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Sunday, June 22, 2008

Karylle in control

Eight years is a long time to be away from theater. But that’s how long Karylle has been away from the stage (except for a slight break in recent kiddie play held in a mall).

Once you’ve got it in you, however, you’ll always have it in you. That’s why, eight years after she played Princess Sapphire in Trumpets’ Little Mermaid, Karylle is back on stage.

And just when she thought she missed her chance at bagging the top role of Maria in Stages’ production of The West Side Story, Karylle landed the part — to her utter surprise and joy.

“I didn’t expect I’d land the role,” she admits. “I prepared my audition piece, but I didn’t know I had to hold the higher C for 16 seconds. I did it only for two seconds.”

Good thing she was asked to return for a callback. By then, Karylle was all set to go for the gold. She practiced her notes and held the higher C for 16 seconds.

Plays are right up Kaylle’s alley. She was exposed to stage plays back when she was still in the grades in OB Montessori. She is also no stranger to West Side Story, whose movie version she watched on laser disc (look ma, no pirated video!).

“It’s such a dramatic story, so it appeals to the actress in me. Plus it has such lovely songs, and I love old songs,” gushes Karylle. Needless to say, she can’t wait for the curtains to rise in September, when the play goes onstage at Meralco Theater and continues for eight weekends until October.

Playing Maria entails sacrifices. Karylle had to give up a soap for it. But she’s willing to take the chance, even if stage pays much less than television. Like all artists worth their salt, Karylle won’t pass up this chance to imbibe the discipline of theater all over again.

Besides, Karylle is raring to work with respected people she has grown comfortable with, Audie Gemora, as director and Menchu Lauchengco.

As if that’s not enough, Karylle has her wish list of musicals to appear in: Sound of Music (“I watched it 100 times!) and Little Shop of Horrors.

Meantime, she has many other items on her to-do list. Karylle co-hosts GMA 7’s Pinoy Idol Extra Mondays to Thursdays and Sundays after SOP.

“I’m finding my own style in hosting,” she relates. “I’m a bit more kikay now, and loosening up a bit (the sexy get-ups become her). Doing a show like Pinoy Idol Extra is sort of being like a VJ na hindi. But it’s nice, because you’re allowed to play around a little bit.”

Playing around a little bit is also what she also does in her album in the making: Roadtrip. Karylle is extra proud of the album because it’s a labor of love: proof positive that somewhere within her lurks a budding songwriter.

“I love to express myself in writing,” says Karylle. Her articles in The Philippine STAR prove this, without a shadow of a doubt.

Her yet-to-be-released Roadtrip, as the name implies, contains songs written, well, on the road. Karylle carried her tape recorder everywhere: Baguio, Boracay, Tagaytay, even Australia to come up with the songs. The first track, My Love Will Last, is now even a ringtone.

Every first-time songwriter goes through moments of struggle, the way a brand-new mother experiences birth pains. Karylle’s came when she can’t find just the right word for her song.

The answer, however, came from the most unexpected place: the emergency exit of an airplane.

“I saw the phrase ‘in case of emergency, pull handle,’ and I found the missing word at last,” relates Karylle.

Of course, boyfriend of three years Dingdong Dantes will forever be part of the equation. She is dedicating the love song with the working title Kulang ang Oras, to him.

Her boyfriend has loosened up a lot when it comes to Karylle’s image. Those body-hugging mini-skirts Karylle wears in shows and pictorials bear Dingdong’s approval. You wouldn’t imagine him giving the thumbs-up to those minis when he and Karylle were just starting as a couple. He was conservative back then. And Karylle’s way of dressing reflected that.

After all, Dingdong himself is not wanting in sexy poses. His giant billboard showing him in nothing but his Bench underwear has attracted men, women and in-betweens alike.

At first, Karylle admits her reaction was to pause a bit after Dingdong showed her five of those photos. But she soon got the hang of it and would even asked her boyfriend to slow down his driving while she took shots of his billboard.

The supportive girlfriend gushes, “Even the guys feel driven to work out and have a fit body when they see Dong’s (her pet name for Dingdong) billboards. They know he used to be on the chubby side.”

They’ve had their normal share of disagreements, yes, but not ugly fights. After all, Karylle and Dingdong are not products of a good school (Ateneo de Manila) for nothing. They’re well-bred enough to bite their tongues and discuss things calmly when they think something is going amiss between them.

They often lay bare their souls to each other while singing their hearts out at Centerstage KTV along Morato Circle, Quezon City, which they run with business partners.

Business is so good they’re opening their second branch along Jupiter street, Makati City soon. Karylle assures everyone that the new site — where IO used to be — has a bigger seating capacity.

Yes, you don’t see a single cloud in Karylle’s sky these days. The weather’s bright, the sky is clear.




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