Rachelle Ann: I’m beyond excited!
FUNFARE - Ricky Lo (The Philippine Star) - November 17, 2015 - 9:00am

On Les Miz’s staging in Manila in March 2016: ‘Finally, my kababayan will be able to see and experience what I’ve been doing here in London.’

Barely a month last May after she finished her year-long contract with the Cameron Mackintosh megahit musical Miss Saigon, playing the bar girl Gigi that won her a Best Supporting Actress in a Musical award from What’sOnStage, Rachelle Ann Go did an exclusive interview with The STAR at the Theatre Café just around the bend from Queens Theatre in London’s West End. She took a few minutes off from the rehearsals for Les Miserables which was set to open in June.

Five months since then, Rachelle Ann has been reaping praises for her performance as Fantine, the same role played by other Filipino talents like Lea Salonga and Anne Dionisio. The good news is that Filipinos will have a chance to watch Rachelle Ann in Les Miz in March next year when Concertus stages the musical at The Theatre of Solaire.

“Oh,” Rachelle gushed in a recent interview with The STAR, “I’m beyond excited. Masaya ako at mapapanood ako ng mga kababayan natin maski hindi sila pumunta sa London.” 

How has your work on Les Miz been so far?

“It has been an amazing five months so far. It just keeps on getting better!”

How much more challenging is the role of Fantine than your role as Gigi in Miss Saigon?

“The role of Fantine is longer and bigger in terms of the character impacting the storyline of the musical. I have to make sure I am able to portray the role gradually showing a whole spectrum of emotions from uncertainty, loneliness, despair to peace, among many others.

“The role is also difficult because of the revolving stage that I had to be on for a good 20 minutes and remember at what point of Fantine’s character I am in order to make her grow and alive in front of the audience. Not to mention I have to be able to belt the iconic song I Dreamed A Dream every night perfectly and with real emotions.

“I feel tearful every night she dies but hopeful when she goes to bring Jean Valjean to heaven. It’s a wonderful feeling!”

Which scene is hardest to do and which scene has so far been memorable to you?

“The scene where I have to sing I Dreamed A Dream is the hardest because I have to act and sing that song flawlessly. That is the most beautiful piece of music my character sings. Every phrase, every emotion has to be delivered to bring Fantine alive.

“But my most memorable scene is when I get to come back as a ghost and sing that beautiful lullaby-like song to the audience as I end, in a three-point blending with Eponine and Valjean, with the beautiful phrase ‘to love another person is to see the face of God.’ I just can’t hold back the tears. Such a beautiful line to build up the finale!”

How do you think is your interpretation of Fantine different from those of the other actresses (Lea Salonga among them and, in the movie, Anne Hathaway)?

“I would like to think that the way I approach the character of Fantine is subtle. I try to hold back my emotions until the death scene when I have to give it my best, tears and all. Each actress has a way of approaching the role and each must find her way differently and honestly to play it so you can’t really compare them.”

What’s on your mind while you’re singing I Dreamed A Dream?

“I think about Fantine’s story. In a way I can relate to her. I’ve been through a lot in my past and I guess it helps me deliver the character.”

What’s your favorite line from the song?

“Oh yes…I dreamed a dream in time gone by, when hope was high and life worth living…So touching. That line makes me cry.”

Les Miz is coming to Manila next year. How would you feel performing before an audience of kababayan?

“Oh, I am beyond excited! Finally, Filipinos will be able to see and experience what I’ve been doing here in London.”

Are there other Filipinos in the cast (in London)? And how many are coming to Manila with you?

“No, I am the only Filipino here in Les Miz West End and the rest of the cast going to Manila I think are Australians and British.” (According to the Concertus release, joining Rachelle Ann following his recent Australian Helpmann Award win as the iconic Jean Valjean is Simon Gleeson. Valjean’s lifelong antagonist Javert will be played by Earl Carpenter, direct from his performance of the role in the Broadway company of Les Miz. Other cast members coming to Manila include Kerri Anna Greenland as Eponine, Chris Durling as Enjolras and Emily Langridge as Cosette, also coming direct from performing the show in Australia.)

Are you renewing your one-year contract with Les Miz? What’s next (still aiming at Wicked as you told me during our interview last May)?

“It’s too early to say. At the moment, I’m loving every second here in London. Regarding Wicked, that is still on my bucket list. One day, hopefully...”

(For ticket inquiries, call Ticketworld at 891-9999.)

 

 

 

 

9 Pinoy indies in 13 international film festivals

This month, nine Pinoy indie films are competing in 13 international film festivals in four continents.

• Brillante Mendoza’s Taklub reaffirms its world-class worth after it was officially selected to participate in eight film festivals in Asia, Pacific and Europe: The 53rd Gijon International Film Festival in Spain (Nov. 20 to 28); 52nd International Antalya Film Festival in Turkey (Nov. 29 to Dec.6); the 35th Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival (Nov. 5 to 26); 22nd Minsk International Film Festival in Listapad in Belarus (Nov. 6 to 13); 12th Hong Kong Asian Film Festival in China (Nov. 18 to 22), second Brisbane Asia Pacific Film Festival in Australia (Nov. 19 to 29); 26th Singapore International Film Festival (Nov. 26 to Dec. 6); and 46th International Film Festival of India in Goa (Nov. 20 to 30).

• Multi-awarded Magkakabaung, a film by Jason Paul Laxamana:  At the 21st Kolkata International Film Festival in India (Nov. 14 to 21); 28th Exground International Film Festival in Germany (Nov. 13 to 22); and 35th Hawaii International Film Festival, NETPAC 25th Anniversary Section (Nov. 12 to 22).

Sekyu by Joel Lamangan: At the 21st Kolkata International Film Festival in India (Nov. 14 to 21).

Imbisibol by Lawrence Fajardo and Honor Thy Father by Erik Matti at the Face2Face Impact and Spotlight Sections, respectively, in the 26th Stockholm International Film Festival in Sweden (Nov. 11 to 22).

Heneral Luna by Jerrold Tarog, Honor Thy Father by Matti and Kid Kulafu by Paul Soriano at the Spotlight on the Philippines Section; and Violator by Dodo Dayao in the Extreme Section of the 35th Hawaii International Film Festival (Nov. 12 to 22).

Meanwhile, Shamaine Buencamino has been nominated for Best Performance by an Actress for Lorna (by Sigrid Andrea Bernardo) at the ninth Asia Pacific Screen Awards in Brisbane, Australia. She’s up against Japan’s Kirin Kiki for Naomi Kawase’s An (Japan, France, Germany), Iranian actress Fatemeh Motamed Arya for Avalanche (Bahman, Islamic Republic of Iran), Korean acting matriarch Lee Young-Ian for (Republic of Korea) and celebrated model Evgeniya Mandzhieva for The Gulls (Russian Federation). The winner will be announced on Nov. 26 at City Hall, Brisbane. Lorna will be screened at the second Brisbane Asia Pacific Film Festival on Nov. 27 at the Palace Barracks 3.

(E-mail reactions at entphilstar@yahoo.com. You may also send your questions to askrickylo@gmail.com. For more updates, photos and videos visit www.philstar.com/funfare. or follow me on www.twitter/therealrickylo.)

ACIRC COM FANTINE FESTIVAL FILM HTTP INTERNATIONAL LES MIZ NOV QUOT STRONG
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