"We are one with the nation in the celebration of the 150th birth anniversary of Dr. Jose Rizal thus, Gantimpala Theater opens its 34thKanser, the longest running dramatic play based on Rizal’s incendiary novel Noli Me Tangere," says artistic director Tony S. Espejo.
The PHILSTAGE Natatanging Gawad Buhay awardee adds, "Also, Kapuso stars Jay Gonzaga and Benedict Campos, who respectively play Crisostomo Ibarra and Padre Salvi, will share the stage with former Pinoy Dream Academy Season 2 alumna Cris Pastor, who portrays Maria Clara.
"I applaud these showbiz fledglings for their daring and their heart to face the challenges of theater."
Jay (who is currently seen in GMA-7’s afternoon soap Sinner or Saint) describes his character Ibarra as: "A very intelligent man, well-bred, and when he believes in a cause, he puts his heart and soul to it. Doing this iconic role makes me nervous. However, I promise to give it my best and infuse it with certain freshness.
"Ibarra is somewhat of a Superman and his kryptonite is definitely Maria Clara.When Ibarra is with his inamorata, Clara becomes the center of his s universe."
Giving life to Maria Clara is Cris who describes her character as, "The ideal Filipina. She lives in a time when women face so many restrictions. Despite the fragility she displays, I think she is a woman of strength.
"I am so excited because finally I am going to try something that is out of my comfort zone. Maria Clara is the exact opposite of me, so this is a challenge I know I will conquer."
When asked regarding her working experience with her Kapuso co-actors, Cris revealed, "They are very patient and gentlemanly. It helps that they are both good-looking, especially my Ibarras, thus it’s easier to play coy and sweet."
Last seen in GMA-7’s fantasy drama Grazilda as Prince Charming, Benedict enjoys portraying Padre Salvi because he gets to play a contravida role.
Benedict says about his character, "Salvi is deceiving, scheming and will do every thing to harvest the most forbidden of fruits, which is Maria Clara. He is twisted, lusting for power and the flesh which he desperately hides under his cloak."
Other cast members are Jojo Riguerra (Crisostomo Ibarra, alternate), Dax Alejandro (Elias), Mayen Estañero (Sisa), Manolet Concepcion (Padre Damaso), Dante Balaois (Filosofo Tacio), Ed Murillo and Joey David (alternately portraying Capitan Tiago), Joey de Guzman (Mang-aawit), Mosang and Wenah Nagales (Doña Victorina), Niesty Lopera (Don Tiburcio), Meldea Flor Formacil (Doña Consolacion), Vangie Inocencio (Tiya Isabel), John Zyke Santos (Basilio), Dainyle Jeremel Orara (Crispin), Abel Napuran (Teniente Guevarra) and Troy de Guzman (Alferez).
The Kanser artistic and production team are Adriana Agcaoili (Director), Jheyar Caguimbal (Associate Director), Jomar Fleras (Playwright), Benjie Cayetano (Lights Designer),Norman Penaflorida (Sets Designer), John Paulo Garcia (Production Manager), and April Anne Dolot (Stage Manager).
Performances are slated on July 17, (7pm), Concert at the Park, Open Air Auditorium, Luneta, Manila; July 22, 23 and 24, August 5, 6 and 7, (10am/2pm), AFP Theater, Quezon City; August 12, 13 and 14,(11am/2pm) Cinema 3, SM Southmall, Las Piñas City.
For tickets, call the GTF Marketing Office: 899-5911//899-5745 or visit: www.gantimpalatheater.multiply.com or www.facebook.com/gantimpala.