by Justinne Punsalang
As a person who had no idea (before) about the art of spoken word poetry and monologues (other than those in movies), the first thing that came to my mind when I watched Mark Ghosn’s performance was “Sh*t ang galing niya. Ang taba ng utak!” But after getting to know him, I met the person holding a pen and realized that he was the kuya I never had.
We get to know him more and outside of Ampalaya Monologues. Think of this interview as getting to know Mark not just as the brains of Ampalaya Monologues but also the real person behind the hugots.
You’ve been doing theatre for more than a decade, but you are a spoken word artist and monologist for 3 years now, how does it feel that people are still interested with your works?
I don’t really know how to feel about it, I mean, 3 years is not much and I still see myself as a newbie, but I guess with how things go nowadays, when new artists go viral tapos they disappear din agad, 3 years is actually a long time na rin kung tutuusin. So I guess right now, I just feel blessed lang talaga na I’m still here and that there are people who are still interested with what I do and what I have to offer, but I really feel that things are just starting for me.
Do you think being able to do monologues and spoken word poetry at the same time is what makes you stand out from other artists?
I think it depends on who you ask, I don’t really know why I stand out because I don’t like comparing myself to others, I just do what I do. May mga nagsasabi na I’m good with monologues and that it’s my forte, meron naman nagsasabi na maganda yung spoken word poetry sa CoLove. So it really depends on who you ask, ako masaya lang ako na I’m able to crossover sa dalawa.
What story would you like to write and perform but you are apprehensive to do so and why?
Actually lahat naman ng naisulat ko ay apprehensive akong isulat sa umpisa kasi based sila sa totoong kwento ng mga tao. Halos lahat naman ng monologues ko are not based on my own experience kaya lagi akong cautious kung how much of the real story ang incorporated into the monologue. I had to make sure na I give respect and justice to their stories.
Where do you get your stories?
Nagsimula sa mga close friends at family ko, tapos nang tumagal na may mga lumalapit na sa akin at nag kukwento ng life nila para ma-turn into a monologue. But lately ang inspiration ko sa mga stories ay galing sa lugar where I grew up, maliit na eskinita kasi yun, ang tawag ay looban, typical batang 90s ako na nasanay sa hindi marangyang buhay kaya maraming mga makukulay na personalities akong nakasalamuha habang lumalaki at gusto kong ikwento yung mga buhay nila.
What have you learned from doing Ampalaya Monologues?
Marami pero ang pinakanatutunan ko talaga sa lahat, bukod sa laging magpasalamat, ay kapag ang sining mo ay hindi makasarili, kahit gaano ka pa ma-bully, i-bash o siraan, hindi sila magtatagumpay na patigilin ka dahil alam mo na yung ginagawa mo ay may deeper purpose at hindi mo lang ginagawa para sa sarili mo.
What’s your purpose as an artist?
Gamitin ang monologo upang mas maging mabuti ang ibang tao tungo sa mas mabuting mundo. May it be by enlightening the audience on certain topics, by entertaining them and making them feel better kahit sandali, or by inspiring them.
You’re very brave lately when it comes to what you write and perform, where is that coming from?
Wala na kasi akong pakialam, haha. I’m not doing this para sumikat o makilala e, nasa point na ako ngayon na ang iniisip ko na lang ay yung responsibilidad ko bilang isang monologista. Kasi kung iisipin mo lagi kung paano ka sasakay sa gusto ng mga tao, may posibilidad na hindi mo na maisulat yung mga gusto mo talagang isulat dahil nag-a-adjust ka lagi sa kanila. At saka feeling ko naman kahit anong isulat o iperform ko, forever na akong magiging underrated, haha, so gawin ko na lang yung totoong gusto ko kaysa i-please ko lagi sila, at swerte ko na lang kung yung gusto ko ay magustuhan din nila.
How would you describe yourself as the showrunner of Ampalaya Monologues?
Sabi nila kalmado, medyo OC ako sa lahat ng aspects kasi syempre gusto ko maganda yung show. May times na napagsasabihan ko sila pagdating sa professionalism, pero part yun ng pagiging kuya. Mahilig din akong tumulong sa growth nila, I make sure na nakakatulong ako sa abot ng aking makakaya, wala kasi akong hands-on na mentor nung nagsisimula ako so gusto kong ibigay sa kanila yun ngayon.
Now, let’s talk about the future. What are your plans and do you see yourself doing this for the next, five to ten years?
May mga naka line-up na projects until next year pero ayoko ng future-future na usapan talaga, haha. Matansyahin kasi akong tao, instinct, nakikinig ako sa kung anong gustong sabihin sa’kin ng universe, so yung plans ko very flexible. May mga gusto akong i-achieve pero nagtitiwala rin ako sa plano ng mundo so tignan na lang natin kung anong naghihintay, basta ako tuloy lang.
Thank you Mark Ghosn for letting us interview you on your third anniversary as a monologst and spoken word artist. Since it is also your birthday week, we wish you more years in the industry. We believe that your work has affected many lives and we hope that you would continue doing just that.
Oh, have we already greeted you a happy birthday? Cue music!