Theater Review : Kanser Updated 2016


Cancer, a nightmare that kills! An illness that could spread out rapidly in our body and before we know it, too much damage has been done and it is too late for us to recover! This is probably what our national hero had in mind when writing one of his novels, the Noli Me Tangere.
He perfectly described the condition of our society during his time by comparing it to this fatal condition, a social cancer! Noli Me Tangere follows a story of Crisostomo Ibarra who came back to Philippines seven years after learning about his father’s unfortunate fate. Ibarra was reunited with his family and also with Maria Clara, his childhood sweetheart and eventually his fiancé. However, things drastically changed as soon as Ibarra learned the real truth behind his father’s death.

Sino nga ba ang tunay na buhaya ng lipunan?
Noli Me Tangere, as we all know, plays a crucial role in Philippine history. It is a book, a masterpiece of Jose Rizal that planted and nourished the seed of revolution which gave Filipinos the idea of freedom and the possible outcome of national independence.  More than ten decades after its publication, is Noli Me Tangere still relevant to us? Is it still relevant for the younger generations? If schools are not being obliged to include both Noli and El Fili in their curriculums, how many people do you think who belong in newer generations or better known as “millenials” will pay attention to it and uncover the message that these books are trying to deliver? After being freed from the hands of the foreign conquerors, are we really free from this so-called Social cancer?

Crisostomo Ibarra is played by Carlo Mañalac
Just because we are already independent doesn’t mean that we are no longer suffering from social cancer. In fact, the condition of our modern society just made it even worst. Today, the disease is being manifested in many forms. The corruption, the killings and even the ignorance that most millenials are doing today could be considered as the modern day social cancer. At this point, what we really need is something that will ignite our sense of nationalism. Gantimpala Theater Foundation has been very faithful with their mission to promote and to educate people especially the younger generation through their musical stage plays that are merely inspired from Rizal’s novels.

Ang Piging
Kanser has been part of their lineup since 1979 and this year marks its 36th anniversary which is now aptly entitled Kanser : Updated 2016. This year’s production offers a vast of interesting changes and improvements which makes this musical stageplay a lot more entertaining to watch.  Kanser Updated 2016 aims to bring the students the core of the novel “Noli Me Tangere” through this wonderful adaptation.  Director Franniel “Frani” Zamora brought the fictional characters alive in a stageplay that features more than just a retelling of Rizal’s classic novel but also with a modern approach applied to it. It is very interesting to note that despite of their limited time in preparation, Playwright Jomar Fleras managed to build an impressive story that will embrace both classical and modern interpretation of the novel.

the breakable scene of Ibarra and Maria Clara
Kanser Updated 2016 as what the title connotes is more like an improved version of their previous production. There are many notable revisions compare to its predecessors including the new set of casts and newly added sequences too.  Crisostomo Ibarra is played by Carlo Mañalac who apparently played last year’s Padre Salvi while the character of Maria Clara will brought to life by KL Dizon.  Both managed to give justice to their respective roles. Francis Matheu managed to show Rizal’s radical side through his portrayal of Ibarra’s friend  Elias. The character Sisa , on the other hand is played by Dea Formacil-Chua along with talented kids Albert Silos and Angelo Ilustre who played Basilio and Crispin respectively. Jansen Aguilar (who played the new Padre Salvi) and Norman Peñaflorida (Padre Damaso) were both worth mentioning too.


Another interesting addition to the play is the character of “Tikong” played by Abel Napunar (also the man behind Pilosopong Tasyo). Tikong is more like a parodied version of President Duterte who will appear from time to time during the play. His attack might somehow look comical but the words being thrown by him are truly powerful, a perfect reflection of our modern society. I personally find this approach truly impressive as it makes the story a lot more relevant to younger generations. A story that millenials can easily relate with while still being an effective platform that can ignite people’s sense of nationalism.

the powerhouse cast of Kanser Updated 2016
Kanser Updated 2016 will be having their last show for this season this coming September 16, 2016 at SM Southmall Cinema 3 (11am/2pm).

SEE YOU AT THE THEATER !!!!!

Review and photos by : Milton Coyne
Editted by : Axl Guinto

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