Pang-limang dula pa lamang kung tutuusin ni KL Dizon ang bagong mild musical na KANSER sa taong ito. Pero ang ‘aura’ niya bilang isang aktres sa teatro ay damang-dama mo maski nasa malayo ka. Pang-bida ang dating ng personalidad niya, pang-‘leading lady’, ika nga. Kaya hindi naman nakapagtataka, kung siya man ang napili ni direk Frannie Zamora na gampanan ang role na Maria Clara para sa bagong bersyon na ito ng KANSER.
Maganda naman ang credentials ng acting experiences ni KL. Mga hindi basta-bastang mga stage musical productions na ang mga nilabasan niya.
“Ang una ko pong ginawang dula ay ang Bagong Harana ng Philippine Opera Company”, bungad na wika ni KL. “Pero ang first musical play ko po ay ang Manhid, at ako po si Urduja, Ang Diwata Ng Gabi sa musical play na iyon, na sinundan ng The Pinoy Super Hero Musical. May ginawa rin po ako sa Ballet Philippines. Kalimitan po’y support lead lamang ako doon sa mga bida.”
At ngayon, dumating na ang pinakamalaking hamon para kay KL. Ito ngang Maria Clara role niya. Bale unang pagkakataon din niya itong makalabas sa Gantimpala Theater Foundation.
“Last year po kasi, I also auditioned for the role”, kuwento ni KL. “I was supposed to be the alternate for Ms. Myra Mae Menesses as Maria Clara. Pero nagkaroon po ng conflict at hindi natuloy. And this year, they approched me to play the part. Natuloy din finally ako as Maria Clara.”
Para kay KL, napakahalaga ng papel ni Maria Clara sa nabanggit na dula.
“Siya po kasi ang representation ng Pilipinas, ang Inang Bayan”, wika ni KL. “Siya ‘yung babaeng medyo helpless, pero may gustong ipaglaban. Simbolo rin po siya ng isang tunay na babaeng Pilipina, na may self-respect at pride sa sarili nila. And to be honest po, hindi ko pa nagagampanan ang ganyang klase ng karakter o papel. It’s a big challenge for me.”
Inaamin ni KL na siya ay isang mang-aawit sa tunay na diwa at kahulugan nito.
“Singing is my first love po talaga and I am basically a singer”, sabi ni KL. “Kaya nga po naengganyo ako last year na mag-audition sa Kanser ay dahil full-blown musical ang Kanser last year. Doon ko unang nakilala ng mga taga-Gantimpala. Although this year, kakanta rin ako sa dulang ito dahil mild musical ang version ng Kanser this year.”
Ang gustong ma-accomplish ni KL ay kung paano siya makikipag-bagayan o makikipag-kemistri sa cast.
“Importante po kasi ang kemistri mo with your fellow performers”, sey ulit niya. “But I know, with director Frannie Zamora, magkakaroon ng justice at buhay si Maria Clara. It’s my first time also to work with direk Frannie kaya excited talaga ako”.
Let’s all make way for Ms. KL Dizon, ang bagong Maria Clara ng KANSER.
It was a rainy morning but the sky was clear. And somehow, the rains gave one lonely writer a feeling of comfort, though, he never knew why. He felt competitive, wanting to challenge the rain and erase all those feelings of losses and pains. Or maybe, he simply wanted to start anew.
The heavy traffic that morning didn’t become a hindrance, either. The comfort he felt with the rain made him feel relaxed and tranquil- not the ‘panicky-type-of-feeling’ he had always felt in the past. He was on his way that day to meet a celebrity friend that would accompany him to the rehearsals of Gantimpala Theater Foundation’s upcoming new mild musical version of the longest-running play-KANSER.
The celebrity friend was no less than award-winning theater director Frannie Zamora, who was also so generous enough to treat him at a luxurious Korean-Japanese restaurant near the Broadway Centrum, complex area. The lunch was fabulous with laksa noodles, fresh vegetable lumpias, and more. Afterwards, they both proceeded to the venue of the rehearsals at the AFP theater.
Braving the very heavy traffic in that 12-noon time of day, the lonely writer felt redeemed upon reaching the rehearsal venue, and this time, newcomer Jansen Aguilar joined them as they met upon him at the gates of the AFP camp. At once, the tranquil feeling was transformed into something more professional this time, and no longer personal. Seeing those theater actors and actresses inside the rehearsal venue, all ready to get their works done, and the production staff/team so well-organized with their job system, nothing else would have mattered.
We saw all the names of the complete cast of the play written on a computerized paper and we copied all the names in our notes. Everything was written in paper, even the by-rules of the house theater group, the play’s scripts, and other detailed materials including the songs. With that, lesser tensions and pressures was eased by now.
All the performers were now holding their scripts, ready for the script-reading sessions and lines to be spoken by each. What a great feeling. Seeing all these creative artists in front of you, reading their lines and all, and further more reuniting with their hidden passions on the performing arts, it was, indeed, a good day to linger in.
As the words were spoken, the real “soul” emerged. It was, maybe, the soul of Dr. Jose Rizal himself- the creator of the book Noli Me Tangere as to which the play Kanser was adapted upon- so efficiently and truthfully. In those words spoken by the lines in the play by each of the cast, Dr. Rizal’s teachings and messages was again felt by the lonely writer. Words that spoke of freedom, of unity, of bravery.
And those words, yes, those words- were the very words that made one country rose up from the ashes and emerged as one independent nation that the Filipino youths of today were enjoying. Once again, we believed- that- “THE PEN IS MIGHTIER THAN THE SWORD”.
Through those words on the play’s script, we could imagine how beautiful this new mild musical version of KANSER is going to be. That the students and that the youths must know and watch anew. Relieve their own Filipino values and PRIDE.
For many years now, Gantimpala Theater Foundation had fought. They fought to preserve this “jewel” of a literary creation that a hero had written, that a genius had died for, that a co-Filipino had sacrificed for. Through the power of the performing arts, the ‘soul’ and the passion must be relieved over and over again- for the young to know and continue on with the LEGACY.
“Without any major sponsors backing us up, we continued fighting for our theater group to survive”, director Frannie Zamora said to the lonely writer before that writer left the venue of the rehearsals. “Sometimes, we felt like quitting. But once you see the students watching our plays and through their faces we saw anew the hope and true identity of us Filipinos, our energiescontinue to zest up. This year’s version of KANSER, I promise, is going to be a very beautiful one.”
The lonely writer moved on, as he left. He went down by the marble stairs of the theater’s facade and walked past the AFP camp. The rains had stopped somehow, but the skies were clearer.
On a clear day, you could see EVERYTHING.
And among the people who goes on living not just because of money or any material gains were the people who works for theater. It’s a mission that God never fails to see-
(as the words were written by robert manuguid silverio, on a moment when separate dimensions somehow fixed-in and stood still-amidst the ever-changing tides of ETERNITY).*
(Photos below by Mr. Lagrimas, taken during the first day of rehearsal of the play “KANSER”, that would be seen on the month of September).
THE PERFORMERS ON THE PHOTOS: Carlo Manalac, KL Dizon, Francis Matheu, Dea Formacil Chua, Roeder Camanag, Jansen Aguilar, Ma. Victoria Mina, Abigail Asuncion, Joey de Guzaman, Jovito Bonita, Albert Solis, Angela Ilustre, Angelo Miravilla, Norman Penaflorinda, Vangie Inocencio, Greg Porcula, Francis Cruz, Edwin Domino, Khryz David, VJ Estajero, jennifer Tolentino, Sherwin Dajay, Carlo Erpelo …. and, Mr. Frannie G. Zamora with Charyl Chan de Guzman.
Dinatnan namin ang napakabait na talent ng Elites Model Management International na si Jansen Aguilar na abalang-abala sa kanyang voice workshop sa world-famous classical singer na si Ms. Camille Lopez Molina. Napansin pa namin, talagang napaka-seryoso nu’ng bata na matuto at every detail nung tinuturo sa kanya ni Mrs. Molina ay sineseryoso niya. Kaya naman, hangang-hanga kami sa batang ito.
“Two days na po akong nagbo-voice lessons dito, tito Robert”, wika ni Jansen nang upuan niya kami for an interview. “And so far po, improving na ako talaga. Ang dami ko agad natutunan, ang galing kasi at hindi basta-basta ang nagtuturo sa amin- in person of the world-renowned classical singer na si Ms. Camille Lopez Molina. Wow, I really learned a lot and I enjoyed this experience so much.
“You know what, tito Robert, dati-rati po, ang akala ko ay ‘tone-deaf’ ako”, pagpapatuloy na sabi ni Jansen. “It’s only now that I realized na hindi pala ako ‘tone-deaf’. Dahil sa pagtuturo ni Ms. Camille, na-appreciate ko na ng mas higit at nadi-distinguish ko na ng mas klaro ang mga tono ngayon. Hindi naman pala talaga ako ‘tone-deaf’. Iba talaga kapag magaling ang nagturo sa iyo!”
Narinig pa naming kumanta si Jansen that afternoon. Wow, may tinatago palang talento sa pagkanta talaga itong si Jansen (sey mo, Camille Ann Elauria?) na puwedeng ipagmalaki sa lahat.
“At ngayon ko lang din na-discover na mataas pala ang range ng voice ko”, anya pa. “Kaya ko palang kantahin maski matataas na tono. At least, may mga bago po akong natutunan ngayon sa sarili ko na hindi ko alam na meron pala ako.”
At dinagdag pa ni Jansen na he’s looking forward sa mga bago pa niyang matutunan as days pass by. Bukas, August 9, ay first rehearsal day na niya para sa dulang KANSER ng Gantinpala Theater Foundation. Dito na niya mami-meet ang lahat ng cast and production staff na makakasama niya sa longest-running play na ito in the history of Philippine Theater. Kaya naman excited na talaga si Jansen.
“Napaka-babait po nilang lahat at very approaching sa akin”, wika pang muli ni Jansen nu’ng tanungin namin siya ukol sa pakikisalamuha sa kanya ng mga artistiko at genuine na tao sa Gantimpala. “Napaka-down to earth po nila sa akin kaya hindi po ako nahirapang makisama sa kanila. Mami-meet ko pa ang iba at ang lahat sa first day of rehearsals po namin sa Agosto 9. Parang ang sarap makipag-bonding sa kanila.”
At OO. Si Jansen Aguilar nga ang bagong Padre Salvi ng dulang KANSER. Ang papel na iyon ay mahirap, mapang-hamon, puno ng misteryo. Maski nga si Carlo Manalac (ang gumanap na Padre Salvi last year at gaganap namang Crisostomo Ibarra this year) ay nag-confide sa blogger na ito na nahirapan siyang gampanan ang role na iyon dahil “hidden” ang mga motibasyon at tunay na intensyon nung karakter sa dula. Pero para kay Jansen, ito ay isang hamon na kanyang lalampasan.
“Kakayanin ko po at kampante naman po ako na may ibubuga na ako ngayon sa acting”, pagtatapos na wika ni Jansen. “Malaki kasi ang natutunan ko sa acting workshop ko sa iyo, tito Robert. Pagkatapos nun, nag-acting workshop din ako sa PETA. Kaya kampante na po ako na magagampanan ko ang role. Maski sa boses ko, hindi biro ang gagawin ko. Panay na ang aral ko ngayon sa mga kantang kakantahin ko sa dula.”
Isang modelo na ngayon ay isa nang AKTOR SA TEATRO. Siya si Jansen Aguilar, ang bagong Padre Salvi ng KANSER.
He started it out training as a classical music singer when he was still in his grade school. And four years after his high school education, he met Mrs. Camille Lopez Molina and Pablo Molina who became his mentors as being a classically-turned soloist/performer. The rest is history.
“For almost eight years, I also became a member of VIVA VOCE, a group of classically-trained singers”, Carlo Manalac started saying to a blogger. “It’s composed of students from University of the Philippines, St. Scholastica’s College, to name some- who are into classical music. We have performed in various concerts, schools and the likes. And so far, each of us members there are all doing good in our respective musical careers.”
Yes, his name, as mentioned above is Carlo Manalac. And he is the new Crisostomo Ibarra in the upcoming mild musical version of the play KANSER by Gantimpala Theater Foundation. Last year, he played the role of Padre Salvi in the said theatricalproduction, and by the merits of his good performance there, this year, direk Frannie Zamora personally chose him to play the lead part of Crisostomo Ibarra.
“I can say that I am very much excited at this time”, Carlo said. “But I know, once I read the revised script, I will start to feel nervous portraying the part. I am really looking forward to play the part to the best of my ability.”
Carlo’s very first play was at Dulaang U.P.’s version of Noli me Tangere. But last year was his very first full-blown musical play- and it was KANSER@35: THE MUSICAL by Gantimpala Theater Foundation (playing the part of Pardre Salvi). A lot of people noticed how good he was as Padre Salvi, His emotions came there at the right time portraying that character.
“As a clasical singer, we learned to know how to act”, Carlo said again. “It was a place for me to explore further my other talents. It helped me a lot playing with feelings. And that’s where acting came into the picture.”
Carlo knows by this time that director Frannie Zamora, together with Gean Alain de Leon (Frannie’s assistant director), will help him more into fully motivating the character of Crisostomo Ibarra.
“It’s Alain who helped me last year mold everything into pieces”, Carlo revealed. “Then, after the molding, direk Frannie would teach me all the needed details after. It was a good team-up between the two of them for helping us internalize more as stage performers.”
A younger, well-built and classically-trained singer this time portraying Crisostomo Ibarra would sound and look a lot better. So better get ready, Carlo as Ibarra would soon steal the show.
IN PREPARATION FOR THEIR UPCOMING THEATRICAL PRODUCTIONS, GANTIMPALA THEATER FOUNDATION WILL HOLD AN EXTENSIVE ACTING WORKSHOP FOR THEATER. MALAY NIU, KAPAG NAPANSIN NILA ANG GALING NINYO SA PAG-ARTE, GAWIN PA NILA KAYONG MGA BIDA SA MGA SUSUNOD NILANG PAGTATANGHAL! KAYA JOIN NA KAYO. TIGNAN NINYO NA LANG ANG MGA DETAILS NA NAKALAGAY SA POSTER SA ITAAS. MAKAKASAMA PA NINYO SA WORKSHOP ANG ILANG MGA SIKAT NA ARTISTA!!!
SAMANTALA, SA AUGUST 5 NA ANG UNANG ARAW NG PAGTATANGHAL NG KLASIKONG DULANG “FLORANTE AT LAURA” NA MULA SA DIREKSYON NI ROEDER CAMANAG. SI PAUL JAKE PAULE ANG GUMAGANAP NA FLORANTE AT SI ELLRICA LAGURADIA ANG LAURA.
Moving-on? Yes, sometimes it happens. But most of the times, day and night, in your dreams, the memories of the one you love the most seems to be never-ending…
For an artist, in the caliber of award-winning theater director Frannie Zamora, new visions of art and style just keeps on coming-up. New updates, finer ideas, titillating and fresher “catches”- that all adds-up to the beauty of his own “divine masterpiece”.
For three years now, direk Frannie has been directing his own version of Gantimpala Theater Foundation’s longest-running play- Kanser. Last year, he made it an “all-out musical” and it became such a big hit. He got the services of Michael Pangilinan to portray Crisostomo Ibarra and the rest was history.
This year, another updated version of Kanser is gonna be seen again. Updated, in a way that, according to direk Frannie himself when a blogger chatted with him during a joy ride with a fellow theater actor Norman Penaflorinda, that this year, Kanser will be a mild musical one. Not an all-out musical anymore. Lesser music, but more dramatic scenes/highlights.
“And its a more challenging one to direct”, direk Frannie told a blogger. “Because I needed to incorporate lesser music this time but still have to present the real version of the play itself. I hired new actors to play the major roles and I am now excited to work with them.”
But it’s not that easy to create a “new song”. Sometimes, you meet new people, you linger also with old friends. But whatever it is, again, for an artist like direk Frannie, a new song brings hope to a better life, a better work, and a better love… Maybe.
“Kanser is basically a love story”, direk Frannie told a blogger again. “Its the love story of Crisostomo Ibarra and Maria Clara. A lot of people never knew that, actually. The novel was really about love. Noli Me Tangere was not the political novel that a lot of people thought it was. It was El Filibusterismo which was the political one. But Noli Me Tangere was the more personal one that focused on love and family.”
This year’s Crisostomo Ibarra is going to be Carlo Manalac, a classical singer, voice teacher and member of VIVa BOCE (a famous singing group), who was also the one who portrayed Padre Salvi in last year’s musical version of Kanser. Operatic singer KL Dizon, meanwhile, was chosen to be Maria Clara. While model and teen heart throb Jansen Aguilar will be portraying the role of Padre Salvi this year, a role that one blogger considers to be “the most dramatic and intense” character in the said play.
“Padre Salvi in Rizal’s vision is a young man, not an old one”, direk Frannie stressed. “He is a young Spanish priest with a secret desire over Maria Clara. That’s why I chose Jansen Aguilar to play that part for this year’s Kanser. While Carlo, his posture and stand very well fits the character of Ibarra.”
One, two, three.
In life, sometimes you became one, then suddenly you became two.
But when you became three, a certain calmness appears upon your life….
That’s the time you further try to move-on.
For direk Frannie Zamora, the journey has just started in…
(as the words were written by robert manuguid silverio)
Maka-ilang beses na naming napapanood taon-taon ang longest-running stage play in the history of Philippine Theater- ang “Kanser” ng Gantimpala Theater Foundation. Nuong nagdaang taon naman, first time naming mapanood ang musical version ng nasabing play at mas lalo kaming humanga sa napaka-klasikong approach ng dulang ito na tumutusok sa puso ng bawat kabataan.
Si Michael Pangilinan (na ayaw nang umarte muna ngayon) ang gumanap na Ibarra last year sa musical version ng nasabing dula. Pero para sa amin, ang pinaka-intriguing na character ng dula ay ang role na Padre Salvi. Si Padre Salvi, sa stage adapatation na “Kanser” ay isang guwapong Prayle (Spanish Priest), bata pa, tahimik, malihim, pero may itinatagong mga lihim at “devilish” intentions.
Kaya naman sa nasabi pa ring dula, na kay Padre Salvi na karakter ang suspense, drama, intrigue, hate and mystery. Kung sino mang aktor ang gaganap sa papel na ito, tiyak na mapapansin at hahangaan.
And now, after Michael Pangilinan who portrayed Ibarra last year, ang teenage heart throb/model/newcomer naman na si Paul Jansen or PJ Aguilar ang siyang gaganap sa papel na Padre Salvi naman for this year’s new performances of the longest-running play na “Kanser”. Sa totoo lang, sa nobela ni Dr. Jose Rizal, parehong guwapo ang mga karakter na Ibarra at Padre Salvi. At pareho din silang nagkagusto kay Maria Clara.
Salamat kay direk Franniel Zamora na personal na pumili kay PJ Aguilar upang gumanap na Padre Salvi. Minsan na kasing tinuruan ni direk Frannie itong si PJ ng Acting Workshop nu’ng minsang mag-lecture siya as a guest celebrity lecturer sa Elites Acting Workshop (facilitated by blogger Robert Silverio) last year. Napansin niya na agad noon ang potensyal ni PJ na maging isang magaling na aktor.
Tuwang-tuwa naman ang mabait na Godfather ng Elites Model Management na si Mr. Martin Bellosillo sa magandang pangyayari na ito sa career ni PJ. Alam niya, isa itong malaking break para kay PJ at makikilala si PJ ngayon bilang isang de-kalibreang aktor- sa hanay nina Joel Torre, Tommy Abuel, at iba pa, balang araw.
Ang gaganap na Ibarra this year ay si Carlo Manalac. Si Ms. KL Dizon naman ang gaganap na Maria Clara. And take note, si Roeder Camanag naman ang gaganap na Pilosopong Tasyo for this new theater season performances of “Kanser” ng Gantimpala Theater Foundation.
At siyempre, si direk Frannie Zamora pa rin ang direktor nito, na nanalo last year sa Aliw Awards as Best Director for a Musical Play- for “Kanser@35: The Musical”!
This is just the start of the good road you are heading for, PJ!!! Break a leg!
(words by robert manuguid silverio)
photos of pj ong, courtesy of his facebook account and the photographers who took those pictures. thanks.—ssssip*