More clearly focused showcase for ‘deserving’ senior stars

Inquirer Libre - Davao - - SHOWBUZZ - By Nestor U. Torre

AFTER a rather long absence from the TV screen, acclaimed actress Lorna Tolentino recently played an “appropriately challenging” role on Maalaala Mo Kaya, which effectively served to remind viewers of her well-honed thespic chops—which shouldn’t be left unused and overlooked for long.

Is a new drama series in the offing for her? Thanks for the timely reminder!

On the MMK episode, Lorna was cast as a thoughtless and addicted mother who ended up being hated instead of loved and admired by her daughter, played by Alexa Ilacad.

Ironically, Alexa’s character ended up making her own share of big mistakes and wrong life choices.

Hurting from her “bad” mother’s real and imagined sins of omission and commission, she ran into the arms of a seemingly loving and caring man—who eventually turned out to be a psychological basket case.

Now a single mother left to her own devices, Alexa had to protect her baby from its demented dad—and this was where her long-derided mother stepped up to the plate, risking her own safety to oppose him.

In finally forgiving her wayward but ultimately dependable and “retroactively loving” mother, Alexa learned a humbling lesson about her own character flaws, which she had previously glossed over because she was so fixated on Lorna’s sins.

The highly dramatic episode efficiently and effectively served as a showcase for Alexa and Lorna’s thespic gifts. It was reassuring to see that, despite the passage of time, Lorna has sustained her dramatic bite and edge.

Alexa was similarly focused and impressive, except for her being rather too stout for her own thespic good.

But, the element that most distracted and detracted from the episode’s full effectivity was the fact that it took so much time away from its main mother-daughter conflict, with its long subplot about Alexa and her ultimately faithless love and life partner.

Perhaps to increase its appeal to young televiewers, the initially romantic subplot was focused on too much and too long, to the detriment of its main thematic point.

We would have wanted to see more of the mother-daughter conflict, instead, because there were less predictable lessons to be learned from it, rather than yet another reminder that unhappy girls shouldn’t take guys’ fervent declarations and protestations of love at face value!

Since Lorna hasn’t been as visible as she should be on the small and big screens, we would have wanted to see her fine-tuning and detailing her dark characterization even more.

But, this fuller focus wasn’t sustained because the storytelling had to play its “young romance” card, while Lorna’s character temporarily faded from view. —Not the way a thespic reminder showcase for a senior star should go.

Let’s hope that Lorna’s new drama series, Victims of Love, which also topbills Julia Montes and Angelica Panganiban, will give her character the more consistently significant importance an actress of her experience and stature deserves.

ARMIN P. ADINA

LORNA

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