Posted on 24th June 2010
Last Sunday, June 20, TV viewers were treated to the first television show that featured 3D technology. Party Pilipinas, GMA’s noontime variety show, dazed and dazzled audiences with performances that incorporated ballet, pole dancing and acoustic sessions. The show promises “all-party, all-positive” vibes and plans to party all over the Philippines and hopefully the globe.
Responsible for this feat is UP alumnus Rico Vergara Gutierrez who was recently appointed Director of Party Pilipinas. Rico exudes warmth and energy – like some kind of power source. Even with many television shows to his credit – including Showbiz Central, Take Me Out and Ang Panday – Rico remains unassuming even as he occasionally reveals his colossal goals.
Rico is the type of person of person who is restless unless involved in something meaningful. The rehearsals of Party Pilipinas are full of activity – the lights and sounds are tested, the stage is being set up, the performers are practicing their pieces – and yet Direk Rico remains steady at the helm.
Party Pilipinas in 3D is something important to him. More than trying to out-stage the rival networks in terms of technology and creativity, Rico simply wants people who haven’t experienced 3D shows (3D movies are expensive and only available at certain theaters) to have a taste of the enchanting visual effects of the technology.
His professors at UP Diliman remember Rico as explosive and audacious. He found fertile ground in UP to nourish his artistic ambitions. Even as director of a noontime show watched by millions of Filipinos, he continues to pursue his high artistic ambitions. He fearlessly combines different media forms in order to give his viewers a great party. He understands that Filipinos are positive people who need the barest excuse to celebrate. Appropriating foreign themes and ideas to suit Filipinos’ taste is something Rico excels at. Last Sunday viewers saw singer Kyla falling down a psychedelic rabbit hole and Jaya singing “I’m Kissing You” to a balletic, underwater ambience. In that particular segment, the dancers of Ballet Philippines (BP), doing a number choreographed by BP Artistic Director Paul Morales, highlight Jaya’s excellent vocalizations. And Jaya, positioned off the main stage, for her part sets off the dancers and shows how a real performer can shine even during the quiet moments.
His training in theater is also something that he applies. He wants his actors to wait in the wings, like it is in theater, and be ready for their cues as opposed to the TV practice of actors waiting in their dressing rooms.
When asked, “How do you know that an idea of yours will work?”
His eyes flash with excitement, “Gut feeling, you know? It’s all gut feeling.”
Spoken like the volatile artist that he is. With him we’d like to party on.
Above photo: Rico tries out the equipment.
Above photo: Rico coaches performer Jaya.