Focus shared, instead of firmly fixed
Eula Valdes is GMA 7’s flavor of the year, with two drama series, just-concluded “Princess in the Palace” and the new show, “Calle Siete,” as her back-to-back stellar assignments.
Instructively, however, the two productions are turning out to be radically different, on point of focus and stellar emphasis:
In “Princess,” Eula played no less than the bachelorette president of the Philippines, and the series was firmly focused on her activities, issues and involvements, both official and personal.
The show’s other star, Ryzza Mae Dizon, portrayed a character who shared the series’ title (the “Princess” part), but eventually came up short in terms of thespic ability and thus ended up as an also-ran.
In her new series, however, Eula’s assigned character, an OFW who’s just come back home, appears to be just one of a number of lead players.
Based on the series’ first week of telecasts, other participants include her grandmother (Gloria Sevilla), some teen characters put in for the obligatory “youth factor,” Ryzza Mae playing a new character whose parameters are still unclear, a fitness instructor (Patricia Tumulak) and her ditzy amigas, a gaggle of neighbors, etc.
Christian Vasquez, Eula’s husband, has yet to make his appearance because he’s still working abroad.
Due to the fact that the show took so much time introducing so many coparticipant characters, its top draw, Eula, failed to make her mark in her new starrer.
We hope that the situation will change as quickly as possible so that its focus is firmly fixed on its main female protagonist, instead of being shared with so many other characters and their confusingly varied little subplots.
Perhaps the series’ shared focus is intended, to achieve a more communal, textured and “ensemble” effect—but, the ploy isn’t working.
Eula, who made such a strong, vital and vivid impression in her last show, is a relatively vague and weak presence here, pretty much “nicely” biding her time before Gloria’s character finally confesses to her that she has huge financial problems to face up to and resolve.
As of last June 15, that had yet to happen, so Eula’s character was at loose ends. Ditto for Ryzza Mae, who had to make do with small, sketchily “comical” scenes that did little to firm up and clarify her new acting assignment.
In fact, too much time was taken up in that episode introducing Patricia’s “fitness instructor with serial love problems” character.
We understand that she’s a relatively new discovery who’s being prepped up for stardom, but her “intro” was too unproductively extended for the series’ organic purposes.
Diversity and subplotting are fine, but we should all remember that stories and their conflicts should be clearly developed around a central protagonist, who should be most involved in and affected by the key problems and issues being dramatized, and eventually resolved.