Marian Rivera is parlaying her television superstardom into theater, playing a strong woman in her debut with Tanghalang Ateneo. It's a challenge to step out of her comfort zone and deliver deep and tongue-twisting Tagalog lines.
Television's Darna, Marimar, Dyesebel, and Amaya is playing the role of vice president in the vritual play Password: 03d1pu5_R3x, which tackles leadership during a pandemic. It didn't take long for husband, Dingdong Dantes, to convince her to accept the role.
"Actually, nung si Dong po, kinausap po niya ko, 'May big project ang Ateneo play ito.' Sabi ko, wow gawin mo yan, kaya mo yan," Rivera recalled, to which her husband replied jokingly, "Ang masaklap kasi, hindi ako ang gusto nila, ikaw ang gusto nila."
Rivera said she was scared at first, but Dantes told her to overcome it.
"Napakalaking oportunidad ito para sa akin na hindian ko," she told Summit Media journalists.
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Rivera describes her character as "babae na may paninindigan although mayroon namang pusong mamon."
Director Ron Capinding said Rivera's persona fits the character. "Halong down to Earth pero hindi mo kayang tumbahin ang quality, very down to earth pero hindi mo mauuto."
Capinding's adaptation of Oedipus Rex does not refer to specific persons, however, "We are using elements of the present time para mas maintindihan."
Rivera said she found pronouncing deep Tagalog words a challenge. What came in handy: one of her favorite subjects growing up was Filipino.
"Hindi siya ganun kadali kasi napakalalim at napakamatalinghaga," she said.
Rivera said she would tell stories about her theater debut to kids Zia and Sixto until she grows old. "O, nakapag-play yung nanay niyo sa Ateneo."