Co-written by Jude Cartalaba
Manila, Philippines, June 17, 2012 – The summer theater workshop season has officially ended; graduates from these summer camps would either go back to school or try their luck at auditions for upcoming Theater Productions, which include Repertory Philippines' (Rep) children's musical "The Wizard of Oz," and its year-end presentation, Disney's "Camp Rock."
But how does a neophyte at Rep, one of the country's pioneering theater companies, which is known to have molded world-class talents such as Lea Salonga, Monique Wilson, Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo, Michael Williams, and Audie Gemora, among others, under the infamously stringent rehearsal and performance policies of the late stage director Zenaida Amador, fit in?
BroadwayWorld sits down with veteran stage actors, but recent Rep first timers, Jett Pangan (Dr. Henry Jekyll/Edward Hyde) and Kalila Aguilos (Lucy Harris), who have starred in Rep's critically-acclaimed production of Frank Wildhorn's "Jekyll and Hyde," a musical based on the classic novella "A Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" by Robert Louis Stevenson, directed by Yulo, to talk about their first-hand experiences working with Rep.
"Well, for one, we were given about two months of rehearsals, which is more than I'm used to," says Pangan.
On the one hand, "Rep fosters collaborative efforts with its actors in terms of, say, trying different things to improve a scene," he adds.
Aguilos, on the other hand, despite the horror stories she heard from other people, she had a positive attitude towards the theater company, "I usually don't believe things I hear until I see for myself. All I know is that when people are asked which theater companies they know exist in the country, the first thing that pops out of their mouths is 'Rep,' and that's where many of our respected veteran actors come from, so it couldn't be all that bad."
"It was probably because of Rep's strict working environment."
Aguilos adds, "I had said this publicly, and I meant it when I said it: Rep is very professional. Little things like starting on time and ending on time is big in my book. Also, one can already see the well-formed attributes of the scenes in the Early Stages of rehearsals. The people are nice, and are very supportive. Their creation process and requirement is different from what I'm used to. I'm an old dog with old tricks and bad habits. So I took this production as a healthy challenge to fit into a new environment."
How did Yulo treat their roles in "Jekyll and Hyde"?
Pangan talks about how he found his character while doing the musical; according to him, he made it a point to provide a clear distinction between the two (Dr. Henry Jekyll/Edward Hyde), and it was a journey in itself.
"As per Menchu's direction, my Jekyll starts out as a confident man but spirals down into desperation; while Hyde is basically Henry Jekyll without morals and conscience."
Aguilos admits that it was difficult for her as an actress to be pitted against or be compared to the vocal calisthenics of Linda Eder, the female lead in the original Broadway production. She was under so much pressure at first since Lucy's songs were written specifically to showcase the Broadway star's monster vocal range, and she accepted that she will never be her.