Jerry Donato – The Philippine Star

February 28, 2022 | 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Thespians like Carmina Villarroel are drawn to projects that promise them the prospect of doing something new in their craft.

That’s why when the family drama Widows’ Web landed in her lap, she never had second thoughts about giving it her nod. It will premiere tonight after First Lady on GMA Telebabad.

“First of all, it’s the first suspenserye of GMA,” said Carmina in a recent virtual press conference, “how can I say no to this project. When this was offered to me, I didn’t know who were the other cast members. I was just asked to read the synopsis and I said yes to it right away without knowing everything. The story itself captured my attention. So, gusto ko yung parang ganun, that every time I do something new or every time I do a new project, gusto ko yung ma-e-excite ako pa rin.”

Carmina is stepping into the Barbara role, in which viewers might find similar to her Dulce in Babawiin Ko ang Lahat. “(She’s) not a major kontrabida,” the actress clarified. “It’s just that iba lang siya, iba lang ang kanyang pag-u-ugali ni Barbara, but like I said, hindi naman talaga siya yung kontrabida, medyo may iba lang siyang ugali.”

That Barbara’s unique personality, also learned through collaboration with creatives and close reading of the script, has piqued her interest. Since the character is an uncharted territory, Carmina has taken up the challenge to break it down.

“Every time I have a new project (to do) or a new character to portray, palagi akong na-cha-challenge talaga para sa akin, especially (this time around) I was coming from a show, with Zoren, (Stories From The Heart:) The End Of Us,” said she. As implied, Carmina had to let go of the previous character from her system to get into Barbara’s psyche.

“Siyempre, gusto ko somehow hindi pa rin nila makita yung ako as Carmina,” said she in taking on a role. “This time with Barbara, medyo, hindi naman sa nahirapan, pero parang mas na-challenge ako with this one. The character is not that complicated, pero mahirap lang for me because medyo iba siya kaysa kay Carmina.”

With that, she had to create Barbara from the ground up as envisioned by the creative team early on. Carmina asked the help of director Jerry Lopez Sineneng, associate director Philip Lazaro and the writers to fully grasp her character. Through the script reading, too, she was able to imbibe Barbara.

“I always say that with this one, lahat ng characters namin, lahat ng roles namin magaganda (all our characters and roles were beautifully crafted),” said she. “May kanya-kanya kaming kumbaga kinang. Parang feeling ko hindi mag-wo-work itong character na ito, kung wala yung character nito… I’ve been saying this to our creative team na ang galing nung show kasi kahit apat, wala yung pabida-bida, that this is the story of this (character), that she is the bida here. I don’t know how they made it, but ang galing because all characters shine because (they have their own moments).”

Vaness del Moral, Ashley Ortega and Pauline Mendoza are the other three actresses, who will take on the roles of Hillary Suarez, Jackie Antonio Sagrado and Elaine Innocencio, respectively. Based on the information given to media, the four women will be involved in “a web of secrets, mysteries, and lies.”

During these trying times, the Legaspis are among the showbiz families that remain busy and visible. Mavy was recently seen in the hit romantic-comedy, I Left My Heart in Sorsogon, and launched with Kyline Alcantara as among the five Sparkle Sweethearts.

“It never gets easy,” said Carmina of working in a bubble, away from her loved ones, due to the pandemic, “kasi alam mo naman yung pamilya namin we’re very close, masyado kaming tight. Cassy is now in a lock-in (taping) for First Lady, then I’m also in a lock-in. By the time na lalabas ako, parang mag-lo-lock-in na rin si Zoren. Alam ko na di (muna) kami magkikita. Mahirap, oo, malungkot, oo, but let’s not dwell on that. We want to look at it (from the standpoint that) we are still blessed and we are thankful because we all have work.”

Through gadgets that allow users to make video calls and text messaging, Carmina remains connected with family.

“At least you get excited after your work,” said she, “na uuwi ka na, yun nga lang baka ‘pag uwi ko, di ko makita si Zoren… I want to look at things on the brighter side.”

Since everybody is still adjusting to the new normal and can only hope that the global health crisis will end soon, Carmina said, “For now, we have to live with it… We all have to work… We have to try to live a normal life, yun lang, marami lang extra precautions. Of course, you really have to take care of yourself. Eat well, exercise, try to sleep early, drink lots of vitamins and eat the right food para ma-protektahan mo ang sarili mo.”

Everybody must adapt and move forward like what the popular showbiz “The-show-must-go-on” saying suggests.

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