By Jason Paul Laxamana
ANGELES CITY—The eight main actors of Kalam, the Kapampanganovela (Kapampangan telenovela) being produced by Infomax-8 and Kalalangan Kamaru, have been chosen out of approximately 60 hopefuls. They were unveiled last June 14 during the final auditions held at the Kapampangan Center of Holy Angel University, Angeles City.
The story of ‘Kalam’ (a Kapampangan word which means ‘gift’ or ‘blessing’) is a mixture of urban fantasy, action, romance, comedy, and social relevance featuring the struggle of modern day magkukulam (folk witches/healers) in urban Pampanga. It follows the life and adventures of Yubs, a delinquent college Nursing student who, with the aid of both normal and magical allies, reunites with his folkloric roots and enhances his skill in order to counter cases of harmful witchcraft and to prove to society that kulam is not absolutely evil, but a gift that can be used in service of the people.
Grabbing the lead role is Aries Yap of Angeles City, who became a finalist in ‘Close Up to Fame 2’ last 2006.
Reachel Mucho of the City of San Fernando, a Financial Management and Accounting student of the University of the Assumption, gets the role of Dette, a lagayan (spirit seeing) rich girl who captures images of ghosts and elementals through her camera. Mucho became a finalist in the 2008 teen model search Circle of 10.
Freshmen boyband member KC Aldana (former screen name: Roel Aldana) of the same city takes the role of John Joy, a drop-dead-gorgeous but snobbish mangguguna (potion and charm maker) who will become Dette’s object of infatuation.
Mutya ning San Fernando 2006 and Mutya ning Kapampangan 2006 beauty pageant winner Nicolette Henson of San Fernando grabs the lead antagonist’s role. She will act as Albina, the more-than-a-hundred-year-old but still young-looking and pretty ukluban (powerful sorceress) seeking to punish people who discriminate witches. Unlike the typical villainess, Albina does “evil things” in a calm and elegant but cunning and precise manner.
Jayvie Dizon of San Fernando, a Mass Communication student of Angeles University Foundation and a member of its Repertory Theater, takes the role of Kenneth, the uple (illusion master) sidekick of Albina.
Yap, Mucho, Aldana, Henson, and Dizon joins Alex Tiotuico, Raco Del Rosario, and Ms. Edith Chu in the main cast.
Tiotuico, a resident of Angeles City and an Architecture student of Holy Angel University, will act as Kulubasa Kularyut, the 300-year-old loud and comic laman labuad (elemental) who serves as Yubs’ guide in the world of magkukulam. Tiotuico is a theater actor from the Academy of Performing Arts (APA) who acted as Gorio in the stage play ‘Ang Lihim.’
Taking the role of Rhodskie is Del Rosario (son of APA founder Bicong Del Rosario), a Nursing student of AUF and also a theater actor and dancer from APA. Rhodskie is the ghetto ex-boyfriend of Dette who speaks balid (twisted) Kapampangan.
Last but not the least is local businesswoman Ms. Edith Chu, who takes the role of Puring, the mother of Yubs who acts as the community’s fake faith healer.
Before the producers start taping ‘Kalam’ in July, the main actors will undergo acting workshops, personality development seminars, and photo shoots. They will also undergo a crash course on the Kapampangan language to make them more comfortable in reading and speaking Kapampangan lines.
“This is more than a TV show,” the producers said. “It is also an advocacy project seeking to promote Kapampangan culture and language to the people, especially the youth, while showcasing and enhancing the Kapampangans' media-related skills.”
‘Kalam’ is set to premiere on the final week of August, the language month. Visit http://kalamtv.blogspot.com for more information and updates.
[photos of Yap, Tiotuico, Del Rosario, Aldana, and group picture courtesy of Rachel of Enterprise school paper, College of Business Administration, Holy Angel University]