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Meet Carlos Canlas, The Understudy of Piolo Pascual in Ibarra

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Carlos Canlas is definitely a familiar face to theatergoers, having been active in the scene for more than a decade.

Photo from Facebook (@carlos canlas)

He usually plays supporting and ensemble roles. But, this time aside from playing Alferez in the maiden production of Tanghalang Una Obra which is Ibarra, he is also the understudy for the title role, which means he might replace Piolo Pascual, in case the latter has an emergency and cannot perform.

“Ang mararamdaman siguro ng kahit sinong actor na maging understudy ng isang Piolo Pascual ay ma-pepressure. Na-pressure na ako na Direk, in the production, asked me to be the understudy of Ibarra. Mas na-pressure ako na maging understudy ni Piolo Pascual kasi nga, everyone loves him,” said Carlos.

Photo from Facebook (@carlos canlas)

The Apag actor has previously worked with Piolo in the Filipino adaptation of Flower of Evil. He feels really greatful and privileged to have been given this chance. “Hindi ko yata kakayanin na kumalahati man lang ng level ng pagiging Piolo Pascual, but I feel like I look at it as a good thing on my end because minsan sa buhay ko, naging understudy ako ng isang Piolo Pascual,” he shared.

One may recall that Carlos was also the understudy for Fil-Australian singer-actor Mig Ayesa in All Out of Love: the Musical. When he auditioned for that, he was confident because he knew his voice was a good fit for the musical. For Ibarra, he’s pressured because Piolo is a very popular and well-loved actor in the Philippines.

Photo from Facebook (@carlos canlas)

“Hindi lang sa talent titingin ang mga tao, sa looks also. And hindi ko alam kung paano ko mamimeet yung expectations ng mga tao,” Carlos shared. He actually had doubts if he could bear the weight of being the understudy of “Papa P.”

The actor who moonlights as a licensed financial advisor started his theater career with Repertory Philippines. Prior to that, he was involved in some campus productions. “But, I tried three times to audition to Rep before I got in. Hindi rin biro yung pinagdaanan kong auditions sa Repertory before,” remarked Carlos.

Photo from Facebook (@carlos canlas)

He feels the need to challenge himself, to push his boundaries, given the amount of time he has spent in the theater industry. “This time, I’m not getting any younger, and ipinagkatiwala sa akin ng production na maging understudy so sabi ko, I’m gonna do my best,” said Carlos.

While doing theater, he was juggling guest roles on television soaps, which had one to two taping days: “Naging regular ‘yung taping day ko during the pandemic, nung naglock-in and then na-expose ako sa production na paulit-ulit na lang nila akong kinukuha sa mga shows ng ABS-CBN…hanggang nakilala na ako and may ibang tumatawag if I’m available to do a film with them. So parang, I think, word-of-mouth talaga siya na, I think, nagustuhan nila yung work ethic, and ‘yung performance na ginagawa ko sa mga shows nila.”

Photo from Facebook (@carlos canlas)

Carlos actually finds doing television work more difficult than theater. He is learning a lot from it so he actually enjoys doing it more than theater at the present.

“You need to know your camera. Minsan bibigyan ka nila ng line na mahahaba na you just need to memorize in 10 minutes. Kasi minsan, may mga script na dadating lang on the spot na sasabihin mo,” he shared.

Photo from Facebook (@carlos canlas)

Carlos recently played the tragic patriarch which set things in motion for the characters of Brillante Mendoza’s Apag, an entry to the first Summer MMFF, where the Kapampangan actor played the husband of Gladys Reyes.

His other film and television credits include Pamilya Ko, Maria Mercedes, Ipaglaban Mo, Bagong Umaga, Walang Hanggang Paalam, Marry Me Marry You, Viral, Huwag Kang Mangamba, Love in 40 Days, Hari ng Tondo, and Dear God. He is part of Almost Paradise 2, an upcoming Amazon Prime series.

Ibarra goes onstage at the GSIS Theater from June 8 to 18 – don’t forget to catch it!

*Cover Photo/Thumbnail Photo from Facebook (@carlos canlas)

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