BWW Interview: DANI GIRL Cast Talks Challenges, Gets Ready For Opening Night, Aug. 10
Manila, Philippines--Michael Kooman and Christopher Dimond musical DANI GIRL is back. Just like its first staging in 2014, also directed by Toff de Venecia, the production emphasizes finding hope amid the world of pain and suffering in the lives of cancer-stricken children.
Opening this Saturday, August 10, DANI GIRL, produced by The Sandbox Collective, features its original cast members Rebecca Coates and Luigi Quesada as Dani and Marty, respectively. Felicity Kyle Napuli and Daniel Drilon will alternate.
DANI GIRL tells the story of a nine-year-old Dani Lyons who refuses to let cancer take over her. Together with her fellow warrior and best friend, Marty, they set on a journey of discovering the answers to questions about the Big C. Not limiting their combativeness and imagination, Dani and Marty engage in lightsaber duels, imaginary game shows, and frequent outer space visits.
For Rebecca, doing DANI GIRL a second time around is personally a lot like starting all over again. "Of course, some of the lines and intentions and Dani's mannerisms stayed, but we've all changed a lot in the last five years and that has, of course, changed our [interpretation of the] characters dramatically."
While Luigi had to unlearn a lot of the habits he built from the 2014 run, as well as all the original technicalities that have changed for this restaging--expressions in the music, perspectives of certain scenes and lines. "When a production sticks to you so much even after five years, what you used to do with it almost feels like second nature. But some things that worked in the original run for me just didn't translate well to me now."
"And I didn't want to replicate my performance, I wanted to deliver something fresh and, most of all genuine. Learning to see things back with a kid's eyes is something that helped me with that. I learned that for this role, it wasn't 'acting like a 10-year-old' or 'acting young' that suited well. It was more on looking for those parts of myself that brought out the authentic childlike youth. Yes! Youth! Haha. It was a rewarding experience when I tapped back into it."
Kyle and Daniel also share the challenges they had to face in creating their characters.
"The greatest challenge of this role would be keeping everything as truthful as possible. With all the medical information in the text, we have the responsibility to tell the story of cancer patients with nothing else but the truth. With the dramaturgical packet provided by Sandbox and the collaboration from our castmates, it has made all of us understand the story better," said Kyle.
Daniel reveals his biggest challenge: "It's my voice, which is constantly changing (thanks, puberty). My voice isn't as high as it used to be, and the vocal range required for Marty is just a little outside my comfort zone. But I've been told that it will settle, eventually.
"It's also a challenge to tell Marty's story, as he goes through as much character development as Dani. It's something that needs to be portrayed. And when it is clear, it hits hard. Marty isn't any older or younger than my previous roles, who were all children. But there's something that sets him apart from them all--he's placed in a situation that seems hopeless, and tries to make the most out of it."
DANI GIRL plays at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium (4F RCBC Plaza, Ayala Ave. cor. Gil Puyat Ave, Makati City) on the weekends from August 10 to September 1, 2019.
Get tickets (P900 to P2,000) at TicketWorld.com.ph.
Photo: The Sandbox Collective