Rafa Siguion-Reyna raises the bar for ‘Maynila, Sa mga Kuko ng Liwanag’

October 6, 2017 - 3:27 PM
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Rafa Siguion-Reyna as Imo in 'Maynila, Sa mga Kuko ng Liwanag The Musical.' Right, Rafa in a scene with lead actor Arman Ferrer. (Photos by Jill Tan Radovan/InterAkyon)

When you’ve got actress-scriptwriter Bibeth Orteza for your mother, Carlitos Siguion-Reyna for your father and the inimitable Armida Siguion-Reyna for your grandmother, people are inclined to think that your path has been carved for you and your future, smoothened out.

This isn’t the case with Rafa Siguion-Reyna. Despite belonging to a clan of industry bigwigs, Rafa has had his work cut out for him, and what a huge responsibility it is.

It’s safe to say that Rafa may be accustomed to the finer things in life. As an actor, however, he has to shed that air of privilege, step out of his inherent identity, and get into the role assigned. In the stage adaptation of Edgardo Reyes’ novel “Maynila, Sa mag Kuko ng Liwanag The Musical,” Rafa portrays someone who is very different from who he is in real life—a construction worker.

The challenge doesn’t stop there. As the ambitious but undereducated Imo, Rafa has to sing, dance and act — sometimes all at the same time — in the said musical. He has to balance the mindset of an impoverished dreamer with the youthful idealism of his character. The dance steps aren’t easy waltzes; master choreographer Douglas Nierras made sure there’s enough to get everyone on their toes, literally and figuratively.

Having started in the business as a dancer who eventually ventured into acting, Rafa can most likely get away with the dance routines no matter how difficult, given his previous experience. Since it’s his first Filipino musical however, further preparation was much needed.

Rafa Siguion-Reyna and Khalil Kaimo and the ensemble cast as construction workers in ‘Maynila, Sa mga Kuko ng Liwanag The Musical.’ (Photo by Jill Tan Radovan/InterAkyon)

“It’s important kasi this is my first Filipino musical. The musicals I’ve done—I started in 2013—I started with ‘Grease’ and ‘Saturday Night Fever,’ most are English. I’ve always wanted to do a Filipino musical, it’s a big deal for me.

“I’ve been working on my singing and taking voice lessons. For me it’s important to do this because I want to apply what I’ve been learning to another production. I feel I’m a much better singer now compared to how I was when I started. My voice is just developing. If work that involves singing comes along, I take it as a challenge,” Rafa said in an interview with InterAksyon.

Although he does not have first-hand experience to draw from, Rafa is confident that with the help of director Joel Lamangan, he has been able to do justice to the role.

“It’s a big deal for me to play characters that are different from how people see me. I feel like as an actor, you need that. It allows me to age, to mature as an actor,” he said.

Leading the cast of “Maynila sa Kuko ng Liwanag” are Arman Ferrer as Julio; and Shiela Valderrrama-Martinez and Lara Maigue alternating as Ligaya. The cast also includes Lloyd Tena as Pol, Noel Rayos as Atong, Joseph Puducay alternating as Imo, Aicelle Santos and Rita Daniela as Perla, Jim Pebanco and Joseph Billezar alternating as Mr. Balajadia, Khalil Kaimo as Gido, Jeffrey Camanag as Omeng, Romcel Binquis as Benny, Randy Rey as Frank, and Dulce and Ima Castro alternating as Mrs. Cruz.

Catch the last two shows on Friday, October 5 at 3pm and 8pm.