Cris Villonco to play the role of Julia in Tanghalang Pilipino’s production of Walang Sugat

Cris Villonco (left) and Noel Rayos (right) star in the classic Filipino opera, Walang Sugat, which opens Tanghalang Pilipino’s 26th Theater Season. Directed by debuting theater director, Carlitos Siguion-Reyna, it is based on the script (libretto) by Severino Reyes, with additional lines by Dr. Nicanor G. Tiongson. It will run August 9-26 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.


"Theater has always been my home."

Ito ang pahayag ni Cris Villonco sa mga dumalong taga-entertainment media, kabilang ang PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal), sa ipinang-imbitang press conference ng Tanghalang Pilipino (TP) noong Miyerkules ng tanghali, July 11, 2012, sa lobby ng National Commission for Culture and the Arts, Intramuros, Manila.

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Ang nasabing presscon ay kaugnay ng opera o ang tinatawag na book musical, na pinamagatang Walang Sugat, na tampok si Cris Villonco sa pangunahing papel na Julia. Kasama niya ang iba pang taga-tanghalan tulad nina Noel Rayos at Antonio Ferrer na magkatuwang bilang Temyong, ang lead male character.
Ngayon pa lamang ay nae-excite na raw si Cris, o si Anna Cristina Siguion-Reyna Villonco sa tunay na buhay, ang apo ng famous veteran opera singer and actress, Armida Siguion-Reyna.
"I’ve always loved the camaraderie here [among theater people]; and... kahit yung pera [talent fees], maliit, iba talaga pag taga-teatro!" sabi pa niya.
Dahilan upang hindi rin masyadong ma-engganyo ang dalagang singer-aktres na mag-fulltime sa pag-arte sa telebisyon, o sa pelikula.
Sa TV, napapanood din naman si Cris Villonco, pero bilang mang-aawit, sa produksiyon ng sariling lola, ang Aawitan Kita, na sa kasalukuyan ay may monthly live programming, na ginaganap sa University of Makati City, para sa mga mag-aaral ng unibersidad.
Nakaganap na rin si Cris noon sa pelikula, bilang anak ng yumaong Action King na si Fernando Poe, Jr., sa Ang Dalubhasa.
Pero throughout her young singing and acting career, sa mga dulang pang-teatro nahumaling ang mahal na apo ni Tita Midz.
Kaya popular si Cris among local theater audiences, whether sa mga straight English plays ng Repertory Philippines tulad ng The Joy Luck Club at Shakespeare In Hollywood, o musicals like Jekyll and Hyde (English) at Noli Me Tangere (The Musical), in Pilipino, na isinadula ng Tanghalang Pilipino noong isang taon.
Dagdag ni Cris, "’Yung mga celebrities [in mainstream showbiz], whenever they join us, nakikita nila kung gaano kami kagulo, o ka-pilyo [at pilya] and all talaga! Pero iba talaga ang medium na ito."
BEST LEAD FEMALE PERFORMER. Kamakailan ay nanalo ng ilang awards si Cris sa Philstage Gawad Buhay! Awards, bilang Best Lead Female Performer in a Musical, para sa TP production ng Noli Me Tangere, na dinirek ni Audie Gemora.
"Thank you very much!" magiliw na pagpapasalamat ni Cris.
"With the recognition of the Filipino talent, we’re hoping that more and more people will support us, because I mean, it really is a struggle.
"A struggle in the sense that even if we do Broadway, or Jekyll and Hyde, things like that, you know there’s a lot of struggle there.
"And all we want is a recognition of of the Filipino talent, whether it be as a director, or as a filmmaker, a scriptwriter, a playwright, like in the last Virgin Labfest (VLF8 at the CCP) where there were a lot of ideas that came out of that.
"And that’s all we want. Because I think, Filipino talent, in all its forms, is definitely competent. And we can compete with those who come here.
TALENTS DRAIN. "There’s a reason why we shouldn’t have a ’talents drain,’ [to] Disney’s or Universal Studios, or kung saan man, na unfortunately, may pera naman talaga doon."
Gayunpaman, umaasa si Cris at mga kasama niya, sa suporta din ng manonood sa upcoming production ng TP, ang Walang Sugat na isang magandang kuwento ng pag-ibig sa panahon ng ligalig, sa pagitan nina Julia (Cris) at Temyong (Noel/Antonio), na kumakatawan sa mga Pilipinong umaklas at lumaban sa mga namumunong Kastila noong mga huling taon ng ika-19 na siglo.
To open Tanghalang Pilipino’s 26th Theater Season, from August 9 to 26, Walang Sugat is directed by debuting theater director, Carlos Siguion-Reyna; based on the script (libretto) by Severino Reyes, with additional lines by Dr. Nicanor G. Tiongson.
Ang klasikong Filipino opera ay nilapatan ng musika nina Fulgencio Tolentino, Constancio de Guzman, at Mike Velarde. Na may karagdagang musika at direksiyon mula kay Propesor Josefino "Chino" Toledo.
Ang choreography ay pinamahalaan ng Philstage Gawad Buhay! Lifetime Achievement awardee (for Dance/Choreography), Nonoy Froilan; kasama ang iba pang katuwang sa produksiyon, tulad nina Tuxs Rutaquio (set design), James Reyes ng Slims Fashion and Arts School (costume design), at Katsch Catoy (lights design).
Bukod kina Cris Villonco, Noel Rayos at Antonio Ferrer, gumaganap din sa mga mahahalagang papel, sa Walang Sugat, sina Noemi Manikan-Gomez (Juana), Bodgie Pascua at Lou Veloso (Tadeo), Red Nuestro at Jonathan Tadioan (Lukas), Jenny Villegas at Jean Judith Javier (Monica), Gino Ramirez (Miguel), Lou Veloso at Jelson Bay (Padre Teban), at Joseph Perez (Pedring).
Mga kabilang sa Koro ay sina: Noe Morgado, Tara Cabaero, Gilbert Onida, Hazel Maranan, Jerson Guiwa, Rayna Reyes, Kaye Garcia, Marco Viana, Regina de Vera, April Joy Inigo, Doray Dayao, Remus Villanueva, Ralph Mateo, at Jovanni.
ON WORKING WITH ’UNCLE’-DIREK CARLITOS. "It really is quite interesting to work with him because he’s a man of few words," said Cris during the Walang Sugat presscon.
"Of course, I’ve worked with him [Carlitos] before, in Aawitan Kita and a few of his TV specials," she added.
"I was very young then. And one thing I did notice [he’s really] focused...
"Another thing is that he’s a stickler for truth. So, even if he’s... sa TV specials, sa auditions, alam ko yun, kasi sinabi sa akin ng mga tao kung paano yung auditions niya."
Nangingiti si Cris, habang nagsasalita at manaka-naka’y sumusulyap sa kanyang "Tito" Carlitos na katabi niya sa presidential table.
"Ah, he really needs truth [when you’re auditioning] and you can’t fool him with music," she continued.
"May tenga siya. Nakuha niya yung tenga ng lola ko. And... alam niya kung nagpa-flat ka, o nagsa-sharp ka. At titingnan pa niya ako."
How would Cris differentiate Direk Carlitos’s style from that of other directors she has worked with?
"There are other directors who are very... you know, they really try to get everything out of you.
"But one thing I’ve noticed [with my uncle]... even when he’s directing films, he can tell you something na parang... he’ll give you a situation and it’s amazing how people respond to him.
"They really respond and he manages to get out of you what he wants.
"It’s really quite interesting to see him work," she said.


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