The Old and The New
“MARA CLARA” is dubbed as the mother of all Teleseryes for being the longest running top rating daily soap opera in Philippine Television. (1992-1997). The story is the brainchild of writer EMIL CRUZ, JR. who also directed the epic hit.
When news broke-out about the remake of MARA CLARA, I was asked a lot of questions by friends, classmates and Social Media links about who the cast are. Will the story be exactly the same, will the soap also air for 5 years, will the diary finally be found or is there a new diary that will come out? Etc., etc., etc. To all that, my standard reply was, “Sorry, all I know is that they asked the original MARA CLARA cast to come for VTR to promote the new MARA CLARA soap. Watch n’yo nalang, para exciting. Big production yan for sure coz ganun na trend ng soap ngayon.”
Finally, when MARA CLARA aired, the questions stopped coming. Curiosity addressed, questions answered. Solved!!! Within the first two weeks of MARA CLARA, I was receiving comments and comparisons between The Old and The New MARA CLARA.
To those who expressed preference for the OLD MARA CLARA, “on behalf of the original cast of MARA CLARA, maraming, maraming salamat po sa pagtangkilik ninyo sa amin ng napaka-habang panahon."
The treatment of the old MARA CLARA was suited for its time, while the new MARA CLARA is suited for the present, acting style included.
The new MARA CLARA is a powerhouse cast of seasoned dramatic actors - MS. GINA PARENO, MYLENE DIZON, JHONG HILARIO, DIMPLES ROMANA, DESIDREE DEL VALLE, PING MEDINA and CHOCOLEIT GARCIA to name a few. The teen drama princesses KATHRYN BERNARDO and JULIA MONTES are impressively good! KIRAY CELIS is a natural scene stealer! (meant positively)
On comparing the old cast portrayal with the new, my take is, please don’t! ACTING is a uniquely personal craft. Unless the script calls for it, one cannot be totally identical to the other. GLADYS is GLADYS and JULIA is JULIA. Yes, “iba talaga si GLADYS REYES as CLARA,” she is afterall, the “contradiva” of all time. JULIA MONTES as CLARA has her own unique portrayal, which I find refreshing and cute (meant positively too).
GLADYS REYES is a tough act to follow. The same with the late ERUEL TONGCO, who portrayed GARY DAVIES in the old MARA CLARA, and is now portrayed by JHONG HILARIO. To expect actors to clone each others' acting style, kills the artists' soul. Set the creative spirit free. Give them the artistic license to “be” the character, and that will take the audience to a new level of engagement. Set the old, apart from the new. Make the distinction. This is the fastest way to erase a five-year mental picture, that has been so ingrained in the minds of viewers, who “grew-up” watching MARA CLARA. That way, the audience of the old MARA CLARA does not find themselves distracted from time to time, by the flashbacks that compare the new characters portrayal with the old. Both old and new audience can now enjoy watching, as events in MARA CLARA unfold (at a faster pace).