You could easily recognize and feel a true artist when you see one. With the way he moved, the way he smiled and the way he looked at you. There’s something deeper, you see. The way he answered your questions, and the way he looked and felt about life- with his totally different points of view and all, you would know, he’s real and genuine. It’s like water being mixed with your vodka drink, or a cherry being put atop your favorite French wine in a champagne glass. Indeed, a writer would feel the “awe”.
That was the day we met French-looking stage actor (or is he really a French guy mixed with Pinoy genes? We forgot to ask him) in person of Francis Matheu, who’d be portraying the role of Elias in this year’s updated version of Gantimpala Theater Foundation’s longest-running play- Kanser.
“I just lost my dad with that dreaded disease called cancer”, Francis first spoke to a blogger during a ten-minute break on their first day of rehearsal for the play. “That’s why I could very well relate with this play. The title itself, mostly. Kanser. Because just like cancer, you won’t know that the disease was spreading already. People won’t know, you won’t know. It’s really a deep-rooted problem- the same way that our play’s message implied. Kanser is a sickness that could be attributed to a nation, in a society with many deep-rooted problems.
“You won’t see the real problem not unless the disease was already on its worst stage”, Francis continued on. “And you must continue to fight to get it healed.”
As Elias in the play Kanser, Francis thought of delivering the character in cerebral way. It’s a deep attack using the brain. That’s what one blogger thought when Francis said that.
“Elias goes to Ibarra because he’s also being sent by higher people”, Francis said. “He does not go to meet him for his own personal intentions alone. Though, it’s only implied in the story created by Dr. Jose Rizal. Elias represents the Filipino people who simply wanted freedom at that time, and they consult Ibarra because they knew he could help him.”
And Francis would also like to prepare himself physically for the role. It would be better if he’d be a little darker as Elias, and that would be easily done because Francis said, he’s ready now to have a “sun tan” for his skin before the play would start its performances for the month of September.
In case you don’t know, Francis owns his own theater company, together with his twin brother- Joseph. It’s called Twin Bill theater company. He agreed to be among the cast of Kanser and be a guest artist for Gantimpala Theater Foundation because he’d love to work with other theater companies also and further enjoy the beauty and awe of performing. And of course, he couldn’t say ‘no’ to director Frannie G. Zamora.
“It’s an honor for me to be directed by Mr. Frannie Zamora who’s very much recognized and respected in the theater scene”, Francis added saying. “It would further open-up my sensibilities and harness my love for fellow colleagues in the theater profession. I would want to capture and grasp all the new things I would learn from this experience of working with the Gantimpala people. I would further embrace it and apply it in my future works at Twin Bill theater of ours. This is such a great privilege and I’m so thankful that director Frannie got me in.”
Young and handsome as he is, fresh and hopeful, passionate and idealistic- Francis would soon create more wonders in the arts of theater. And this is just one step HIGHER.
(WORDS BY ROBERT MANUGUID SILVERIO)