Gantimpala Theater, one of the country's leading dramatic arts companies, opens its 35th season with “Florante at Laura”, the poem of Francisco Balagtas, made into a play by Bonifacio Ilagan, under the direction Roeder Camañag, who promises to highlight the beauty and lyricism of Balagtas’ Tagalog poetry in this production.
Giving life to the characters of Balagtas’ literary masterwork are Yutaka Yamakawa and Al Gatmaitan (alternately portraying Florante), Vera Capiral (Laura), Arkin Da Silva (Adolfo), CJ Mangahis (Flerida) and Leo Ponseca (Aladin).
The trio of Yamakawa, Capiral and Da Silva are members of the Gantimpala Theater’s Actors Company.
“Florante is a soldier, son and lover,” Yutaka says of his role. “He loves Albania, his family, Duke Briseo and Reyna Floresca and, of course, the love of his life, Laura. Every thing he does is dictated by passion,”
Bringing in the romance factor is Vera Capiral, who essays the role of Laura. “She is young, innocent, and the love she has for Florante is deeper, the feelings intense and I think more advance for her age.”
“Even if the characters never actually kiss, audiences will really feel the tenderness and romance that the couple shares,” Capiral adds. “To make it all realistic, all I need is look at Yutaka or Al with a lot of love, I should not fake it, since the feelings are coming from my heart.”
Al Gatmaitan, a Florante first-timer, admits, “It’s a different feeling to be part of this play; there is a certain high knowing I am working or a company who has committed itself to produce and promote Filipino classics. It's a privilege and honor... The words are in old Tagalog, and you just can’t recite it per se, there is a whole rhythm and cadence to delivering it.”
Other characters coming to life on stage are Alfred Urieta (Makata), Jose Jeffrey Camañag (Haring Linceo), Billy Parjan (Duke Briseo), Pamela Hundana (Reyna Floresca), Benjie Cayetano (Sultan Ali-Adab), Paul Albert Garcia (Menandro), Ronald Concepcion (Antenor), Michael King Urieta (Batang Florante), Masanori Mentuda (Batang Adolfo), Julius Empredo (Miramolin), Dan Jarden de Guzman (Osmalik).
Assisting Camañag are Andy Villareal (lighting designer), Joey de Guzman (set designer), Jose Jeffrey Camañag (costume designer), Ian de Leon (choreographer), Toni Muñoz (music designer), Meyo de Jesus (video designer), Del Cayetano (production manager) and Lani Tapia (stage manager).
Performances are on July 29 (7 p.m.), Concert at the Park Open Auditorium, Luneta, Manila; August 3, 4 and 5 (9 a.m./12 p.m./3p.m.), AFP Theater, Quezon City; August 10, 11 and 12 (9 a.m./12nn/3 p.m.), Star City, Star City Compound, Pasay City; August 17, 18 and 19, (11 a.m./2 p.m.) at the SM South mall Cinema 3, Las Piñas City.
For tickets and booking information, call 9985622. Or visit www.gantimpalatheater.multiply.com or like www.facebook.com/gantimpala
read more: The show goes on for Gantimpala Theater with its 2012 Florante at Laura