Story & photo by Rizal Raoul Reyes
SHE’S not a geek. Still, Filipina-British stage actress Rebecca Faith Coates is serious at securing a pre-medical degree speech and language pathology at the De La Salle University-Health Sciences Institute (DLSU-HIS).
“Basically, I want to help people who can no longer be able to speak properly or even children who have developmental disorders,” Coates, 19, said. “I want to teach how to use their voices correctly. Funnily, enough, I don’t love science. But I love helping people.”
The latter’s the reason she’s at the DLSU-HIS, she said in a recent interview with the BusinessMirror.
Helping people, Coates said, “is my end goal and motivation.”
“My paternal grandmother is my inspiration,” the bubbly college freshman said. “As she got older she had difficulty to speak.”
Fondly called Becca by her friends, Coates plans to establish a school for people with disabilities in confidence and speaking, where she can combine music and theater or a more enjoyable and affective learning experience.
COATES’S love of theater was developed by her mother.
Her mother also became the mentor in their home school and she and her younger sister enjoyed it because their mother was a very theatrical person.
“All of our lessons were done in verses,” she said, recalling her home-schooling days.
Her professional role in theater was with Resort’s World Manila’s Sound of Music. At 15, she appeared as Alice in Repertory Philippines’s Children Theater presentation of Alice in Wonderland.
Coates was also seen in the Sandbox Collective’s production of Dani Girl and played Snow White in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. She also recently appeared in Repertory Philippines’s production of The Secret Garden.
Coates worked as an intern writer at the wedding blog “Bride and Breakfast”. She is a passionate writer and has been writing and keeping track of her life and experiences since she was 12. She has attended summer workshops by Repertory Philippines, Trumpets and 9Works Theatrical. Coates is also a gold medalist at the National Student Convention, where she performed solos and monologues.
COATES, who plays Agnes in Repertory’s second production Agnes of God, said she feels “so honored” that she’s “still around”.
“I’m glad Rep has kept me.”
She considers every show memorable because she is given the opportunity to meet different types of people.
“If I do Alice in Wonderland, it is for children,” she said. “If I do Agnes of God, I am facing the regular theater crowd.”
Although Coates has mestiza features, she considers herself more Filipina in her outlook.
“As for the British part, I love to drink tea. Filipino-wise, I am fun,” she said. “Filipinos are fun. I hope that I am also fun. And I love sinigang na baboy and love music.”
According to her, she is “more Filipino inside”.
“I also love and appreciate the arts,” she adds. “Filipinos put their hearts into a show.”
As far as her fellow millennials are concerned, Coates urges them to come to the theater because they need to absorb art.
“There’s nothing like [being] in the theater. You can’t recreate the feeling in the theater.”
She urges millennials to come to the theater “if they want something real”.
“Our job as actresses is to make them feel the situation is real.”
COATES said it is unfair to accuse all millennials of having a short attention span, of being self-indulgent and gadget addicts.
“I don’t believe that’s true for everyone,” Coates said. Why don’t we break the stigma and go to the theater and show people that we do have a capacity to watch art and get off our phones and can listen and can be present.”
Going more to the theater is one way to erase the stigma that all millennials cannot appreciate art, she said. “I think millennials should not be scared of watching plays that have been written a long time ago because they are still relevant today.”