Mark Bautista crosses over to theater, headlines Tanghalang Pilipino’s Noli Me Tangere

by Nickie Wang

Singer Mark Bautista has been roped in to play a prominent role in Noli Me Tangere: The Musical, which will officially open Tanghalang Pilipino’s Silver Theater Season on Aug. 5. 

The 27-year-old Kapuso talent, who plays Crisostomo Ibarra alternately with Gian Magdangal, went through rigid audition process before landing in his first role in theater. During the musical’s  press launch, Mark admitted that what made him decide to dip his finger into theater acting is his fascination and high respect for the people who work on the stage either in a musical or play.

“You can easily identify the artists who work in theater. When I do soap or let us say an episode of Maalaala Mo Kaya, you would easily know if the actor you’re working with had trainings in theater,” Mark said.

He elaborates that stage actors make every character they portray believable and that is because of the continuous classical training, which most movies and television actors are not exposed to.

Mark’s new experience will put him side by side with experienced thespians who regularly appear in Tanghalang Pilipino productions. Instead of feeling intimidated, the singer-actor considers this new opportunity as a platform to hone his acting skills and boost his confidence onstage.

“It’s been my dream to be part of theater because it’s entirely different from just singing alone, here my character also requires acting so I try to learn from my co-actors. I observe a lot,” Mark revealed.

Mark is also overwhelmed by the musical’s credits. The restaging of the critically acclaimed production based on the libretto by National Artist for Literature Bienvenido Lumbera, and costume design by another National Artist Salvador Bernal. Audie Gemora will direct an ensemble that includes Cris Villonco, Bodjie Pascua, Al Gatmaitan, Red Nuesto, and Garry Lim.

After its run at the CCP Little Theater, the whole cast will embark on a national and international tour, which will be sponsored by the Department of Foreign Affairs

The officials of Tanghalang Pilipino is also currently in talks with various embassies to stage Noli Me Tangere in the United States, Europe, and in some parts of Asia.

Tanghalang Pilipino’s silver anniversary

The resident theater company of the Cultural Center of the Philippines maintains a pool of professional theater actors known as the Tanghalang Pilipino Actors Company, which is currently under the artistic direction of cultural educator Fernando C. Josef.  It has successfully presented more than 200 full productions within 24 seasons while generating one of the best audience attendance records among CCP’s resident companies.

The only one of its kind in the country, the Actors’ Company provides intensive training in acting, movement, dance, voice, script analysis, improvisation, directing and other related courses. Some of the alumni of this prestigious and privileged group are among the most respected artists in Philippine theater, television and film communities like Shamaine and Noni Buencamino, Irma Adlawan-Marasigan, Allan Paule, and John Arcilla.

To celebrate its 25th Theater Season, TP is presenting three other classic literary masterpieces apart from its opening salvo Noli Me Tangere: The Musical.

From Sept. 30 to Oct. 23 TP pays tribute to one of its most prolific playwrights in A Tony Perez Retrospective. This production features three of Tony Perez’s most outstanding plays that represent various phases in his career as a playwright: Bombita will be directed by Dennis Marasigan; Sierra Lakes by Tess Jamias; and Nobyembre, Noong Akala Ko’y Mahal Kita by Tuxqs Rutaquio.

Adding to its repertoire of beloved musical plays for children of all ages, George de Jesus III does a Filipino stage adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s well-known children’s story, The Emperor’s New Clothes. Premiering Nov. 8, the play will showcase the original music of Jeff Hernandez.

Next in line is Chris Millado’s Walang Kukurap. In this stage production, Millado and the TP Actors Company create a mind-bending analysis of graft and corruption.  It is a suspense thriller which—by combining traditional theatre with live interviews and unscripted performances (first-hand testimony from government whistle-blowers and anonymous syndicate insiders)—blurs the line between reality and fiction as it reveals the shady politics and unethical business practices so prevalent in the Philippines today.

The season culminates with Larawan, the classic story by National Artist for Literature Nick Joaquin. Playwright and noted TV and stage director Floy Quintos’ version uses Tagalog, English and Spanish in the dialogue. This trilingual play features the acting prowess of seasoned actresses Helen Gamboa and Gina Pareño. The play runs in Feb. 2012 at the CCP Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino.

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