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Lance Raymundo brings back memories of "Romeo & Juliet"

One fine day, actor-singer Lance Raymundo thought of digging into his treasure vault cabinet of memorabilia to look for the Jersey Kobe Bryant shirt he wore in one of the scenes in his old movie Fidel (a film he made years ago). He suddenly thought of it because he missed Kobe Bryant, (who died in a helicopter crash early this. He wanted to look at it again and embrace that Jersey shirt with the name KOBE BRYANT printed on it.  



While he was digging on those old memorabilia, a CD disc suddenly flipped and landed on the floor. He thought it was the disc of the movie Fidel. So he picked it up and played the disc on the CD machine. But to his surprise, it was the disc of the play Romeo & Juliet, which he starred as Romeo in the early part of 2000. He just kept the CD.


Just a week ago, before that incident happened, he was interviewed by a blogger who asked him what could be his dream role in a play or a movie if he does another one. And he answered: "I want to play the character Romeo again which I did for Gantimpala Theater Foundation years ago." Maybe the dramatic role of Romeo was engraved in his mind.

And also a week before that, a friend and co-actor sent him a private message on his Facebook page if he still has the video of him in the play Romeo and Juliet. And Lance, who forgot about that CD tape, answered back to his actor-friend that he could no longer remember about that CD tape of Romeo & Juliet.


Then, it all suddenly came back. The accidental flipping of the CD tape of the Romeo & Juliet play.




Lance Raymundo is now out and ready to revive the role of Romeo in William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, a classic work of art.


Negotiations and meetings are now underway with Gantimpala Theater Foundation's in-house director Mr. Jun Pablo to do a revival of the play. This time, it will be a co-production venture with a big company.



Lance speaks of the play.


"It's one of the most memorable acting jobs for me," Lance revealed during a brief interview. "And also one of the most successful acting ventures I had. For Gantimpala Theater Foundation, it was also one of their biggest play hits. The play had many reruns, extensions and clamors. I have many fond memories when we did the play. And many controversies, too.

"I remember, when the late Angie Magbanua was still my manager and I was auditioning for a movie role, I had to sit on a couch and wait for hours," Lance recalled. "While sitting on a couch and waiting, the old classic film version of the movie Romeo & Juliet which starred Olivia Hussey as Juliet and Leonard Whiting as Romeo, I  was being played right there on the TV screen in the place where I was sitting. At first, I didn't quite feel it. But as I continued to watch, I felt so engrossed and captivated with the story of Romeo and Juliet. And I began to love what I was watching.

"I was able to finish the movie and I felt I wanted to play the character of Romeo, may it be a film or a play. When the audition was finished, the late Ms. Angie Magbanua called me up and asked what happened to the auditions. I said it was all alright. As I was about to hang-up the phone, Angie managed to ask me again at the end of our conversation if I was interested to audition for the role of Romeo in Gantimpala's Romeo & Juliet. And I told her, I was just watching the movie! What a coincidence!


"The next thing I knew, I was already auditioning for that role," Lance stressed. "I guess that was the year of 2009. It was direk Jun Pablo who first directed it that year. Then, on the next re-staging a few years later, it was the main man of Gantimpala Theater in person of Tony Espejo who directed it before he died. So, it's been twice already that I acted as Romeo in Gantimpala version of the play."


Anyway, one of the clear memories on Lance's mind were the controversies and incidents that happened along the way when he did the play years ago.



"In one of the performances of the play, my 'thing' stood up and veteran writer Ricky F. Lo wrote about it in his daily column at Philippines Star. The issue became so controversial during that of time," Lance recalled. "It was pretty embarrassing for me then, but accidents like that do happen to actors like me. The second memorable incident was when we almost got burned in one scene. My Juliet at that time was portrayed by Ms. Adriana Agcaoili. She was lying dead in one scene and I was embracing her. Suddenly I felt the hotness beneath her hair. There was fire! A real fire! And it was already spreading in the curtains. So I tried my best to wake up Adriana, who was pretending to be asleep in that final scene. I touched her so that she'll open her eyes. And when she did, she saw the fire and she managed to speak an adlib: 'The fires of hell'! That moment, the fire was all over us already and our director at once ended the scene at once! Ha! Ha! Ha!"


Memories like these last forever. And for the revival of play Romeo & Juliet, Lance is hoping for the best. Romeo is one of the finest characters that the literary world has ever produced. And it's only Lance Raymundo who could best portray it.


Need I say more?

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