Gantimpala Theater Foundation is now on its 37th year. But as of this early, the Chairman of GTF (Gantimpala Theater Foundation) – in person of director Jun Pablo is already preparing for its 4oth year as a wholesome and legitimate theater group.
“Paghahandaan ko talaga ang 40th year namin“, direk Jun said to a blogger. “We want to continue on the late Tony Espejo’s (former Artistic Director of GTF) legacy. As for me, I am more into the sets, the technical aspects and the management of GTF. There is Joel Lamangan, our present Artistic Director who’s really into our artistic excellence and achievements.”
Direk Jun Pablo also witnessed the “life” of the play Kanser (Noli Me Tangere), one of the longest-running plays in the history of GTF.
“For fifteen years, I handled it in the past”, direk Jun said again. “It’s now on its coming 35 years of existence. It was first staged in 1980 at the Bulwagang Gantimpala of Cultural Center of the Philippines, and next year, on its 35th year, we’re thinking of making Kanser a musical play this time.”
How did he come-up with that idea? A blogger asked anew.
“Actually, it happened when me and the writer of the play, Jomar Fleras, were both sitted together watching the play last year”, director Jun answered. “And I suddenly said to Jomar that two years from now, Kanser is going to be on its 35th year. And Jomar suggested that why not turn it into a musical on its 35th year? I at once liked his idea and I said, why not?
“So now, Jomar is writing a new version of Kanser based on his own classic material”, Jun further stressed. “He’ll turn it into a libretto. I am so excited. He will finish writing it by December. And by early next year, we’ll all start rehearsing already.
“We’re thinking of Jessie Lucas to be our musical director. I just hope he says yes.”
And direk Jun stressed again that the performers who will be among the cast on the musical version of Kanser will definitely be doing “live singing”. Not just “lip sync”.
“We cannot cheat our audience”, Jun assured. “If we cheat them, we cheat ourselves.”
And director Jun suddenly recalled the very first performance of Kanser at the Bulwagang Gantimpala of CCP:
“There was already musicality in it, the very first time it was staged”, he said. “Remember Ariosto Reyes? That handsome theater actor-student from U.P. during the ’80’s? Yes, he sang a couple of songs in the play, orchestrated by a violin and a flute. It was so wonderful then. Young people who saw its first performance were so enthralled and Ariosto was so perfect as Crisostomo Ibarra.”
Last question to director Jun, what can he say about director Franniel Zamora, who’s the current director of Kanser?
“Direk Franniel has outdone himself this time”, came Jun’s final answer. “He is very visual in his attack. He is so good.”
And with that, the Chairman of GTF continued to dream. His vision for Gantimpala Theater Foundation would make him live, forevermore.
(words by robert manuguid silverio)