Friday, July 18, 2008

'Florante at Laura' from Gantimpala Theater

Choreographed entrances, fast-paced skirmishes, an epic battle between warring Christians and Moors, and a romance that blossoms and endures despite the uncertainty of times--all these and more come alive on stage as Gantimpala Theater opens its 31st year with Francisco Balagtas’ “Florante at Laura,” re-created as a modern-day komedya.

“Florante at Laura” is a Filipino awit, a love story that happens in the kingdom of Albania. Florante is the son of Duke Briseo, betrothed to Laura, daughter of Haring Linceo, and the many hardships their relationship faces and how their love withstands tragedies. It also presents their unusual kinship with Flerida and Aladin, who are of Moorish lineage.

This awit is dedicated to Balagtas’ sweetheart Maria Asuncion Rivera or Selya, who unfortunately married Balagtas’ rival Mario Capule. Despite being a love story, “Florante at Laura” had underlying nationalistic tones that escaped the eyes of Spanish-era censorship, permitting it to be shown in theatres and plays during its day.

Gantimpala Theater reincarnates the classic awit as a komedya, considered as an authentic Filipino theater form.

This Roobak Valle-directed production stars Arkin Da Silva (Florante), Nelia Aguado (Laura), Ronald Concepcion (Adolfo), Dong Aturong (Duke Briseo), Pamela Hundana (Reyna Floresca), Abel Napuran (Haring Linceo), Abner Delina Jr.(Batang Florante/Taga-Pagsalaysay), Christian Parado (Menandro), Billy Parjan (Antenor), Jerald Napoles (Sultan Ali-Adab), Yutaka Yamakawa (Aladin), Lailanie Ann Tejuco (Flerida) and Julius Empredo (Osmalik).

Assisting Valle realize the world of “Florante at Laura” are Andy Villareal (lights design), Sergio Anlocotan Jr. (choreography), Charyl Chan-de Guzman (production manager), Lailanie Ann Tejuco (assistant production manager), Joey David (stage Manager) and Tony S. Espejo (artistic director).

Tony Espejo, Gantimpala Artistic Director, says, ““Our season once more focuses on the educational role that live theater provides to our student audiences and the general public. Our performances bring flesh and blood to the famous characters of the stories we dramatize, making them more believable and accessible to the audience. We also emphasize the values inherent in the stories and underscore such virtues as love for country, caring for environment and honesty, truth and justice. Watching Gantimpala’s Florante at Laura is a lesson in Philippine literature and theater history. I guarantee our audiences that this historical dramatization of the exploits of Florante and his romance with Laura will make them appreciate our country’s rich literary heritage.”

Florante at Laura is fully supported by the National Parks Development Committee (NPDC).

Performances are slated on July 27, 6 p.m., at the Concert at the Park Open Air Auditorium in Luneta, Manila; August 1, 2, 3, 15, 16, 10 a.m. and 2p.m., at the AFP Theater in EDSA, Quezon City; and August 8, 9, 10, 10 a.m and 2 p.m., SM South Mall in Las Piñas City.

For information, bookings and ticket reservations, please call the Gantimpala Theater Marketing Office, 8995745/8963503/4745198, or email

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