professional play. It was definitely a challenge. At first, I was intimidated. It was just my balance of projecting and being heard. That was my main challenge in the beginning,” recounted the actor.
‘The Normal Heart’ has remaining shows on the following dates: Oct. 4 (3pm and 8pm), Oct. 9 (8pm), Oct. 10 (3pm and 8pm), and Oct. 11 (3pm and 8pm). It will be at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium of RCBC Plaza Makati. For tickets, you may call TicketWorld at 891-9999 or text 0928-507-2924 or 0917-537-8313. For more details, you can visit the official website at http://thenormalheartmnl.jimdo.com,