How would you react if you were called a Flip?
I wanted to ask Godinez recently meeting her for a blog conference “Flipzoids,” Ralph B. Peña’s play set in 1985 on the immigrant experience and its various aspects—isolation, connection and assimilation.
According to Wikipedia: “Flip is a term used colloquially particularly by Filipino-American youth to refer to those of Filipino descent. According to the late journalist and activist Alex de Leon Fabros, Sr., the term was first used among Filipinos sometime after his immigration to the United States in 1929. While Flip is usually used inoffensively, the folk etymology of the term is that it is an acronym for ‘f***ing little island people’ which was allegedly coined by American soldiers during World War II… A more plausible etymology of the term is that it is derived from the word Filipino.”
I asked her what Becca, which part of the play gets to you or moves you with every performance?
She candidly told me that two scenes get to her all the time. The first is when Aying speaks about what she did before she got on a plane bound for America. She walked around different parts of her house. Then she stood in the middle of her kitchen and smelled her mother’s cooking. It is hard not to cry or to separate that from my reality. In my life, my mother’s wonderful cooking meant family get-togethers and special occasions to celebrate with friends. To me, the scents were reassuring reminders of the joy, safety and comfort of home.
The second is Aying’s last act, where she symbolically erases evidence of her existence. I cannot go through the scene without becoming emotional at the reality of what some people must go through. Many in their old age are discarded and forgotten; made to leave their homes or to live as vagabonds in their children’s homes—sometimes treated as a mere nuisance or obligation. When the better choice is not to exist at all so that one is not a burden to anyone else, that is extremely sad.
She is a dream interviewee for she candid and very forthcoming and didn’t hold anything back.
Here’s a little background on Becca Godinez:
Becca Godinez is a seasoned singer, songwriter, director and actress. Her career has taken her through numerous musical avenues, from country to musical theatre and everything else in between. She was a student of classical voice, where she competed and won for her college its first classical voice trophy. Believing in her gifts, she was given the lead role in the operetta, “The Telephone” by Gian Carlo Menotti, where she sang the difficult lines of the sole female soprano, Lucy. Simultaneously, she was a student of vocal jazz, scatting and enjoying the less traditional and less rigid boundaries of that genre, and for a season, she was a member of a vocal jazz ensemble that toured Northern California. Years later, she performed as front act to jazz musicians, Tom Scott, Richard Tee, Carlos Rios and Steve Gadd.
Becca spent a good amount of time on the legitimate stage, where she performed in straight plays and in musical theatre. She was a member of Repertory Philippines where she portrayed numerous roles which included Tuptim in The King and I, Hodel in Fiddler on the Roof, and in a CA production of West Side Story where she played Anita. An Orange County newspaper’s review stated… “In her role of Anita, she displayed a deep understanding of the role and gave it a passionate interpretation, which outshone Rita Moreno’s interpretation …of “West Side.” When she came to her big song “A Boy Like That,” she gave it tragic and heart-wringing overtones …”
Becca was cast as the lead in “Flipzoids” a dramedy in Los Angeles for which she gained rave reviews. She auditioned for the role not knowing how she would do since it had been 30 years since her last with Repertory Philippines. Five months after that audition, she received a call to say that she landed the lead and went on to perform the role of Aying, a 72-year old woman of amazing substance. She was onstage at the Los Angeles Theatre Center during the entire month of October in 2012. The bug bit and it bit hard. “I didn’t think that I would ever return to the theatre”, she said. Today, as a result of that 2012 experience onstage, Becca is wearing a new hat – that of theatrical producer.
On July 17, 18 and 19th, Becca will be producing in Manila, the play, “Flipzoids” at the Music Museum in Greenhills. She is bringing to the stage the original actors and the director from the Los Angeles production. Asked why she chose this as her first project, she said that the award-winning play, written by a FilAm, Ralph B. Pena – is a great story that needs to be seen and experienced by all Filipinos. This is a laugh out loud, cry in pain, know our culture kind of experience and she is honored to produce it. It is her hope that many will come to delight in the experience and enjoy the production.
Becca recognizes that God is the source of all blessings – and she finds true peace in giving back to God what He so bountifully gives to her. Wherever the journey takes her, she is grateful for everything that she has been able to give and to receive. Onward the journey goes.