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Showing posts from 2013

Mio Infante's design process for the set of Peta's 'Rak of Aegis'

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'Luha,' 'Basang Basa sa Ulan'-yes, it's a watery world for Peta's 'Rak of Aegis'
By Walter Ang
Dec. 28, 2013
Philippine Daily Inquirer

The music of the popular Filipino band "Aegis" will be featured in Philippine Educational Theater Association's (Peta) staging of its original jukebox musical "Rak of Aegis."

The rock-comedy musical will have songs such as "Halik," "Sinta," "Luha" and "Basang Basa sa Ulan," rearranged by musical director Myke Salomon.

The cast is led by Isay Alvarez-Seña, Robert Seña, Aicelle Santos ("Katy!"), and Poppert Bernadas ("Lorenzo"). Peta artistic director Maribel Legarda will direct.

Inspired by Tropical Storm "Ondoy" and the flooding that came with it, Liza Magtoto wrote a script set in the flooded barangay of Villa Venizia where its residents face compromising situations: natural disasters and broken hearts.

Bright idea
Legarda approa…

REVIEW: 'Maxie The Musicale' – long and loud, but heartwarming

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'Maxie The Musicale' – long and loud, but heartwarming
By Walter Ang
Dec. 7, 2013
Philippine Daily Inquirer

In Bit by Bit Company's "Maxie The Musicale," the irrepressibly ebullient Jayvhot Galang as Maxie and the impossibly handsome Jojo Riguerra as Victor, the policeman that Maxie has a crush on, cut striking, beautiful figures on stage.

Based on the 2005 film "Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros," written by Michiko Yamamoto and directed by Auraeus Solito, the adaptation by Nicolas Pichay follows protagonist Maximo Oliveros, a bubbly tween who knows what he wants and finds ways to get it.

Unfortunately, the musical he inhabits doesn't really quite know what it wants to be just yet. Like a hot mess of a tranny with too many feathers and ribbons, the self-indulgent staging is overly long and overly loud.

Too bad, because the musical is a loving, heartwarming coming-of-age tale that struggles to break out of a closet whose door is blocked by bells, wh…

Fil-Am Eva Noblezada is new ‘Miss Saigon’ on West End

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Fil-Am Eva Noblezada is new ‘Miss Saigon’ on West End
By Walter Ang
Nov. 23, 2013
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Seventeen-year-old Filipino-American Eva Noblezada has been cast to portray the titular character Kim for the upcoming West End revival of “Miss Saigon,” reports The Daily Mail.

Noblezada is slated to do four performances a week while remaining shows will be covered by two understudies once the show opens at the Prince Edward Theatre in May 2014.

Noblezada hails from Charlotte, North Carolina. Her father was born in Guam to Filipino parents.

Earlier this year, Noblezada won Best Actress at the Blumenthal Performing Arts High School Musical Theater Awards for her portrayal of Ariel in Northwest School of the Arts’ production of “Footloose.”

She was spotted by Broadway casting director Tara Rubin when she joined the National High School Musical Theater Awards in New York.

Audition
Noblezada was given a private audition with “Miss Saigon” director Laurence Connor in New York. She aud…

Frencheska Farr: Hopelessly devoted to her…tattoos

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Frencheska Farr: Hopelessly devoted to her… tattoos
By Walter Ang
Nov. 23, 2013
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Singer-actress Frencheska Farr has two tattoos. Instead of visual designs, she has two statements branded on her body.

She got her first tattoo at her nape, “Forever Young,” three years ago on her birthday.

“I really wanted a statement that’s simple yet meaningful to me,” she says. “I searched online for fonts, then I had my tattoo artist copy it.

“I just wanted to feel what it would be like to get a tattoo. I was excited. It was painful but I enjoyed the thrill of it. It made me happy that I got to express myself and I got to do what I wanted to do.”

The second one, “Keep the Faith,” on her inner right wrist, was done this year. “Both tattoos serve as reminders for me as to what and who I am,” she says.

She doesn’t plan on getting a new one anytime soon but is not closed off to the idea.

“Only until I achieve something great. I don’t know when or what great is but I’ll know when I…

Sipat Lawin Ensemble bats for alternative theater with ‘Karnabal’

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Sipat Lawin Ensemble bats for alternative theater with ‘Karnabal’
By Walter Ang
Nov. 16, 2013
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Sipat Lawin Ensemble is hosting “Karnabal: A Def. Defying Festival,” a theater festival featuring groups and solo artists, in alternative performance spaces within Intramuros from Nov. 20 to 24.

“The ‘Def.’ stands for ‘definition,’” says SLE’s artistic director JK Anicoche. “It best explains the mix of programmed performances as transgressing norms and going beyond definitions of art and what it should be.”

Unlike noncurated fringe theater festivals abroad like Edinburgh Festival Fringe and Adelaide Fringe Festival where artists simply apply to join and can perform a wide variety of works, “Karnabal” is a curated festival. Anicoche did the curating along with SLE member Sarah Salazar.

“The festival allows artists to freely test new works and/or develop existing ones, as well as share and generate new audiences for the Philippine performance scene,” he adds.

Main shows

Guelan Luarca tames tricky translations for Eurydice

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Guelan Luarca tames tricky translations for Eurydice
By Walter Ang
Nov. 11, 2013
Philippine Daily Inquirer

"I was delighted. Shocked. Couldn't move. I was shaking," says Miguel Antonio Alfredo "Guelan" Luarca, recalling his winning first place in this year's Palanca Memorial Award for Literature's Dulang May Isang Yugto category.

His "Mga Kuneho," about five men hired by a mysterious employer to transfer a loaded body bag from one room to another, had its world premiere at last year's Virgin Labfest and was chosen to be in this year's "Revisited" set.

Currently wrapping up his Literature in English course at Ateneo de Manila University, the first play Luarca ever wrote and directed, "Lingon," was for Ateneo High School's Palig, an annual competition hosted by the Filipino department.

Since then, he's worked on a few more plays and translated even more. And he's only 22 years old.

Eurydice
He's written,…

The Supremo on the march: productions focus on Bonifacio in 2013

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The Supremo on the march
By Walter Ang
Nov. 2, 2013
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Andres Bonifacio is popularly called “The Father of the Philippine Revolution.” He was a founding member and, later, Supremo (“supreme leader”) of the Kataas-taasan, Kagalang-galangang Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan (Highest and Most Respected Society of the Country’s Children), a secret revolutionary society that fought for independence from Spanish colonial rule.

His colorful life has inspired several works in the performing arts—fitting, in a way, because Bonifacio was a part-time actor who performed in moro-moro productions. He joined Samahang Dramatista ng Tundo and founded El Teatro Porvenir or Teatro Circo de Porvenir (depending on different sources).

Domingo Landicho's book, "Sa Bagwis ng Sigwa: Mga dula sa buhay at panahon ni Andres Bonifacio," is an anthology of his plays about Bonifacio ("Sa Bagwis ng Sigwa," "Unang Alay," and "Dapithapon.").

Jovi Miroy'…

Mailes Kanapi, living with and beyond bipolar disorder

Mailes Kanapi, living with and beyond bipolar disorder
By Walter Ang
November 2013
Look Magazine

Actress Mailes Kanapi had been an insomniac since she was a child. "I had lots of energy. I did everything. I used to do writing projects and I would write really fast. I was always the life of the party. I had extreme courage. I felt like Superwoman. I only hated that I couldn't sleep."

But it wasn't super powers that gave her such an energetic life. In 2006, she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. "It's a psychiatric diagnosis for a mood disorder," says Dr. Ronald Elepaño, chief consultation-liaison psychiatry fellow of The Medical City hospital's Department of Psychiatry. "People with bipolar disorder experience prolonged episodes of mania that alternate with prolonged episodes of depression. Mania and depression are the two 'poles' of 'bipolar.'"

As it turned out, Kanapi had been in a manic state for quite a long time. "…

K-La Rivera learns a lead role in just six days

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How to learn a lead role in six days–take it from K-La Rivera
By Walter Ang
Oct. 26, 2013
Philippine Daily Inquirer

The theater community, practitioners and audiences alike, have been abuzz about an actress who learned a lead role in six days.

When Mikkie Bradshaw fell ill after the Friday opening night of Atlantis Productions’ recent staging of “Carrie,” a musical based on Stephen King’s novel, K-La Rivera was approached to step into the titular role.

Atlantis called her the following Saturday morning, asking her to come in to learn the songs, dialogue and blocking so she could open the show the following Friday.

“I was going to school, it was our finals week,” recalls the actress who’s currently taking up Communications at Miriam College.

“My heart just dropped. I had just watched Mikkie the night before. I was so happy for her when she got the role because I knew she really wanted it. I was devastated for her. I knew how important the role and the show were for her,” Rivera says. “I…

Paolo Rodriguez designs bead jewelry

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He acts with Eula Valdes, Wilma Doesnt –and supplies their bangles, too
By Walter Ang
Oct. 9, 2013
Philippine Daily Inquirer

During a break from rehearsals one day, Paolo Rodriguez found out that some women in the cast were willing to skip a meal in order to save money to buy a pair of earrings.

“I was fascinated by it,” he says. “I started selling accessories that I bought from Divisoria.”
When his clients started to place orders with specific materials and sizes that Rodriguez couldn’t find, he started making them himself. He’s been selling his designs to the theater community since.

“Eula Valdes asked me to make her a big armband. Wilma Doesnt inspired me to make big, big statement earrings,” he says.

He’s peddled necklaces, bracelets and earrings, among other pieces, to coactors in his recent productions such as Philippine Educational Theater Association’s (Peta) “’D Wonder Twins of Boac” where he played Malvolio; Resorts World Manila’s “The King and I” where he was a monk in the e…

REVIEW: ‘Der Kaufmann: Ang Negosyante ng Venecia’–terror made all too real

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‘Der Kaufmann: Ang Negosyante ng Venecia’–terror made all too real
By Walter Ang Oct. 5, 2013
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Pardon the language, but there is no other way to describe Tanghalang Pilipino's staging of "Der Kaufmann: Ang Negosyante ng Venecia" except to say it is a complete mindf*ck.
William Shakespeare's "The Comical History of the Merchant of Venice" has a bunch of Christians turn the tables on Shylock, a Jewish moneylender, over an unpaid debt. Portia, the female protagonist, uses legal maneuverings to defeat him, predating Elle Woods of "Legally Blonde" by centuries.
The tables are turned in a different way in Rody Vera's adaptation. While portraying Shylock as a sympathetic character (versus an anti-Semitist caricature stock villain) started as early as the 19th century, Vera transposes the action squarely onto the event that informs the identification of Jews since the mid-20th century: the Holocaust.
Vera reworks a British play…

Angel Aquino conquers her monsters with ‘Closer’

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Angel Aquino conquers her monsters with ‘Closer’
By Walter Ang
Sept. 28, 2013
Philippine Daily Inquirer

It’s been a year of firsts for Angel Aquino.

A few months ago, she started making her own water kefir—sugar water or juice that has been fermented with grains that contain bacteria and yeasts. “I started out with four tablespoons of kefir grains and now I have five jugs of kefir water,” she says.

Aquino discovered water kefir from a friend and decided to brew her own. “I have friends who are vegetarians and their healthy eating habits seem to be rubbing off on me,” she says. She brings a glass bottle filled with the amber liquid, rich in probiotics and B vitamins, everywhere she goes.

She takes sips from it during rehearsals and tapings for her work in movies and television. This year, she did her first portrayal of a male-to-female transgender character in the film “Porno,” written by Ralston Jover and directed by Adolf Alix Jr. The film was shown in the recently concluded 9th Cinem…

UPLB stages ‘Banwa!,’ based on ‘The Jungle Book’

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UPLB stages ‘Banwa!,’ based on ‘The Jungle Book’
By Walter Ang
Sept. 21, 2013
Philippine Daily Inquirer

The University of the Philippines Los Baños College of Arts and Sciences is staging “Banwa!” by Om Velasco, under Joey Ting’s direction.

“Banwa!” is a translation and adaptation of Edward Mast’s “Jungalbook,” a play adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s collection of stories, “The Jungle Book.”

The book is a collection of stories dealing with Mowgli, a boy raised by wolves in the Indian jungle with the help of Baloo the bear and Bagheera the black panther, and his encounters with the tiger Shere Khan. First published in 1894, the book is now in the public domain and e-book versions can be downloaded for free from sites such as Gutenberg.org and Amazon.com.

Neil Gaiman’s children’s fantasy novel “The Graveyard Book,” is inspired by Kipling’s book while a popular adaptation is Disney’s 1967 animated musical film version of the same title. The movie was adapted for the stage in Chicago (premi…

‘Carrie’–a musical prelude to Halloween

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‘Carrie’–a musical prelude to Halloween
By Walter Ang
Sept. 14, 2013
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Atlantis Productions will stage the suspense-horror musical “Carrie” in the weeks leading up to Halloween.

The musical is based on Stephen King’s best-selling novel (first published in 1974) about a girl who is bullied in school and suffers under a cruel mother. She soon discovers a special power that she wields over her tormentors.

Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo headlines the show as the titular character’s mother Margaret White, while Mikkie Bradshaw (“Rock of Ages,” “Nine,” “Disney’s Aladdin,”) will play Carrie.
An upcoming film adaptation has Julianne Moore as Carrie’s mother and Chloe Grace Moretz (“Hugo,” “Kick-Ass,” “(500) Days of Summer”) as Carrie. Prior to this version, there was a 1976 film adaptation directed by Brian De Palma, starring Sissy Spacek in the title role.

The musical version debuted on Broadway in 1988 with book by the film’s screenwriter Lawrence Cohen, music by Michael Gore…

Noel Rayos–singer, actor, serious bike collector

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Noel Rayos–singer, actor, serious bike collector
By Walter Ang
Sept. 7, 2013
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Noel Rayos doesn't just ride bicycles, he folds them with his bare hands, too.

No, he's not a muscleman who bends metal for fun. Rayos is a versatile actor who is at ease in plays and musicals, comedy and drama, English and Tagalog and once had a bike stolen, even though it was chained and locked.

"I never again owned a non-folding bike that I couldn't bring inside to where I was going," he says.

"My first folding bike was a 12-inch wheel Dahon copy from Zhuhai, Mainland China. I've bought and sold dozens of others since then."

Rayos tread the boards recently as Tenyong in Tanghalang Pilipino's "Walang Sugat," Dasaratha/ Lakshmana in Ballet Philippines' "Rama Hari," (for which he won the 2012 Philstage Gawad Buhay! Male Featured Performance in a Musical) and Princeton/Rod in Atlantis Productions' Singapore run of &quo…

Technical director Ohm David's horror collection

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He has daughters named Anakin and Antigone, and a premium collection of horror toys
By Walter Ang
August 24, 2013
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Growing up in a family of scientists, Ohm David was nicknamed the measurement unit of electrical resistance. "I was already in kindergarten when I realized I had another name, a 'real' name," he says, laughing.

The nickname may have proven predictive for his profession as resident technical director of Dulaang Unibersidad ng Pilipinas. As the job designation suggests, he handles the non-design components of the lighting, sound and set requirements for productions.

"For lights we encounter reading plans, wiring, focusing. For sets, we tackle drafting, reading and making plans, construction, painting."

Aside from hands-on skills, a technical director also needs organizational, administrative and planning skills, he says.

"Technical directors plan a production's technical schedule: when sets are constructed, lights…