Perry Escano plays Adolfo, a monarch obsessed with power

Perry Escaño portrays Adolfo, the Albanian monarch obsessed with power and lust in Florante at Laura. This Gantimpala Theater production will be staged until August 29, 2009.

Florante at Laura, the 32nd season offering of Gantimpala Theater packed the crowds at the AFP Theater on its first week run. Viewers have until the last weekend of August to watch Francisco Balagtas' most enduring awit, the theater form popular during time of Balagtas.

Presented as a komedya, Florante at Laura is under the direction of Soxie Topacio with an adaptation by the late Rene Villanueva.

One of the most talked about characters in this play is Adolfo, the Albanian monarch obsessed with power and lust, and whose main objective in life is to destroy his mortal enemy, Florante.

Portraying the antagonist Adolfo is Perry Escaño, one of the junior members of Gantimpala Theater's Actors' Company.

"The biggest challenge that Adolfo poses is the fact that we are totally opposite personality wise, though, I'm not saying that I am a good boy. However, I am not as bad as the role I portray," says Perry.

"Playing this part is like living another life," Escaño adds. "I need to create this person who is wily. At first, he acts the as meek and gentle as a lamb card. People do not suspect the vitriol boiling deep inside him. He is consumed with hatred. He is obsessed with power. In the end, when he becomes really demented, all hell breaks lose. He is not bothered when he resorted to violence just to fulfill his ambitions."

How did you prepare for the role? "Personally, I did not watch the former actors who have done the part previously so that I give it a fresh take," he replies. "I watched a lot of movies specifically Cape Fear with Robert De Niro and Al Pacino in The Devil's Advocate. I also take by heart all the notes given by my director."

"It's emotionally and physically taxing," adds Escaño. "Adolfo is ruthless and I really have to summon, embrace all my dark side and be comfortable with it."

Bringing the awit to life on stage is Soxie Topacio. He has worked with direk Soxie in movies and in plays and Escaño admits that direk Soxie is one of his favorites.

"I don't want to pull director Soxie's legs but he is one of the best directors that we have right now," reveals Perry. "He is much disciplined. As an actor, I always look forward to work with him because I know that I will learn much. When he explains a scene to you, it is always very thorough. He expects that you give your one-hundred percent and with that thought, you cannot afford to be mediocre. You really have to strive and give your best."

Aside from doing theater, Escaño is also visible in television, having the privilege of work with both ABS-CBN and GMA-7. He also finds time to do mainstream and independent film projects as well.

Why does he keep on coming back to theater? "As an actor, it is important that you continue to learn and in theater, it gives you so many opportunities to learn. And your learning does not only come from the script that you read, but from your directors, co-actors down to the technical people and the staff."

He continues, "Another reason why I love the theater is the fact that every play gives you the chance to be abreast with so many personal, cultural and societal issues. In this awit by Balagtas, it talks about friendship, love for family and country, peace and religion. In this production, the audiences, most especially the students, can see that peace between two warring groups, the Christians and Moors, can be achieved. Peace and harmony is attainable when our hearts and minds are open to forgive, help other people, and communicate. At the end of the day, we all face the same problems. We all laugh and cry, we dance and jump, we get hurt, we love and we are just all human beings."

"We hope that people continue to support Gantimpala Theater and all our plays. We are here to give you excellent productions. We assure you that after watching Florante at Laura, this is an experience that they will never forget, this is Filipino theater at its best," concludes Perry Escaño.

Gantimpala Theater's Florante at Laura performances are on August 14 and August 15, 10 am/2 pm, AFP Theater in Quezon City and its final weekend on August 28 and August 29, 10 am/2 pm, SM Southmall, Las Piñas City.

For information, bookings and ticket reservations, please call 899-5745, 896-3503, 474-5198. Or






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