I had the chance to watch press preview of the rap musical last January 30, a week before it officially opened to the general public.
(READ: PETA Stages Dystopian Rap Musical 3 Stars and a Sun this February, Featuring the Music of Francis M)
It was another great original by PETA-innovative and timely, but it was still a technical dress rehearsal so there were still a few things to iron out. The cast, however, was impeccable. I especially loved watching one of my favorite theater actors, Nicco Manalo, take center stage as Sol, the leader of the rebellion.
(READ: Review: A Call to Action- PETA’s 3 Stars and a Sun)
Last night, I decided to watch it again because friends had told me that the show has gotten even better during the regular run. I knew there was an alternate cast so I was excited to see some new faces on the stage. But what I didn’t expect was to see the alternate cast member for Sol.
When I saw her come out, I was literally on the verge of tears. Yes, the alternate was played by a talented actress named Gold Villar. I couldn’t believe it. How could I have missed that detail? I’m sure the company would have announced it before it even opened. I was completely overcome with emotion. I’ve never heard of a production that had alternate casts from different genders.
But, it’s true. A leader who wants change never needed to be gender-specific. And the artistic team knew that. And it was genius. What a performance by Villar.
After the show, I couldn’t help but come up to her to get her thoughts on the matter.
So you really auditioned for Sol?
Villar: “I auditioned for Nasty. Tapos supposedly may isang actor na kukunin talaga for Sol, so si Nicco and the other actor. Pero nagkaroon ng conflict sa schedule, so Kuya Nor (Domingo, the director), thought, ‘Why don’t we put Gold as the other Sol?’ It’s also a statement on how empowering it is for women to be part of a change.”
Was there a difference in the way you both attacked the role?
“May mga maliliit na nuances na magkaiba. Si Nicco atak niya mas kalmado. Ako medyo mas intense I guess kasi feeling ko babae ako so hindi pwede lumamya iyung atake ko.”
“Medyo siyempre effort lang din iyung switching nung keys. Ang galing lang ni Myke (Salomon, the music director). Hinanapan niya lang ng 5th chord doon sa chord. Pero more or less pareho naman halos. Pareho yung mga minus one na ginamit namin.”
Hats off to Mr. Domingo for this brave and much welcomed casting decision.