another q & a with director franniel zamora…


director franniel zamora: true fighter for performing arts
director franniel zamora: true fighter for performing arts

Over a big mug of a tasteful coffee at Coffee Bean in Greenhills, Promenade, a blogger had a pleasant interview session with one of Gantimpala Theater Foundation’s resident directors, direk Franniel Zamora. It happened an hour before Michael Pangilinan’s Pre-Valentine concert last February 12 at Teatrino, just a few steps away from Coffee Bean.

Franniel looked good that evening, though seemingly had a busy day, he was nice and efficient in answering questions from a blogger. Even though it was an urgent interview.

This former College of Music major in Voice undergraduate from the University of the Philippines and a tireless fighter in the world of performing arts for many years now, didn’t show much ‘air’ as a man of artistry. He’s so casual, carefree and friendly. That’s what a blogger surely looks for an interviewee. You’d feel relax to be with him.

It’s the second time that happened. Director Franniel showed to a blogger that he’s indeed worthy to be a friend. And now that he’s starting do the pre-production stages of the upcoming full-length musical version of Kanser by Gantimpala Theater Foundation, a blogger was more than willing to support him and the play.

Below is the Q & A (Question & Answer):

 

last year's cast of "kanser"
last year’s cast of “kanser”

SSSIP: Direk Fran, can you say that this musical version of Kanser that you’re going to direct is your most challenging work so far?

FRANNIEL: Not really. I can say that my most challenging was ‘yung version ng Kanser na ginawa ko nu’ng 1993. Kasi, ang venue nu’n ay sa Cultural Center of the Philippines’  main theater- sa Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo. At ang cast ko du’n sa version na yun ng Kanser ay sina Teroy Guzman (a U.P. actor) as Ibarra, Cherry Pie Picache as Maria Clara, Pen Medina as Elias, Ray Ventura as Tasyo at si Arnold Reyes na bagets na bagets pa nuon. Pinakanta ko pa ru’n si Arnold ng tatlong kanta. It’s my most challenging so far kasi nga, CCP ang venue…. Pero dito naman ngayon sa gagawin kong new version ng Kanser, I can say that this is my first, my very first full-length musical version ng Kanser. Iyan ang kaibahan. Walang dialogues dito, lahat ay kantahan. Puro music. At ang casting ko dito sa latest version, puro mabibigat talaga. This play will open on August 28 at the AFP theater and it will run all-throughout the year. Magkakaron din ito ng performances sa The Theater ng Solaire Resorts. And many performances out-of-town like Laguna, Nueva Ecija, Batangas, etcetera.  It will have a heavy cast of 50 people, including the chorus.

 

direk fran: casual and natural as an artist
direk fran: casual and natural as an artist

SSSIP: How different is this new version of Kanser?

FRANNIEL: This is a totally new version talaga of Kanser. Ibang look at ibang appearance. Pero ‘yung content ay pareho. It’s because ang sumulat ng libretto nitong full-length musical na ito ay si Jomar Fleras, the same writer na gumawa ng original play ng Kanser

And by the way, dito sa cast of 50 namin, we will be having alternates for Crisostomo Ibarra and Maria Clara. Ang mga iyon ang hahanapin ko sa darating naming invitational auditions at open auditions sa February 23 and 24, sa AFP Theater ng Camp Aguinaldo.

Bago ko makalimutan, Robert, Jed Balsamo is the composer of all the songs and music included in this play, while si Paul Morales naman ang aming choreographer, he came from Ballet Philippines. Of course, si direk Jun Pablo naman ang aming over-all Chairman head sa Gantimpala Theater Foundation.

 

SSSIP: So, this full-length musical version of Kanser is indeed a celebration of life? Of existence?

FRANNIEL: Yes, Robert. It is, indeed. Imagine, 35 years na ngayon ang Kanser! It’s been watched and seen by millions of young Filipinos and students all throughout the years! It began in 1980, at mapalad ako na isa ako sa mga nakapag-direk nito, until now. 

You see, directing a classic play like this is very challenging. It’s also a fulfilling effort on my part. Kaya dito sa new full-length musical version na ito ng Kanser, one year ang naging preparation namin. Kumbaga, lahat ay naka-story board na. By the scene, by the numbers, by the blockings. Kaya execution na lang ang gagawin ko. Depende na lang sa kung anong kalalabasan kapag iniarte na ng mga actors, pero kung ano’ng gusto kong attack pa rin ang masusunod kasi ako naman ang direktor nito. 

 

direk fran with ms. nora aunor
direk fran with ms. nora aunor

SSSIP: How would you define this play then?

FRANNIEL: I can say that this play is Pop Classical kind of play. In terms of genre and songs, iyon ang definition niya. Ayoko naman kasing maging pure classical lang kami dahil ang target audience and market namin sa play na ito ay mga kabataan at estudyante. Ayokong ma-bored sila sa panonood. Kaya medyo contemporary ang approach ng music and textures ng play, para maka-relate naman ang mga kabataan ng henerasyong ito. 

Ang Kanser kasi ang play na hindi mamatay-matay. Yearly ay itinatanghal ito. Dahil sa play na ito ipinakita ang mga itinuro sa atin ni Dr. Jose Rizal. Iisa lang naman ang mensahe ni Dr. Rizal sa play na ito: Na huwag kang maging mangmang. Na bilang isang kabataan, mag-aral ka at magpunyagi. And that is an everlasting message for everyone.

 

franniel6

SSSIP: At ngayon ako higit na naniniwala, direk Franniel, na ang Gantimpala Theater Foundation ay isang tunay na makabuluhang theater group!

FRANNIEL: Salamat naman, Robert. Salamat sa pagsuporta mo sa amin at sa mundo ng sining. You see, Gantimpala is a self-sufficient theater group. Hindi kami puwedeng malugi sa isang performance namin, or else, hindi namin masusundan ng isa pang performance. Salamat naman at naitatawid namin palagi. Wala kaming natatanggap na subsidy mula sa gobyerno. We simply rely on ticket sales. Hindi rin kami mahilig sa mga sponsors at ads kasi iba naman ang pinaglalaban namin. Bahala na lang sila kung gusto nila kaming tulungan.

And for me, Robert, directing a play is simply a passion for me. Kay liit ng kinikita ko dito, di hamak na mas malaki ang kinikita ko sa mga corporate events na ginagawa ko. Iyon ang nagsu-sustain sa akin at pinang-aabono ko sa mga oras na inuukol ko sa pagdidirek ng isang dula. But no complaints, Robert. I am so happy with what I do. That’s the true artist in me.

 

SSSIP: Need I say more?

 

At ngumiti na lang si direk Franniel. Alam na niya siguro ang ibig naming ipadama.

 

(end of interview)*

franniel7

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