Theater, as with most sectors related to the arts and entertainment, has been greatly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Across the country, physical distancing requirements were imposed, curtailing not only public performances but also rehearsals.
Still, the show must go on, and community theater actors go online to cope with the financial and creative setbacks brought by the health crisis.
One of them is Carla Guevara – Laforteza (@carla4teza), who played one of the characters of Joy in Full House Theater Company’s hit musical Ang Huling El Bimbo.
Carla shares that before the pandemic, script readings, music rehearsals, as well as choreography practices, take place in the theater. But now that physical venues have been closed indefinitely, almost all production preparations currently happen via Zoom.
Due to the closures, reductions in revenues also caused devastating effects on organizational staffing and on independent, self-employed professionals.
“Financially, I got lucky because my husband was able to keep his job. But to help out with expenses, I started a small food business where I sold dishes that I cooked to friends and family. As for artistic setbacks, well… kumu happened!” shares Carla, adding that at a time when social distancing is causing great uncertainty for the theater industry in the country, she is happy that she is still able to perform online.
Only recently, she sang with Star Magic singers in a Les Miserables medley for Mister M’s 50th Anniversary tribute on Star Magic Philippines’ kumu page (@starmagicphils). She also starred in The Music of Jose Mari Chan with Gian Magdangal, Shiela Martinez, Johann Gabriele dela Fuente, Vic Robinson, and Rissey Reyes.
“I cannot express my gratitude enough to kumu because it has been a platform for artists like me who eat, breathe, and basically live to perform,” she said.
kumu, according to Carla, has also given artists a place to reconnect with their contemporaries and friends in the industry of entertainment: “We have met new people and gained new friends and supporters on kumu who appreciate what we offer to them as viewers.”
Joining Carla on the kumu platform are her fellow AHEB artists who are also actively streaming their own shows: Reb Atedero, Tanya Manalang, David Ezra, Giob Rodriguez, Topper Fabregas, Boo Gabunada, Nicco Manalo, Phi Palmos, Gab Pangilinan, Lance Reblando, and Bibo Reyes, who are even having their mini-reunions in the Joyride and Gusto Mo Bang Sumama live stream.
“As a bonus, we are able to earn which is a big help especially to those who have no other means of earning a living,” she shares.
Carla also wants audiences to see how much content they can access on kumu, and at the same time, communicate a message that artists are learning to venture into the digital realm to continue to provide people with entertainment despite these uncertain times.
“I learned a lot about the technical side of performing since streaming on kumu, especially during my campaign when I wanted to make sure I had a different theme and content for each stream. I learned how to use a soundcard, how to mix the sound of my mic and music, how to style my backdrop, how to interact with people from all walks of life who watch my streams, and how to basically connect to my viewers and entertain them to the best of my ability,” she shares.
“We theater performers are very passionate and emotional people. So being able to express ourselves artistically by streaming on kumu is a huge help to us. The kumunity’s support inspires us to create and deliver quality content and entertainment full of love, happiness, and energy!” Carla ends.
Download the kumu app and follow Carla Guevara – Laforteza (@carla4teza) to watch their other videos via live stream on kumu.
kumu is a powerful social media platform that brings the voices of Filipinos from all over the globe at the forefront. Aside from presenting users real-time earning opportunities as a live streamer, chances to win cash in various game shows, and engagement in campaigns, kumu also fosters communities that ignite relevant discussions among Filipinos.