Dudz Teraña: A gemini theater star

Author: Mikoy Fernandez

If you’re a big fan of the Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA) or a member of Far Eastern University’s Theater Guild (or at least someone who frequents plays by the guild) then you should already know who Dudz is.

If not, then maybe at least you’ve heard of some of his acting students such as comedic actress Moi Bien, Idol Philippines S1 Grand Champion Zephanie or Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray?

If you’re still not too familiar with Dudz, then let me give you a brief rundown of what he is all about.

Dudz is a theater director, actor, choreographer, playwright, and teacher who is best known for his work with PETA and the FEU Theater Guild.

As a director, he has directed plays such as “Anak” (1997), “Batang Rizal” (2007-2014), “Dreamweavers” (2012), and “Makikitawag Lang Ako” (2014). He has also gotten to direct international tours of PETA plays in countries such as Laos, Cambodia, Singapore, and Thailand.

As an actor, he has acted in PETA plays such as “Summer Dreamin’ (A Midsummer Night’s Dream)” (1999), “Eye Ball” (2000), “Ang Kamera ni Mang Leon” (2005), “Caredivas” (2010), and “Bona” (2012) just to name a few.

As a playwright, he has written numerous one act and full-length plays that were staged at FEU.

As an artist-teacher, he has given all sorts of theater workshops ranging from children’s theater to directing and everything in between.

In short, Dudz lives and breathes theater.

Given how he has found his footing in the land of the Tamaraws, one could easily assume and mistake that he is an example of a proud graduate who is giving back to his alma mater through his love of theater. However, he is actually an alumnus from another university that’s literally just a block away. Dudz graduated with a Communication Arts degree in 2000 from the University of the East in Manila – the land of the Red Warriors.

A Summary of your career (so far) in your own words

“As someone who has been involved in the world of theater for many years, I have had the privilege of witnessing the growth of my students as well as the artists that I have trained. It brings me joy to see the impact that theater has on individuals.”

“Masaya siya, na makita mo yung mga pinagtrabahuhan mo nang ilang dekada, whether sa theater man siya, television, or film or kahit pa sa anong field na nagagamit nila yung mga itinuro mo sa kanila. Rewarding para sa akin yun, sobra.”

(It’s fulfilling to see your students put into practice the lessons I’ve given over the decades, whether it be in theater, television, or film, or in any field. It really is rewarding for me.)

What’s one lesson you want to impart to your students?

“As a theater artist, it is our responsibility to not only entertain but also educate and inspire our audiences. We have the power to create the magic on stage, to transport them to different worlds and make them experience a wide range of emotions.”

“Rewarding siya as an artist. Yun yung magic ng theater.”

(It’s rewarding as an artist. That’s the magic of theater.)

As an artist-teacher, what is the most important piece of advice you’ve ever received and why?

“Isang bagay na natutunan ko sa pagpasok ko sa PETA, yung trabaho daw natin ay parang kumunoy (quick sand), kung hindi ka kikilos masyado, hindi ka lulubog. Kaya siguro hindi ko namamalayan na nasa bottom na ako ng kumunoy nang hindi ko namamalayan dahil na rin sa dami ng mga nagawa, natrabaho, naturuan na mga tao sa field ng acting. At masaya siya, mahirap pero hindi masusukat yung fulfillment na ibinibigay niya sa iyo. And mind you hindi nakakatanda magwork sa field na ito. Chos!”

(One thing I learned when I started working in PETA is that our job is like quicksand, if you don’t move much, you won’t drown. Maybe this is why I didn’t notice that I’m already at the bottom of the quicksand because of how much work I’ve put in and how many students I’ve gotten to teach in the field of acting over the years. It’s fun and it’s also hard but you can’t really measure the fulfillment it brings to you. And mind you, this line of work doesn’t make you age one bit. Chos!)

What is your best piece of advice for theater artists who are just starting out?

“Some of my students sa theater man or film, have gone on to pursue careers in the performing arts and have landed roles in professional productions. To see them living their passion and excelling in their craft is truly gratifying. So I guess, my advice is don’t stop. Never doubt yourself. Just go and plunge. Try it. Wala namang mawawala. Learn from the experience and continue to study. Kasi never ending naman ang pagkatuto sa acting. Nag e-evolve sya. Huwag kang manatili kung saan ka comfortable. Explore. Continue studying para mapahusay mo pa ang sarili mo sa larangan ng pag arte.”

(Some of my students in theater or film have gone on to pursue careers in the performing arts and have landed roles in professional productions. To see them living their passion and excelling in their craft is truly gratifying. So I guess my advice is: Don’t stop. Never doubt yourself. Just go and plunge. Try it. You won’t lose anything. Learn from the experience and continue to study. Learning in acting never really ends, it just keeps evolving. Don’t keep yourself stuck in your comfort zone. Explore. Keep studying so you can keep improving your skills in acting.)

The Gemini Theater Star

With the successful restaging of Liza C. Magtoto’s “Agnoia” just this March in celebration of the FEU Theater Guild’s 90th anniversary, one can could say that things are going strong for Dudz.

The fact that some of his former students have found varying degrees of success in the mainstream – such as Brigiding, Maria Cristina, Rowi Du, Paeng Sudayan, Welwel Silvestre, Divine Aucina, Yesh Burce, and Kat Galang – shows that he is indeed a major influence not just in the local theater scene but in Philippine entertainment in general.

And in the spirit of Agnoia’s fusion of love and astrology, I’d like to put forth the idea that he is indeed a true embodiment of a Gemini (which is actually his star sign). If Dudz is Castor and his love of theater is Pollux (the two stars that serve as the anchors) then we could say that the other stars making up the rest of the constellation are his students and his works that continue to brighten up the world of Philippine theater and beyond.

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