After the successful back-to-back run of the historical dramas “Kanser (Noli Me Tangere) and “El Filibusterismo,” Gantimpala Theater presents the elusive and enchanting.
“Ibong Adarna,” a play based on the ‘Corrido at Buhay na Pinagdaanan nang Tatlong Principeng Magkakapatid na Anak ng Haring Fernando at nang Reina Valeriana sa Kahariang Berbania.’, written by Ed Maranan, under the direction of Roobak Valle.
Three dons and brothers from the Kingdom of Berbania, Don Pedro, Don Diego and Don Juan set out to capture the illusive creature, as commanded by their mother Reyna Valeriana, whose enchanted songs, are the cure to their father’s foreboding illness, Haring Fernando.
“Bringing life to Ibong Adarna on stage is always exciting for us. This Filipino folklore is filled with adventure and magic, dance, and lessons about finding oneself and the hero within, ” says the artistic director Tony Espejo.
Beaming with pride Espejo shares, “Playing Don Juan is Kristian Chua, who is a homegrown Gantimpala actor. He was a summer workshopper, then became part of the Actors’ Company, trained and gained expertise in production work and acting. He was initially molded in our Four Classics as koro/taong bayan. He is proof that we are doing our share in honing and training new theater artists.”
Chua’s first major Gantimpala role was Greg Marforri in Taluktok under Espejo’s direction presented during the company’s Pearl Theater Festival. He played Victor in Silang Magigiting and Isagani in El Filibusterismo a season after.
“I’ve been doing Ibong Adarna since 2006 as a kawal,” recollects the latest Don Juan. “Being part of this production, regardless of the role that you’re playing, is something that you can really be proud of because of its magic and spectacle. Doing the lead role is challenging, nerve-wracking and exciting. I hope the audiences will like my performance, can’t wait when the curtain finally rises.”
The other major players are: Jay Gonzaga (Don Pedro), Junjun Quintana (Don Diego), Edwin Domino (Haring Fernando), Malou Crisologo and Pamela Hundana (alternately playing Reyna Valeriana), Abel Napuran (Haring Salermo), Joey de Guzman (Ermitanyo), Sharlene Rivera (Prinsesa Leonora), Vera Capiral (Prinsesa Juana), Mathew Manalaysay (Ibong Adarna) and Cris Pastor, as Maria Blanca, the princess who holds the key to Don Juan’s heart and the mystery behind the mythological bird.
Providing live musical accompaniment are Maui Bayani, Smith Bitoon and JR Oga. Dances were originally researched and choreographed by the late National Artist Dance for Dance Ramon Obusan.
The artistic and production team are Andy Villareal (light designer), Raul Nepomuceno Jr. (choreographer), Joey David (stage manager) and John Paulo Garcia (production manager).
Performances are on September 18, (7pm), at the Open Air Auditorium in Luneta, Manila; September 30 and October 1 (10am/2pm), at the AFP Theater, in Quezon City; October 7 and 8 (11am/2pm), at the Cinema 3, SM Southmall, in Las Piñas City.