Getting to Know : Carlo Vergara in Kung Paano Ako Naging Leading Lady

Visconde Carlo San Juan Vergara or simply known as Carlo Vergara is a Filipino graphic designer and illustrator best known for creating the comic book character Zsazsa Zaturnnah. Vergara is also a theatre performer and published playwright.

Here the Frequency And Answer regarding Kung Paano Ako Naging Leading Lady and ofcourse Carlo Vergara as a playwright.

QUESTION: 
ARTISTS (LIKE IN YOUR CASE A PLAYWRIGHT) AND ACTORS, IN PARTICULAR, TYPICALLY TALK ABOUT THAT LIFE-CHANGING REVELATION WHERE THEY DISCOVER, “THIS IS WHAT I NEED TO DO.” DID YOU EVER HAVE THAT EPIPHANY?  

CARLO: For a very long time, I've never considered myself as a Writer, the kind known for artistic work. I've always been a PR writer, news writer, and feature writer because of my day jobs. (I did, however, write short plays for class presentations in high school.) It was only when my graphic novel Zsazsa Zaturnnah made a splash that I thought, “Maybe I can do this.”


Q: AS A YOUNG GENTLEMAN DRAWN IN A PREVIOUS CAREER PATH BACK IN YOUR 20’s, WHAT IS IT THAT EVENTUALLY PULLED YOU INTO THE PRACTICE AND INDUSTRY OF PLAYWRIGHTS AND GRAPHIC NOVELS ?  

A: In my 20s, I would be drawing comics for my writer-friends, and only started formally making my own comics when I hit 30. The Philippine comics scene was undergoing a resurgence of sorts, and I found myself in the middle of it. As far as theatre in concerned, I had been an actor (“Angels In America,” “The Lottery,” “Towards Zero,” “The Boor,” etc.) so scripts for the stage aren't new to me. I actually entered a scriptwriting competition in the late-90s, but didn't make the cut. I submitted “Kung Paaano Ako Naging Leading Lady” to the Virgin Labfest to just test myself.

Q: WHAT IS IT ABOUT THE JOB THAT YOU DO THAT YOU LOVE MOST ? HATE MOST ?  

A: For writing plays, the best part for me is writing dialogue, perhaps because I'm coming into it from an actor's perspective. I read all my scripts out loud (even changing my voice and accent) to make sure the lines roll off the tongue smoothly. What do I hate most? When there's something in the story that doesn't work and I can't find a solution.

Q: WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON ‘KUNG PAANO AKO NAGING LEADING LADY’ AS A MUSICAL THEATRE PIECE ? VS. THE ONE-ACT PLAY YOU WROTE MANY YEARS AGO ? COULD YOU TELL US WHAT MAKES THIS MUSICAL SO SPECIAL ?  

A: When I wrote the one-act play, I really wanted Leading Man to have an American accent, as solid an accent as possible. When Hans Eckstein was cast for the role, and after hearing him throw lines with Kiki Baento (who played Mely) and Skyzx Labastilla (who played Viva), I found it fascinating how the acting styles from both ends of the Philippine theatre spectrum interacted on stage. I think that's the first thing that's special about the musical. We have actors who we mostly see in Broadway-type productions, and we have actors who we mostly see in Filipino productions. And now we get the chance to see them in one show, with songs in English, songs in Filipino, and a combination of both.

Q: IN WRITING / COLLABORATING WITH VINCE DE JESUS ‘KUNG PAANO AKO NAGING LEADING LADY THE MUSICAL’ , WILL YOU BE ADDING OR SUBTRACTING A NEW TWIST TO THE MATERIAL WHICH WAS ORIGINALLY A ONE-ACT PLAY ? IF SO, WHAT WAS IT LIKE TO BE INVOLVED WITH SUCH A UNIQUELY DIFFERENT PRESENTATION OF THIS NEW MUSICAL ? THAN WHEN IT WAS A ONE-ACT PLAY ?  

A: The original one-act play had to be shortened for the musical, but we're keeping the most important parts. It will happen during the early part of Act Two, so we get to see everything that happened before, and the consequences after. When I wrote the first draft of the musical script, I gave suggestions where songs would be inserted, as well as what those songs would be about. Collaborating with Vince De Jesus was a breeze, and his output has been more than I could ever hope for. He gave the story a more interesting flavor.
Q: HOW DID YOU PREPARE YOURSELF FOR ‘KUNG PAANO AKON NAGING LEADING LADY THE MUSICAL’ AS A PLAYWRIGHT ? AND HOW DID YOU PREPARE THE CAST FOR THEIR RESPECTIVE ROLES ? WORKSHOP / IMMERSION ABOUT THE MATERIAL ?  

A: Prepare myself? Oh, I just went for it. I had no choice. This is not really my first full-length script, so it wasn't a complete stranger to me. I already knew what the plot was going to be. But to be safe, Pertee BriƱas helped me a lot in jumpstarting the process. About 15% of the finished material comes from him. When I'm at rehearsals, some of the actors would approach me and ask me about their characters.

Q: WHAT WILL MAKE A SHOW LIKE ‘ KUNG PAANO AKO NAGING LEADING LADY THE MUSICAL’ SO VASTLY DIFFERENT THAN THE OTHER SHOWS THAT ARE BEING PRODUCED BY OTHER THEATRE COMPANIES ?  

A: Apart from the superior level of talent that we have, I think the fact that it's a superhero musical loaded with comedy, romance, and drama makes it an oddball in itself. I mean, who does that? The last time we had something like this was Zsazsa Zaturnnah Ze Muzikal, and that opened nine years ago.

Q: RECENTLY A LOT HAS BEEN SAID ABOUT THE CURRENT STATE OF THE MUSICAL THEATRE SCENE: THE ONSLAUGHT OF NEW THEATER COMPANIES, THE STRUGGLING ECONOMY AND TICKET PRICES, THE NEW GENERATION OF THEATER AUDIENCES, AND MORE. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE CURRENT STATE OF THE MUSICAL THEATER INDUSTRY HERE IN OUR COUNTRY ?  

A: Though I don't really actively monitor the local theatre scene, I've been hearing how much more vibrant it's been for the industry. If we're talking about Metro Manila alone with its 10 million-plus people, about twice the population of Singapore, that's a lot of potential audiences to tap. Admittedly, theatre is premium entertainment, much more expensive than a movie, and there's no DVD. But I've always believed that if a piece of entertainment is seen as really worth the ticket price, people will find a way.


Q: IF YOU WERE TO WRITE AND DIRECT A NEW FILIPINO MUSICAL, WHAT WOULD BE THAT DREAM PROJECT AND WHY ?  

A: Ooooh, right now I have no idea. I'm still feeling overwhelmed by what's happening right now.            

Mga Komento