Showing posts from September, 2008

Ballet Philippines' 'La Revolucion' is poignant and powerful

'La Revolucion' is poignant and powerful
By Walter Ang
September 25, 2008

What is most interesting in Ballet Philippines' staging of La Revolucion Filipina is choreographer Agnes Locsin's entrancing dance vocabulary.

Audiences used to classical ballet will not find the usual poses and movements in this showcase of earthy and visceral emotion and strength.

Instead of the usual arms and legs extended to create a 'longer line,' Locsin has her dancers in bent, crooked and contorted choreography and it looks different, yet wonderful. She imbues her dancers with a unique grace and texture.

Some theater fans may remember shades of this kind of choreography from Trumpet's "The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe" and SK Entertainment's "Rama at Sita," two musicals that featured Locsin's choreography.

This different approach is appropriate i…

Art Theater Clinique's 'Pinter Plays' is disturbing and exciting

'Pinter Plays'--disturbing and exciting
By Walter Ang
September 22, 2008

The Art Theater Clinique of Far Eastern University (FEU) presents an edgy, disturbing, and, ultimately, exciting production in its staging of "Pinter Plays." In this "devised theater performance," director J. Victor Villareal has selected scenes from three plays written by Harold Pinter, namely, "The Lover," "The Collection," and "The Homecoming," and does the directorial equivalent of hurling them into a blender and macerating them into a strange and intriguing show.

The intimate FEU Arts Studio where the production is staged sets a claustrophobic tone with its low ceilings. The acting area, deliberately placed under a low-hanging beam (even lower than the ceiling), creates a heightened sense of dread. Dribbles and spatters of red paint on the cyclorama panels and stage floor signal anxiety and foreboding.

Wikipedia notes that Pinter's works "ofte…

Apo Hiking Society: Four decades in the performing arts

Apo Hiking Society: Four decades in the performing arts 
By Walter Ang
September 15, 2008
Philippine Daily Inquirer

The Apo Hiking Society, one of the country's leading music icons, will kick-off a year-long celebration marking their 40th year in the music scene with a pre-anniversary concert titled "Apo of the Philippines" on September 20, 8:00 PM, at the Araneta Coliseum.

The concert will celebrate 39 years of lasting friendship among Danny Javier, Boboy Garrovillo, and Jim Paredes as well as the music that they have shared with Filipinos since their group's inception when they were still in college (which was then known as the Apolinario Mabini Hiking Society).

Paredes is now known more to younger audiences as one of the mentors to a group of singer-hopefuls in the premiere season of reality TV show "Pinoy Dream Academy." Older audiences who grew up with the group will recall that it also hosted several television shows including their own noontime Sunday…

Opera for beginners: 'The Magic Flute'

Opera for beginners 
By Walter Ang
September 15, 2008
Philippine Daily Inquirer

This September, Filipinos who've always wanted to try watching an opera but were too intimidated will finally have a chance to get their feet (and ears) wet with a one-hour children's version of the fantasy-opera "The Magic Flute" by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

"To be honest, even I get bored sometimes when I listen to opera," says director Kokoy Jimenez. With that in mind, he and Karla Gutierrez, the president of the Philippine Opera Company (POC), developed the concept of staging a "colorful, entertaining, and visually interesting" production using black theater, puppets and animation.

"The Magic Flute" tells of Prince Tamino's quest to find the beautiful Pamina, whose image he has fallen in love with. During his search, Tamino gains a sidekick in Papageno, a bird-catcher, and encounters a myriad of weird and unique characters such as the Queen of the Night

Philippines, Japan and Korea stages a 'Tosca,' Asian style

Tosca, Asian style 
By Walter Ang
Sept. 1, 2008 (http://www. pep. ph/guide/2498/TOSCA,-Asian-style)

The Philippine Educational Theater Association (Peta) recently staged a two-day run of "Asian Tosca," an experimental reworking of the opera classic by Giacomo Puccini.

Puccini's opera is based on a drama by Victorien Sarou and tells the tale of the jealous Floria Tosca and her boyfriend Mario during Napoleon's invasion of Rome. The Chief of Police Scarpia uses Tosca to gain information on the whereabouts of the escaped political prisoner Angelotti, whom Mario has helped.

This production, however, transplants the action to Asia. A collaboration with the Black Tent Theater (BTT) of Japan and the Nottle Theater of Korea, the Manila run of "Asian Tosca" is the current incarnation of a series of revisions and adaptations that have been made by the different theater groups involved.

The first "installment" of this multi-group touring production was…

Gossip Boy makes trouble: Tanghalang Ateneo stages Shakespeare's 'Otelo"

Gossip Boy makes trouble 
By Walter Ang
September 1, 2008
Philippine Daily Inquirer

In an age when everyone knows what everyone else is doing, it's easy to dismiss rumors since we hear so much of it all the time.

At the same time, TV shows like "Gossip Girl" shows us how easily technology like cellphones and the internet can help "substantiate" a piece of "news" with photo or video proof, image manipulation or video editing notwithstanding

In Tanghalang Ateneo's staging of Shakespeare's "Othello," audiences see how far hearsay can go when word-of-mouth and actual, tangible evidence are the only two things one has to go by.

In this Filipino translation by Rogelio Sicat and Luna Sicat-Cleto ("Otelo: Ang Moro ng Venecia"), director Ricky Abad and assistant director B.J. Crisostomo partners our tragic hero with his antagonist in a guitar-toting gossip-orchestrating Iago.

Iago despises Otelo, a foreign military general living in …

Joanna Ampil joins Stages' 'West Side Story'

We hear you, Joanna 
By Walter Ang
September 2008 issue
Metro Magazine

If Joanna Ampil had a corporate job, she reckons she'd be a workaholic. But because she is an accomplished musical theater actress who's been based in London's West End for the past sixteen years, she describes herself as a "rehearsal-holic."

"I don't want to waste time," she says. "I really look forward to rehearsing, I love it." After flying to Manila, she went straight to rehearsals the following day for her homecoming musical in the Philippines: Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim's "West Side Story" produced by Stages, a theater company headed by Audie Gemora.

Joanna comes full circle by being able to finally work with Audie, the actor who inspired her to pursue a life on stage. She had seen him perform in a musical when she was younger. "I remember the way he was dancing. He was so free. That was a turning point for me, I wanted to get into th…

Nonoy Froilan is Still on Pointe

Still on Pointe 
By Walter Ang
September to November 2008 issue
Metro Him Magazine

Back in the late 60s, Rafael "Nonoy" Froilan joined the University of the East Dance Troupe as a folk dancer. He also studied ballet and jazz dance, eventually joining one of the country's premiere dance companies, Ballet Philippines.

Tall, lithe and talented, he soon became the company's principal danseur. Career highlights include partnering with Dame Margot Fontaine in a performance for then President Ferdinand Marcos and having a show created specifically for him by choreographer Norman Walker. "It was called `Song of a Wayfarer' and it was staged in Germany. That was the only time in my life where I received 24 curtain calls," Nonoy beams.

Despite retiring in 1993 from twenty years of dance, he has never really left the clutches of Terpsichore. He still teaches dance in several ballet schools, conducts master classes for Ballet Philippines, and is a consultant for the…

Lester Pimentel-Ong teaches The Art of Fighting

The art of fighting 
By Walter Ang
September-November 2008 issue
Asian Dragon Magazine

Imagine a job where all you do all day is asking people to fight with each other. No, it's not being the manager of a boxing ring. Actually, it's a little more complicated than that. Aside from telling them to knock fists with each other, you also have to teach them how to do it while making sure they don't hurt themselves. Oh yes, you'll also need to make them fly on occasion.

All this is what Lester Pimentel-Ong, a freelance TV/movie fight director, does. Having started as a fight coordinator in "a small movie called `Ex-con' years ago," his latest choreography was featured in the recently concluded TV show "Palos," which starred Cesar Montano and Jake Cuenca.

Lester got his mettle as a practitioner of wushu, which, he explains, is actually the generic term for martial arts. "It's what we all used to call kung-fu," he says. His father Ong Chiao …