Writing for stage is very different from writing for TV,” quips Gilbeys Z. Sardea who has been writing for ABS-CBN drama shows such as Maalaala Mo Kaya, Your Song, Tanging Yaman, and Habang May Buhay for more than eight years now.
“The process in writing for TV is very tedious. A material needs to go through a long process before it’s produced and aired.” As opposed to writing for the stage, in which the process is not that long. In writing for TV, a script writer has to make each scene worth watching because people might easily switch channels at the touch of their remote controls; whereas when writing for the stage, the author has to give the material time and space to linger.
“I must say, the transition in writing from TV to stage wasn’t that easy,” relates Gilbeys who considers his “Postcard” episode starring Cherie Gil, Perla Bautista and Armando Goyena for Maalaala Mo Kaya as his most personal work yet. In the process, he had to change his writing style and how he envisioned the outcome to be. He adds, “I had to go back to the basics of writing and push my guts more to let all the emotions go into the script that I write.”
On stage, each emotion has to be more intense and bigger because it’s live. In stage sensibility, the story has to be larger than life — so clear and so precise such that when it’s delivered, it will reach all the way to the back of the theater, so that even the deafest and oldest of grandmas will still understand it.
Such was the feat that Gilbeys had taken upon himself to conquer when agreeing to write the full-length musical Fuse, a Filipino musical put together by the Economia Church of Christ (Eco). “My inspiration for writing it was the concerns of the Christian youth today,” he continues. “I am very much alarmed with the problems and challenges that the youth face today. And I want to let other kids and parents know that the youth today have different concerns.”
In writing for the stage, just like for TV, a judicious amount of research is required of the writer in weaving the material together. He recalls a Maalaala Mo Kaya episode he wrote which starred Carlo Aquino, Emman Abeleda, Jaclyn Jose and Ricky Davao where he got to meet the mother whose sons both died one after another because of different illnesses. In Fuse, while Gilbeys was given some initial material to work with, he had to take it upon himself to indulge in a more personal kind of research that gave rise to each character being a composite of the different people he knew.
The musical relates the story of five Christian teenagers with different problems, who like any other teens, rely on their own strengths to face their personal challenges. They soon realize that it is only with God’s grace that they can truly overcome adversity.
Fuse features talents from Eco’s youth ministry The show is directed by Amiel Mendoza, with Nelson Caruncho as vocal coach, Jenny Jamora, Cris Villonco, and Jean Judith Javier as acting coaches, Rycher Christian Alfonso of the Philippine All Stars teaching dance, and choreography by Nhaz Maniego
The show is set for Dec. 4, at the Adamson University, San Marcelino, St. Ermita, Manila at 8 p. m. For tickets, SMS 0917-8271218, or 0922-8175418, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.