The Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA) is having a special run of their landmark play “Caredivas – An Original Pinoy Musical” from June 24 to July 30 at PETA Theater Center.
The 50-year-old company, together with Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), is doing so honoring Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) as heroes of our country.
On the first day of the show, OWWA employees and OFWs and their family members will have the opportunity to watch the show for free.
According to PETA President Cecilia Garrucho, it is a “moving play, a must-watch” that will “touch the heart and mind of the audiences.”
OWWA Officer-in-Charge Advocacy and Social Marketing Division and PETA alumna Josephine Sanchez-Tobia explained that they’ve been supporting this kind of activity for a long time now.
Theatergoers will meet the five gay friends and caregiver heroes namely the kind and loving Chelsea, the often-sarcastic group leader Shai, the ditzy Thalia, the bubbly Kayla, and the ill-tempered Jonee.
Breathing life into the major roles are Melvin Lee (Chelsea), Vincent de Jesus and Ron Alfonso (Shai), Dudz Teraña and Jason Barcial (Thalia), Gio Gahol, Jerald Napoles and Ricci Chan (Kayla), Thou Reyes and Phil Noble (Jonee).
The actors in supporting roles are Myke Salomon (Faraj, David, Daniel), Paul Holme and Leo Rialp (Isaac, Moshe, Yaakov, Club owner), Joan Bugcat and Gold Villar (Nonah), Eric Dela Cruz and Dom Miclat-Janssen (Avi, Aryeh, Pulis), Sherry Lara (Sarah, Adara), Eko Baquial, and Joseph Madriaga (ensemble).
At the press launch, members of media got a glimpse of how the actors’ own the characters.
The scene they did was a prequel of the story where the characters were undergoing interview for visa procurement.
“It’s a backstory, the characters have their own biography. The scene is their interviews to show kung ano ’yung pinagdadaanan ng OFWs bago makaalis,” director Maribel Legarda said.
“We have a mix of actors kasi nga there are alternates. So, nag-iiba ’yung temper nu’ng play, nang eksena kaya no show is the same as another.”
Aside from that, some of the original members have returned.
One of them is Jerald, who revealed that after six years, he is “calmer” on stage.
“Dati kasi pressure eh, kasi ang mga kapalitan ko (ng linya) big stars,” he said. “Siguro ngayon ay mas confident, mas grounded at mas relaxed ako.”
They play gay characters in drag and Jerald is used to it by now.
“Sanay na ako on wearing and dancing on heels so ngayon ang tina-try ko ay i-adjust ang acting ko as I have to go bigger,” he maintained.
The story is close to Jerald’s heart as he has an OFW relative.
“’Yung tita ko kasi nasa Japan, tapos kami ’yung pamilya na nasa Pilipinas na pinapadalhan lang ng pera.
“’Pag nandito siya marami siyang dalang chocolate, may bago kang damit, araw-araw nasa mall kayo, ubos biyaya tapos balik trabaho siya sa abroad, tatawag, iiyak,” he shared.
It taught him that being an OFW is never easy and love is a powerful instrument that could help them stay strong.
Lyricist, composer, arranger, musical director, and one of the lead cast Vincent shared “Caredivas” has so much improvement including new set and costumes.
“We wanted talaga to improve the play, then keep it fresh, keep it current,” he explained.
Vincent turned one scene full of dialogue into a song.
“Sabi ko gawin nating kanta ’to, high moment siya eh. In musical theater, sabi nila, when the emotion gets too intense for dialogue you break into a song,” he said.
As original member of the play, he is happy and excited over the show which is why he readied himself for it mentally, vocally, emotionally, and physically.
“Isa kasi siyang malaking cardio eh, you sing, you dance, you wear heels, you change costumes, so you have to be fit talaga,” he said. “You have to be really prepared. Hindi pwedeng sumampa ka na lang ng hindi ka handa.”
He loves the play as it is very personal to him, particularly his character.
“I like doing my character because Shai is very complex personality. She’s very nurturing at the same time tough love siya, hindi siya romantic. Maasim siya because that’s his way of protecting himself emotionally,” he shared.
Indeed, Vincent can relate to his character in more ways than one.
“We’re the same talaga, we are both perfectionist, very obsessive compulsive especially ’pag dating sa music. We both push other people to the limit as a performer, kasi I’m also a teacher. Cariño brutal si Shai eh.”
Another reason is that he worked overseas for six years. No wonder most of the lyrics in the play are inspired by his own experiences.
“But of course ’yung iba finictionalize ko lang to create a character and bring it to life based on other people’s experiences, and through research.”
“Caredivas” will run Fridays (8 p.m.), and Saturdays and Sundays (3 pm and 8 pm).
Tags: Entertainment, gay characters, Jerald Napoles, Manila Bulletin, Manila Bulletin Entertainment, mb.com.ph, Overseas Filipino Workers, OWWA, PETA, Philippine Educational Theater Association, Thou Reyes, Vincent de Jesus, ‘Caredivas’ special run in honor of OFW’s as heroes
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