You showed to me the wonder of feelings, and the joys of high places, the zenith of human existence.
You healed me physically so many times.
You guided me.
And showed me the wonder of FRIENDSHIP.
But the most important thing of all,
you gave me “FRIENDS”.
YOU ARE MY ANGEL, AND YOU ARE MY FRIEND.
I LOVE YOU.
SEE YOU BACK SOON…
AND WE’LL BE TOGETHER AGAIN-
(as the words were written, in robert manuguid silverio’s “book of love”, with the expectations of having his 66 friends that included him- together again in an infinite and separate dimension of time… and heaven. UNTIL FOREVER).*
DIRECTOR’S NOTES: FRANNIEL ZAMORA
(AS WRITTEN BY MR. JOSELITO ‘TOOTS’ TOLENTINO)
ARTISTS AND ACTORS, IN PARTICULAR, TYPICALLY TALK ABOUT THAT LIFE-CHANGING REVELATION WHERE THEY DISCOVER, “THIS IS WHAT I NEED TO DO.” DID YOU EVER HAVE THAT EPIPHANY?
Everything came out natural to me. In my 3rd grade, i already volunteered to choreograph and direct a dance number for the school presentation. At the age of 17, i already directed a fundraising concert of the church choir which was presented at the metropolitan theater.
I always have this passion for organizing and putting things together. It’s like putting together a puzzle to create the big picture.
Q: AS A YOUNG GENTLEMAN DRAWN IN A PREVIOUS CAREER PATH BACK IN YOUR 20’s, WHAT IS IT THAT EVENTUALLY PULLED YOU INTO THE PRACTICE AND INDUSTRY OF FASHION AND NOW, MUSICAL THEATER ?
A: i am a theatre artist and a bread winner, so i needed to find a job that will support my family. My being involved with fashion was meant for regular income. But i never really left the industry that i wanted to be part of. I designed costumes for theater plays, suits and gowns for friends in showbiz and outfits for live entertainment.
Q: WHAT IS IT ABOUT THE THEATRE THAT YOU LOVE MOST?
A: everything. Like what i have said, it’s the creating and putting together process that really keeps me loving what i do.
Q: WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON ‘KANSER@35 AS A MUSICAL THEATRE PIECE TODAY?
COULD YOU TELL US WHAT MAKES THIS MUSICAL SO SPECIAL ?
A: i always believed in the works of jose rizal. And i, as an artist, believe that i have the responsibility to educate the audience, most specially the young ones, of this masterpiece of our national hero. We need to do something to post awareness and promote our culture and heritage to the new generation.
The collaborative geniuses that work behind this production really make it special–the creative/artistic and production staff and the cast.
Q: IN DIRECTING ‘KANSER@35, WILL YOU BE ADDING OR SUBTRACTING A NEW TWIST TO THE MATERIAL WHICH WAS ORIGINALLY A STRAIGHT PLAY ? IF SO, WHAT IS IT LIKE TO BE INVOLVED WITH SUCH A UNIQUELY DIFFERENT AND UPDATED PRESENTATION OF THIS NEW MUSICAL ?
A: i already did the subtracting and adding (with the permission of the writer) when i first directed kanser in 1992 and was staged in ccp maintheater. But the updated version which is 98% singing, adds more spice and drama and excitement to each scene. The blending of the music, choreography, voices and portrayal of the actors— something to watch out for.
Q: HOW DID YOU PREPARE YOURSELF FOR ‘KANSER@35 AS A DIRECTOR ? AND HOW DID YOU PREPARE THE CAST FOR THEIR RESPECTIVE ROLES ?
A:i reviewed my notes. Read my noli book again. I watched several plays. Contemplated on what i really want to bringforth in this musical staging. And stumbled on 3 vital elements—the brain, the heart, and the courage.
We conducted a week long workshop for the actors that tackled voice, dance and acting. I let them read and research.
Q: DO YOU BELIEVE IN ‘ENSEMBLE ACTING’ — DOES IT TAKE A MORE CHALLENGING TWIST IN YOUR DIRECTORIAL CHORES WHEN THIS SCHOOL OF ACTING IS APPLIED ?
A: yes. It is more challenging to put together an ensemble on the same energy and performance. It is double work because you have to deal with each and every actor to serve and work for a unified performance.
Q: WHAT WILL MAKE A SHOW LIKE ‘KANSER@35 SO VASTLY DIFFERENT THAN THE OTHER SHOWS THAT ARE BEING PRODUCED BY OTHER THEATRE COMPANIES ?
A: it is an original filipino material. It is the longest running filipino play. It has reached over a million viewers. And that what makes it different and challenging. I can’t imagine myself directing an english play. Don’t get me wrong, i love, watch and support foreign and english play but a big part of my being a theater actor would mean promoting filipino plays.
Q: RECENTLY A LOT HAS BEEN SAID ABOUT THE CURRENT STATE OF THE MUSICAL THEATRE SCENE: THE ONSLAUGHT OF NEW THEATER COMPANIES, THE STRUGGLING ECONOMY AND TICKET PRICES, THE NEW GENERATION OF THEATER AUDIENCES, AND MORE. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE CURRENT STATE OF THE MUSICAL THEATER INDUSTRY HERE IN OUR COUNTRY ?
A: theater is always on the struggle, moreso, theater companies that produce original filipino plays and musicals. It is dissappointing that our government and other private sectors neither support nor patronize the works of our fellow filipino artists.
But! Surprisingly, they watch and mind you, buy tickets if the play is from broadway. I am wishing that our local plays receive such support from fellow filipinos.
Q: IF YOU WERE TO WRITE AND DIRECT A NEW FILIPINO MUSICAL, WHAT WOULD BE THAT DREAM PROJECT AND WHY ?
A: i want to create a musical that will highlight the real hero behind our national hero— “paciano”, the brother of jose rizal. It is written that paciano made most of the sacrifices for rizal. I believe that it will be a very interesting revelation in our history. After all, in very success that a person achieve is an unsung hero.
GANTIMPALA THEATER FOUNDATION INC. ALL SET TO OPEN “KANSER@35 THE MUSICAL” ON AUGUST 28
In line with its 38th Season, Gantimpala Theater Foundation Inc. proudly presents “KANSER@35 THE MUSICAL” based from the novel Noli Me Tangere by Dr. Jose Rizal with libretto written by Jomar Fleras, music by Jed Balsamo, and choreography by Paul Alexander Morales under the direction of Franniel Zamora.
Today, KANSER is the longest running play in Philippine theater history and to mark its 35th year, “KANSER@35” will be presented for the first time as a full length musical theater production beginning August 28, 2015 at the AFP Theater, Camp Aguinaldo Q.C.
Noli Me Tangere is Dr. Jose Rizal’s expose of corrupt friars from who have made the Catholic religion as instrument for enriching and perpetuating themselves in power by seeking to mire ignorant Filipinos in fanaticism and superstition. Instead of teaching Filipinos true Christianity, according to Rizal; they control the government by opposing all progress and persecuting members of the ilustrados unless they make themselves their servile flatterers. The novel lampooned, caricatured and exposed various elements in the colonial society.
Over the years, this work of fiction have had many incarnations and considered, as one of its most important versions is KANSER, which Gantimpala Theater Foundation Inc. produced back in 1979.
In “Kanser (Noli Me Tangere),” Crisostomo Ibarra returns home after his European studies and rekindles his romance with childhood sweetheart Maria Clara. His return triggers an old rift with the town friar, Padre Damaso. As the play progresses, Ibarra realizes that the malady of oppression and colonial brutality has been killing not only his town, but his motherland as well.
Palanca award-winning playwright Jomar Fleras noted that “Back in 2005, when KANSER celebrated its 25th year, director Franniel Zamora and I casually dreamt of turning this play into a musical when its turns 35. It was really a whimsical dream, knowing that making a musical is not only ambitious but expensive. So when Franny reminded me last year that Kanser was already turning 35 and he wanted to “cash in” on my “promise,” I just dropped everything and started working on the libretto for about 3 weeks.”
“ When I wrote the libretto, I wanted to make it as close to the straight play as possible. However, we also added new scenes and new perspectives which serve to make the audience understand better the soul and message of Rizal’s Noli Me Tangere. There is also a grandness in the design which the straight play did not have. The original script was written for chamber theater so there is a sea of difference from the concept to the musical.”
“ And from my libretto and the newly composed music by Jed Balsamo, the actual pre-production took several stages. After the rigorous auditions held last February, the cast for KANSER@35 is relatively young and a lot of them were not even born during the first stagings of Kanser. It was an imperative that the cast should know what this novel is all about through a lot of reading sessions with the objective that we want them to perform in a serious musical and not a concert. We also gave an overview regarding the evolution of Kanser and how they were produced by Gantimpala Foundation through the years. And most importantly, we also tackled the nuances of the different characters of the novel. And how to immerse into the role they were to portray,” Fleras added.
There had been other Noli musicals and plays but most of them delved on the love story between Ibarra and Maria Clara. “Kanser@35 will reiterate its focus on the discourse between reform and revolution. The vision of “Kanser@35” from the very start is that it should be able to show parallelisms between the social realities of Rizal’s era with that of the present.
Portraying the lead roles of Kanser@35 are Michael Pangilinan and Jacob Benedicto (Crisostomo Ibarra), Myramae Meneses (Maria Clara), Bodjie Pascua (Pilosopong Tasyo), Vien Alen King (Elias,) Kate Alejandrino and Michaela Fajardo (Sisa), Carlo Angelo Falcis (Padre Damaso), Carlo Mañalac (Padre Salvi), William Serrano (KapitanTiago), Queen Mia (Dona Victorina), Meldea Flor Chua (Consolacion).
The supporting cast include Albert Daniel Silos (Basilio), Angelo Gabriel Ilustre (Crispin), Joey de Guzman (Tiburcio), and Norman Peñaflorida (Alperes).
The ensemble is composed of Glenda Liao (Sinang), Roxy Aldiosa (Tia Isabel), Jobeth Rozul, Iona Ventocilla (Maria Clara, understudy) Ma. Victoria Mina, Princess Perez, Francis Cruz III, Dusty Suarez (Lucas), Angelo Moratilla, Jonel Velado (Bruno), Jovito Bonita, Michael Galang, Roby Malubay (Tinyente Guevarra) Michael Jullian Musa and Syd Calam (Padre Salvi, understudy).
The artistic team of Kanser@35 are Jomar Fleras (Playwright/Librettist), Franniel Zamora (Director), Gean Allain de Leon (Associate Director), Joed Balsamo (Composer/Musical Director), Paul Alexander Morales (Choreographer), Joseph Matheu (Lighting Director), Rards Corpus (Sound Engineer), Albert Figueras (Costume Designer), Joseph the Artist (Sand Art Visuals) and Sonny Anecito (Set and Graphic Designer).
The production team is composed of Charyl de Guzman (Production Manager), Roselle Buenaventura (Stage Manager), April Anne Dolot (Assistant Production Manager), Romer Gumban (Deputy Stage Manager) Kielvin Recaido, Christian Lilagan and Riant Hernandez (Assistant Stage Managers), Neil Geronimo (Audio Spinner), Jovs Bonita (Dance Master), Vangie Inocencio (Wardrobe Mistress), Nonoy Ambriosio (Set-up Master), Diane Obado (Assistant LD/Boardman), Toots Tolentino (Publicist), Gean Allain de Leon (Social Media Manager), Jojit Lorenzo (Photography / Press Release), Amiel Kabigting, Rice Ramos (Photography /Collateral Materials), Patrick Layugan, Paulo Layugan, Jonille Dayal, Shax Siasoco (Videography).
Gantimpala Theater Foundation brings you “KANSER@35 The Musical”
The play will start running on:
– August 28, 29, 2015 at AFP Theater 9AM / 12PM / 3PM – September 4, 2015 at Star Theater 9AM / 12PM / 3PM – September 11, 12, 2015 at SM Southmall 11AM / 2PM – September 17, 2015 at Malolos, Bulacan 10AM / 2PM – October 10, 2015 at Baliuag, Bulacan 10AM / 2PM
For Ticket reservation / Show bookings, you may call Gantimpala Theater Marketing at 998-5622 and 872-0261. See you at the Theater!
Connect to KANSER@35 online through the following social media networks:
Facebook: www.facebook.com/gantimpala Twitter: @gantimpalatf Instagram: @gantimpalatf
As he delivered the lines of the song he was singing, a blogger felt “awed”.
Very much just like the character he was portraying in a new musical theater production of Gantimpala Theater Foundation…
Very cool voice, precise, magnetic.
A great transformation from a matinee image to a first-class theater performer…
from RNB, to pop… now to classical style.
Indeed, he SHINES.
HIS NAME: MICHAEL PANGILINAN.
During the recently-concluded press launch of Gantimpala Theater Foundation’s musical revival this time of the longest-running theater production “KANSER”, a teaser was shown to a selected group of media bloggers and press people. And in a couple of musical numbers, Michael Pangilinan’s presence was very much felt. He shone so bright. His magnetic attack on delivering classical songs from his very first musical play was surely incredible.