eula valdes

I think one of the many many problems of this show is that the writers seem to have forgotten how to write an interesting, well-rounded antagonist. Season 1 gave us wonderfully crafted characters like Hagorn, Gurna, and Pirena as antagonists – all of which are written to be complex with strengths and weaknesses. Not to disparage Eula Valdes’ skills as an actress (she is certainly doing the most with what is given to her) but her character is quite literally the worst-written antagonist of the series. She is written to be too powerful and too smart with little to no exploitable weaknesses. It makes the story flat and predictable, and as such the writers are compensating by throwing us nonsensical plotlines just to keep the story somewhat bearable to watch. 

What made Season 1 so exciting and so amazing was because there was a real tension between the protagonists and antagonists – it was a push and pull, and no side clearly overpower the other. It made good story because not only we see the protagonists struggle and triumph, but we also see the antagonists struggle and triumph as well. It was well-balanced, and every plotline added, every twist made sense. 

Avria’s whole narrative is hinged on “let’s make Etheria great again,” which is honestly such a weak narrative. Where is her build-up? Where did the tension come from? What is her point in the grand scheme of things? Why is she the way she is? Literally none of these questions are addressed adequately. Instead what we’re watching is an antagonist that does not really enhance the narrative of the protagonists.

I find it increasingly frustrating watching this show as it is now. I wish that with the return of Hagorn (again, another plotline that has more questions than answers) we can come back to watching a more harmonious and logical story.

Wow, just look at this “casting coup” (as Broadway World would put it), that Atlantis pulled for the musical Nine, its followup to the ongoing God of Carnage.

Let’s break it down (from l-r):

  • Ima Castro - Vocal Powerhouse. She was last seen in Atlantis’ In the Heights but of course, the show that really solidified her status as a leading lady of Philippine theater after being gone for so long was Aida. She now plays Sarraghina, the prostitute who teaches a young Guido Contini the ways of the world.
  • Jay Glorioso - Theater legend. She was last seen as Abuela Claudia in “In the Heights” and then before that, as Madame Armfeldt in “A Little Night Music." Tita Jay (as she is fondly called) is the recipient of the Aliw Award for Best Supporting Actress for both shows. Here she plays Guido’s mother.
  • Eula Valdes - Madame Claudia. Sure you can say that she played the fabulous Zsazsa Zaturnnah in Tanghalang Pilipino’s triumphant theatrical run. But we will forever remember, of course, as Amor Powers, Madame Claudia’s nemesis in Pangako Sa ‘Yo. Funnily, she plays the role of Claudia Nardi, film star and muse to Guido Contini in this show.
  • Menchu Lauchengo Yulo - The first lady of musical theater. Menchu reunites with Jett Pangan after sharing the stage together in Next to Normal and directing him in Jekyll in Hyde. Here she will play Jett’s devoted wife, Luisa Contini.
  • Jett Pangan - Rock star and Musical Theater Favorite. Jett Pangan was last seen in Atlantis’ Rock of Ages, and he is of course a member of The Dawn. He will be playing the role of Guido Contini which was played in the film by Daniel Day-Lewis.
  • Carla Guevara-Laforteza - One of Manila’s premiere leading leading ladies. She last played Lucy in You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown, and Olive in Atlantis’ Spelling Bee. Incidentally, she will be playing Carla Albanese, Guido’s mistress.
  • Yanah Laurel - Musical Theater’s up and coming "It Girl.” Yanah last appeared on the Atlantis stage in The Little Mermaid. In Nine, she plays Stephanie Necrophorus, film critic-turned-assistant to Liliane Le Fleur. 
  • Cherie Gil - Multi-awarded film, TV and stage icon. Cherie Gil returns to the stage as film producer Liliane Le Fleur who sings the showstopping Follies Bergeres. She was last seen in POC’s Master Class.
  • Sitti Navarro - Bossa Nova Sensation. She last appeared onstage in Atlantis’ Spring Awakening. She will be playing Lady of the Spa, who narrates Guido’s journey in Europe’s most luxurious where he is hiding from the world.