Text and photos by Janelle Acosta, Miles See and Julia Singson
Floy Quintos’ “The Kundiman Party”, a play that speaks of the Kundiman culture and social responsibility, held its press conference last May 2, 2019 at the PETA Theater Center hosted by singer and veteran actress Mitch Valdez. After releasing the play last year in the Ma. Guerrero Theatre in U.P. Diliman, the said play is will be restaged from May 24 to June 2 this 2019 in the PETA Theatre Center.
After watching the production last year, PETA Theatre Center’s head CB Garrucho decided they wanted to bring the production back in time for their Stage of the Nation campaign that speaks of social and political issues. “[The Kundiman Party] was an artistically excellent production. Brilliantly written. It spoke well to all sectors- young and old from different classes. The Kundiman Party will touch hearts; it will inspire- we hope, a wider audience to be engaged with what’s happening with the nation today.”
The original cast members, Shamaine Centenera-Buencamino as Maestra Adela, Frances Makil-Ignacio as Tita Mayen, Stella Cañete-Mendoza as Tita Helen, Jenny Jamora and Missy Maramara as Tita Mitch, and Miah Canton as Antoinette will be going up the stage once again reviving their previous roles and bringing life to the community of The Kundiman Party once again.
In addition, new faces will be joining this production with Boo Gabunada as Bobby who would probably be familiar to you if you’ve seen “Ang Huling El Bimbo”, veteran actor Nonie Buencamino as Bobby’s estranged father Senator Juancho Valderama, and Gabriel Paguirigan showcasing his acting debut as Ludwig.
Setting the night’s mood, Miah Canton sang the emotional Kundiman song, “Pakiusap” with the piano accompaniment of co-actor, Gabriel Paguirigan. It was truly more than enough to give the press and guests present quite a taste of what the play has to offer. However brief her performance was, it gave the press and guests present goosebumps, and upon even closer observation, some were even almost moved to tears. Canton’s piece is just one of the many Kundiman songs that are expected to be performed at The Kundiman Party.
The production was able to speak about their Kundiman Party experience and how it also greatly affected their lives. “All [the actors’] energies, the wonderful people in the cast, my energies and PETA Theatre Center’s energies were all working so hard to try and bring the play back to life.” says Quintos. New cast member, Nonie Buencamino also shared his challenge with playing the role of a senator. “The challenge for me is that I’m trying to portray him [his character as a senator] as a human being; a person who is sincere about his love for his family, and love for the country.” Everyone had different things to share about the play but it was all brought together by the idea of Kundiman’s power to unify the Filipino people. Rica Nepomuceno explained further that when Filipinos are struck with a difficult situation, Kundiman songs unify them.
In rallies, people would sing “Pilipinas kong Mahal” or “Ang Bayan Ko” and this essentially deepens the passion they have for what they are fighting for. Through music, bonds are strengthened, communities are created, and social responsibility is awakened. This is what The Kundiman Party is about.
Kundiman songs may be old, but in no way are they irrelevant. Its slow and mellow tunes may be forgotten by the younger generations but the messages these songs deliver are very much relevant which is why this play brings to life the songs of the past and shows the audience just how important they are. Filipinos are faced with a multitude of problems on their plates but they must not forget their land and their duty to her. Themes of nationalism is portrayed in this play and the production only hopes to bring about the best in Filipinos to selflessly serve the country.