Playing the role of a lifetime

Jenara Regis Newman

FOR Emmanuel B. Casquejo, 23, singing is a passion he has nurtured since his high school days when he joined the charismatic community of Lourdes Parish, serving in the music ministry. In college, where he took up human resource development and management, he joined the University of San Carlos choristers under professor Roberto del Rosario.

One day last year, del Rosario, by Messenger, asked him and Karl M. Allanic to go to Colegio de la Inmaculada Concepcion (CIC) to audition for ”Jesus Christ Superstar” under the direction of Benjie Diola. The minute the director saw Emmanuel, he was immediately cast as Jesus without being auditioned (Karl played Pontius Pilate).

As Diola recalled, the group was desperately looking for someone to play Jesus and when he saw Emman, he knew he would fit the role perfectly in looks and physique. Plus, coincidentally, his name Emmanuel is a perfect name for the role of Christ.

For the play’s restaging this month, SunStar LIVE! took the occasion to have a brief interview with Emmanuel:

SunStar LIVE! (SSL): How was it like to be Jesus in “Jesus Christ Superstar”?

Emmanuel B. Casquejo (EBC): I did not aspire to play a big role. To just be part of the play would have already been great, especially with a director like Benjie Diola. But to be Jesus, to act as Him in front of a big audience was a big challenge. And this being an English play was also a challenge as I never did English plays before. This play gives me the opportunity to perform in front of a large audience, and to meet many people I never expected to meet like Cebu Vice Gov. Hilario Davide III, who is Herod, and Philippine Airlines executive Harry Inoferio who plays Caiaphas.

SSL: How did you prepare to act as Jesus?

EBC: To portray Jesus, I had to think like Him; How He would react, especially in His encounter with Judas, with Pilate. And not just in the play—I applied it also in my life... It is the most effective way of playing your role.”

SSL: So how has the play changed your life?

EBC: I learned to manage my time. I’m working as a project control associate in Accenture, I’m serving with the church and this play as well. I learned how to handle my time easily. I learned never to sacrifice rest. And I am also more aware of what others feel. I’m less insensitive. At some point, I cannot avoid that what is okay with me is not okay with other people. All in all, I have not changed that much because in my service with the Lourdes Parish community, we had our Christian formation process.

SSL: With your success in this play, will you pursue a career in showbiz?

EBC: I am not really into showbiz but I love to perform in front of people, especially in front of my family, the source of my strength. When I know they are there, I have to perform better, to give my best.”

SSL: Any other hopes?

EBC: I am open to do more plays so long as it does not conflict with my time at work. Company management has been very supportive of me being in this play, adjusting my schedule to fit the rehearsal times and performances. You know, before this play, I was preparing for an a capella contest. Karl and I belong to an all-male a capella quintet. But the five of us just could not get together and practice because of conflict of schedules at work or school. So we had to back out of the contest. I was really sad about that, not knowing that God had other plans for us, a bigger project than an a capella contest. God really knows what is best for me. He has a perfect way of putting things into place.

“Jesus Christ Superstar” will be restaged by CIC with matinees on March 12, 13 and 14 at 2 p.m. and gala performances on March 13,14 and 15 at 7 p.m. at the school auditorium.