News Column

Markki's mark

September 15, 2013


Sept. 15--*



Why the Fil-Norwegian artist is often misunderstood

He is just dead serious about his craft. And this is why Filipino-Norwegian actor and jazz singer Markki Stroem is often misunderstood.

While promoting the Cinemalaya entry Amor Y Muerte back in July, the reality show discovery from the first season of Pilipinas Got Talent, met some negative publicity, which depicted him as aloof and full of himself. Apparently, several entertainment journalists greeted him at the indie movie's press conference, and he was said to have flatly ignored them.

"I was playing a sociopath in Amor Y Muerte and I guess was just in character at that time," Markki explained, adding that he never meant to offend anyone.

"It's always been about the art for me and how to grow as an actor. I know others join show biz for fame, but it was a fluke I got into it. I only did [the reality show] because despite my background, I felt that there was something missing--and I found that in singing and acting."

A Hospitality and Marketing Management merit and honors graduate from the Glion Institute of Higher Education in Switzerland before his diversion into show business, the 26-year-old describes himself to be an "over researcher."

"It's because of my marketing background," he laughed. "To do Diego for Amor Y Muerte [a 16th century period film that delved into the dynamics between the indios and illustrados], I threw myself into research about sociopaths, I took Spanish lessons in Bulacan, and I really tried my best to understand how my character became that way he was and where he was going."

Markki, whose introduction to the arts was via theater as an eight year old cast member of a Repertory Philippines production, uses the stage jargon of "being" when he takes on the myriad of roles for TV, plays and musicales he has since received after emerging as a finalist in Pilipinas Got Talent.

On the small screen, he has had stints in Maalaala Mo Kaya and Wako Wako for ABS-CBN, and Luv Crazy for TV5. His movie credits aside from Amor Y Muerte include Slumber Party, Raketeros and 10,000 hours. For theater, he went on stage for Atlantis Production's Next to Normal, Repertory's Camp Rock the Musicale, and will essay the role of Tommy in the upcoming run of Carrie: The Musicale, also by Atlantis.

Is he then in "being" now for the stage rendition of Stephen King's modern classic as the iconic Carrie White's boyfriend?

"I believe so. Tommy's a very nice guy who is also a poet, and yes I've been writing poems lately," Markki replied. "I've come to understand the fact that while everyone thinks he's this jock, he writes because he has so many feelings inside him he wants to express, and that he wants everyone around him to know he's not just what he seems."

Carrie--whose music is by Academy Award Winner Michael Gore, with lyrics by Academy Award winner Dean Pitchford, and a Book by Lawrence D. Cohen (who wrote the screenplay of the Brian de Palma film)--tells the tragic story of a misunderstood high school teenager with extraordinary telekinetic powers. Terrorized by her oppressive religious fanatic mother and bullied by her classmates, Carrie's violent rampage of revenge remains one of the most terrifying stories of all time.

Directed by Bobby Garcia, it stars award-winning musical theater actress Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo; Mikkie Bradshaw as Carrie; Yanah Laurel; Shiela Valderrama-Martinez; Jill Pena; Mako Alonso; Jamie Wilson; Garie Concepcion; Johann Dela Fuente; Nel Gomez; Lilette Lorenzana; Kim Molina; and Bibo Reyes.

Still taking for the character of Tommy, The Manila Times finally asked Markki if like his role, he feels he is still not seen for who he is in the industry.

Surprisingly, Markki had a more positive answer: "In terms of my music, I'm happy that I've been able to establish myself as an alternative jazz singer. I have regular gigs in high-end bars and corporate shows since they're the audience of my genre.

"As for acting, I'm fortunate to be given very diverse roles from one project to the next, so yes. I guess the industry's seeing me for what I can do," he concluded.

Carrie runs from September 20 to October 6 at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium, RCBC Plaza, Makati. A four-track EP CD featuring the original Manila cast will be sold at the theater lobby, produced by Atlantis Productions, Hit Productions and Curve Entertainment, Inc. For tickets inquiries, call 892-7078 or Ticketworld at 8919999.


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