- Ma. Elena Louise Adlawan
- Dennis Marasigan
Irma Adlawan (born March 7, 1962 in Kawit, Cavite, Philippines) is a Filipino stage, film, and television actress. She is known primarily for her work in independent films and for her roles in several primetime soap operas such as Maging Sino Ka Man, Precious Hearts Romances Presents: Kristine, and Amaya, among others.
She is currently seen as Mirasol on ABS-CBN's Forevermore.
Adlawan was born in Tondo, Manila, the daughter of Conrada Santonil, a housewife, and Pedro Adlawan, a retired colonel. She attended St. Mary Magdalene School in Cavite and became a student of Speech and Drama at the University of the Philippines–Diliman, having transferred from its Manila campus.
Her first stage role was Helena from Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, which she performed for Dulaang UP in 1983, under the direction of DUP founder Tony Mabesa. He had asked her to audition, and she was subsequently cast. From then on she had become a regular of Dulaang UP, starring in productions such as Chekhov's Three Sisters, Betti's The Queen and the Rebels, Fay and Michael Kanin's Rashomon, and Molière's The Misanthrope, as well as a multitude of other plays.
After UP, Adlawan became a member of Tanghalang Pilipino's Actors Company from 1991 to 1998, performing in numerous stage plays. Some of her most notable roles include a Chinese film producer, based on Regal Films matriarch Mother Lily Monteverde; in Dennis Marasigan's Ang Buhay Ay Pelikula; Zafira in Francisco Balagtas' Orosman at Zafira; Sisa in the Cayabyab-Lumbera musical adaptation of José Rizal's Noli Me Tangere; and Teodora Alonso in Nonon Padilla and Rene O. Villanueva's Teodora. For Buhay Ay Pelikula she was cited as Best Actress of the Year by the Young Critics Circle in 1992, while for Teodora her performance as the mother of Philippine hero José Rizal was praised by National Artist for Dance Leonor Orosa-Goquingco for "[accomplishing] her histrionic feat, her splendid tour de force [with such ease, passion, range, verisimilitude and transparency]."
Some of Adlawan's early mainstream film roles include a victim of incestuous rape in Jeffrey Jeturian's Tuhog in 2001 and a public school teacher in Mga Munting Tinig in 2002, both of which earned her a Best Supporting Actress nomination at the Gawad Urian Awards. Three years later, in 2005, during the advent of digital cinema, she starred in three independent films: ICU Bed #7, where she played Eddie Garcia's daughter; Sa North Diversion Road, which had been adapted for film and had her reprising her role from mid-90s theatre alongside John Arcilla, where they played 10 different couples dealing with infidelity; and Mga Pusang Gala, based on the Palanca award-winning screenplay by Rody Vera and Jun Lana, where she played the role of Marta, a single middle-aged advertising practitioner. She received Best Actress nods for her performances in Sa North and Mga Pusang Gala. She continued to act in indies, playing lead and supporting roles from 2006 onwards. Her performance as Aling Carmen in Ataul: For Rent in 2007 earned her a FAMAS Best Supporting Actress award.
Her early television credits include appearances in Cecile Guidote-Alvarez's Balintataw, Behn Cervantes' Angkan, and Mario O'Hara's Mama. Later on, she would appear frequently in primetime teleseryes such as Sa Dulo Ng Walang Hanggan, Kay Tagal Kang Hinintay, Mga Anghel na Walang Langit, and Encantadia. In 2006, she was cast in the recurring role of Imelda Magsaysay, the mother of Celine Magsaysay (played by Anne Curtis), in the highly successful ABS-CBN teleserye, Maging Sino Ka Man. Her other TV credits include Clara Rivero in Lobo, Margarita Fortalejo-Cervantes in Precious Hearts Romances Presents: Kristine in 2010, Mantal in Amaya in 2011, and numerous guest appearances in ABS-CBN and GMA Network's respective drama anthologies, Maalaala Mo Kaya and Magpakailanman.
While regularly appearing in teleseryes and acting in independent films, Adlawan continued to perform on the stage, and in 2008 she was inducted into the Aliw Awards Hall of Fame for her three Best Stage Actress wins in 100 Hundred Songs of Mary Helen Fee, Speaking in Tongues, and Ang Pokpok ng Ohio. That same year, she starred in Tanghalang Pilipino's production of David Henry Hwang's The Golden Child and alternated with Missy Maramara as Desdemona in Tanghalang Ateneo's adaptation of Shakespeare's Othello. The following year, in 2009, she portrayed the role of Candida Marasigan—which she would continue to reprise four more times in the next five years—in Nick Joaquin's A Portrait of the Artist as Filipino in a staging by Repertory Philippines.
At the 9th Cinemalaya Film Festival, she received a Balanghai Trophy for Best Actress in the New Breed Category for her performance in Transit as Janet, an OFW working in Israel "struggling to keep her family together amid threats of cultural dislocation." She also received a Special Jury Citation for Ensemble Acting which she shares with Ping Medina, Jasmine Curtis-Smith, Mercedes Cabral, Marc Justine Alvarez, and Yatzuck Azuz.
Adlawan married actor/writer/director Dennis Marasigan, whom she met during their time at the UP and with whom she has four children. He has directed her in several of his films: Sa North Diversion Road, Tukso, and Vox Populi. They are separated.
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