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MANILA, Philippines - BB Gandanghari makes her debut into the world of theater as the lead character in “Halik ng Tarantula (Kiss of the Spider Woman).”
The play is a Filipino translation of the 1976 novel by Argentine writer Manuel Puig about two prisoners who share a cell in a Buenos Aires prison in the '70s.
The Filipino translation was done by multi-awarded Filipino playwright Rene Villanueva.
Love between bars
Gandanghari plays one of the prisoners, Luis Molina, who is effeminate and openly homosexual. Molina is in jail for allegedly “corrupting a minor.”
Valentin Arregui, the other prisoner, is alternately played by hunky actors Jet Alcantara and Jovic Monsod. Valentin is a political prisoner who is part of a revolutionary group trying to overthrow the government.
Though the two men couldn’t be more different, they form a bond of friendship that eventually grows into something more. Molina finds himself falling in love with Valentin.
Unfortunately for the two, things are not so simple. The plot is interwoven with conspiracy, violence and the never-ending search for identity.
Also cast in the play are Richard Quan as Ang Lalaking Arkitekto, Rob Sy as the Warden and Matthew Chang as Violinist.
Prolific theater and film director Soxie Topacio directs the play for a second time. The first was in a 1989 PETA production in which Mario O’Hara starred as Molina and Julio Diaz played Valentin.
Forty-five year-old BB Gandanghari began her acting career as the matinee idol and action star Rustom Padilla.
In 2006, Gandanghari bagged her first role as a gay man in the film adaptation of the comic book “Zsazsa Zaturnnah” where she played Ada, the gay salon owner and alter ego of Zsazsa Zaturnnah.
On March 2, 2006, Gandanghari came out of closet on the reality show “Pinoy Big Brother: Celebrity Edition.”
In January 2009, after arriving from the United States, Gandanghari came out as a transsexual woman. She plans to undergo sex reassignment surgery.
She shed the name Rustom Padilla and adopted the name BB Gandanghari derived from “binibini,” the prefix for a Filipino woman and the Filipino translation of “beautiful king.”
BB is also a reference to her personal motto, “Be all that you can be.”
Here are Rappler's photos from the 'Halik ng Tarantula' press launch:
- With reports by Pia Ranada/Rappler.com
(The play has a limited run set on March 8 and 9, 8pm at the Teatrino in Promenade Mall, Greenhills. For ticket reservations, visit www.ticketworld.com.ph or call 891-9999.)
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