Shrek up close: Rycharde Everley

(The Philippine Star) - December 24, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Shrek The Musical will be having its repeat performance on Dec. 26 through the persistent efforts of Atlantis Theatrical Entertainment Group (ATEG) to bring to Filipino audiences the best quality entertainment that everyone can enjoy.  The show, which is on its international run, offers a varied treat for young and old alike based on some of our favorite English fairytale characters. It also stars a host of outstanding local and international talents including British actor Rycharde Everley who is playing the title role Shrek in the award-winning musical. Joining him are Shiela Valderrama-Martinez as Princess Fiona, Jett Pangan as Lord Farquaad, Nel Gomez as Pinocchio, Carla Guevara-Laforteza as Dragon and Nyoy Volante as Donkey,  the best friend of Shrek.

Rycharde sees his role as a take-off from the film role made famous by American actor Mike Myers but with a fresh twist and deep insight in the book character from which the film was derived. He said, “I had quite a long time before rehearsals so I was able to spend a lot of time researching the part. I read the WIlliam Steig book that the film was adapted from then watched the original film. I tried doing an impersonation of Mike Myers as Shrek (by) reading about his choices in finding the character voice of Shrek; he recorded it first with a Canadian accent and then decided to change it to Scottish, which means they had to re-do the scenes at a cost of $4M.”

He went through a process of blending his own interpretation of Shrek and, “I quickly decided that impersonating Mike Myers was a bad idea because although his characterization is brilliant,  I had to find my own take on the character. I did, however, copy the way Shrek moves in the film and took care to mimic the way that certain iconic lines are said. I’m a trained gradeschool teacher and while I was working, I’d practice my accent out on the children reading stories to them as Shrek. Children are brutally honest and if I wasn’t convincing, they would tell me,” he shared.

Rycharde also sees the stage as presenting its own unique take on the story — beyond what the film does to make it a personal experience for those watching a live performance: “Although the show follows the film closely, there are differences in the characters and getting the balance right between what people expect of Shrek and what the character in the musical demands is a challenge. Also you have to be larger than life playing a fairytale/storybook character. But it’s important to make it as truthful as possible.

“And then there’s the prosthetics! They’re made by ‘Batoctoy’ who are amazing (especially Rene and Michael) and have been designed so that I have as much mobility in my face as possible  but I still have to make all my expressions over the top in order to be read by the audience. It felt strange doing it in rehearsals but I’m glad I did now,” he added.

All the preparation and hard work for Rycharde and the cast and production crew of Shrek promise to give Pinoy audiences a performance worthy to remember. He said, “He (Shrek) is funny, rude, sensitive, aggressive and hides his loneliness by celebrating it. There’s a little bit of Shrek in all of us and therefore most of us can relate. This is the most rewarding character I’ve ever played.  Moreover, there are a few more reasons that make this production special to me: I’ve been lucky enough to perform in 4 different shows with my wife (including this one) but this is the first time that I’ve performed on stage with my daughter! As people keep telling me, we’re turning into the Von Trapps. That said, this is going to be my last ever performance so that makes it incredibly special to me on a personal level.”

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