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Showing posts from 2014

Period sex farce 'The Country Wife' up next from Dulaang UP

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Period sex farce 'The Country Wife' up next from Dulaang UP 
By Walter Ang
Nov. 8, 2014
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Who will get pinched when a womanizer who pretends to be impotent (in order to get the married women, of course), meets an "innocent" and newly married woman who hails from the province?

Expect a sex farce and comedy of manners to ensue from that premise.

Dulaang Unibersidad ng Pilipinas is staging both "The Country Wife," written by William Wycherley, and its Tagalog translation by Nicolas Pichay, "Ang Misis Kong Promdi," starting Nov. 19 at the Wilfrido Guerrero Theater of Palma Hall, UP-Diliman, under Tony Mabesa's direction.

Martha Comia and Sue Prado alternate as the titular character Margery Pinchwife.

The challenge in this production for Comia, as well as the entire cast, is that they all have to memorize two scripts. All actors cast in the production will do both English and Filipino versions. George de Jesus and Tarek El Ta…

Gantimpala Theater Foundation is looking for a new home

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Gantimpala Theater Foundation is looking for a new home
By Walter Ang
Oct. 25, 2014
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Gantimpala Theater (GT) is moving house again.

Its office and rehearsal space is currently at the Rizal Library of the Rizal Park (Luneta). Not to be confused with the National Library facing Kalaw Street, the Rizal Library is a smaller building between the Planetarium and the Japanese Garden.

The building will be demolished to give way to park renovations. Part of the refurbishing will supposedly include a canopy being built for the park's open-air auditorium, where the Concert at the Park series is held. The Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra is scheduled to perform this month to reopen the auditorium to the public.

Wish list
"We are now on the lookout for a new home. Any referrals would be appreciated," says Jun Pablo, Gantimpala chair and president.

Theater, television and film director and actor Joel Lamangan is Gantimpala Theater's current artistic directo…

On his 27th year as an actor, Roeder Camañag plays Apolinario Mabini

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On his 27th year as an actor, Roeder Camañag plays Apolinario Mabini
By Walter Ang
Oct. 11, 2014
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Roeder Camañag caps his 27th year in the performing arts by playing the titular character in Dulaang Unibersidad ng Pilipinas' ongoing production of "Ang Huling Lagda ni Apolinario Mabini."

Mabini is one of the country's national heroes. He was a revolutionary leader during Spanish colonial rule and was an advisor to the Emilio Aguinaldo-led revolutionary government, later serving as its prime minister.

With the coming of the Americans, he was exiled to Guam by the US colonial government. He earned the sobriquet "Brains of the Revolution" and "Sublime Paralytic," after having contracted polio just prior to the revolution against Spain.

DUP's production, meant to commemorate Mabini's birth sesquicentennial, chronicles the last days of his exile in Guam and explores the conditions that spurred him to return to his homelan…

Pinoy theater productions tour Asian stages

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Pinoy theater productions tour Asian stages
By Walter Ang
Oct. 4, 2014
Philippine Daily Inquirer

This October, Philippine Educational Theater Association's all-male production of "Haring Lear" will tour Taiwan, while Full House Theater Productions' staging of "Priscilla, Queen of the Desert" will tour Singapore. (Full House is the newly established theater company of Resorts World Manila.)

Using a translation by National Artist for Literature Bienvenido Lumbera of William Shakespeare's "King Lear," the Peta production, directed by Nonon Padilla with set and costume design by Gino Gonzales, will be staged Oct. 11-12 at National Taipei University of the Arts.

Lighting design is by Jonjon Villareal and music by Dodjie Fernandez.

(Visit www.artsticket.com.tw or contact +02-3393-9888.)

Japan
Peta also recently staged "Strong Boy, Deaf Boy and a Girl in an Abaya" in Japan, at the Showa University of Music in Kawasaki, as part of the Asian Gem…

Cayabyab-Lumbera’s ‘Noli’ musical to debut in Los Angeles

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Cayabyab-Lumbera’s ‘Noli’ musical to debut in Los Angeles
By Walter Ang
Aug. 16, 2104
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Teatro Pilipino USA is staging a one-night-only performance of the musical "Noli Me Tangere" in Los Angeles this August, with the English supertitles provided by Palanca-award winner Chynna Roxas.

Music is by Ryan Cayabyab and libretto is by National Artist for Literature Bienvenido Lumbera. The world premiere was directed by Nonon Padilla, founding artistic director of Tanghalang Pilipino, in 1995 at Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino of the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

The original cast included Monique Wilson as Maria Clara, Audie Gemora and John Arcilla alternating as Crisostomo Ibarra, Bernardo Bernardo and Bodjie Pascua as Damaso, and Nanette Inventor and Sheila Francisco as Dona Victorina.

TP has had two other directors stage their interpretations of the musical in Manila: Paul Morales in 2005 with set design by New York-based Clint Ramos, and Audie Gemora i…

Gia Macuja bags role of Imelda’s nanny in West End ‘Here Lies Love’

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Gia Macuja bags role of Imelda’s nanny in West End ‘Here Lies Love’
By Walter Ang
Aug. 9, 2014
Philippine Daily Inquirer


Singer Mark Bautista has been cast in the role of Ferdinand Marcos for the West End staging of "Here Lies Love," a musical about the life of Imelda Marcos.

London-based soprano Gia Macuja-Atchison, a former actress with Repertory Philippines and sister of Ballet Manila founding artistic director Lisa Macuja-Elizalde, has been cast as Estrella Cumpas, Imelda's nanny.

The production is scheduled to begin previews on Sept. 30 and will officially open in October at Dorfman Theatre (formerly Cottesloe Theatre) in the National Theatre building.

This follows the casting of Rachelle Ann Go as Gigi in the West End revival of "Miss Saigon," along with Julia Abueva and Tanya Manalang as alternates for Kim.

Bautista was previously in (now defunct) Viva Atlantis Theatrical's "Full Monty" and Tanghalang Pilipino's "Noli Me Tangere."

Cast…

REVIEW: Wit, pathos--and pointed questions--in 'Flipzoids'

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Wit, pathos--and pointed questions--in 'Flipzoids'
By Walter Ang
July 26, 2014
Philippine Daily Inquirer

The peeling wall paint and crumbling papier-maché ornaments in the Music Museum's lobby may have been an indication of the state of its lighting systems. But it was most likely the aftereffects of Typhoon "Glenda" (which had left Manila only the night before) that caused the lights to go off three-fourths into GodInUs Productions' opening night of "Flipzoids."

There was magic in that moment. Actress Becca Godinez paused for one beat and decided to keep on talking. In a play about three lost characters trying to find their way, the darkness was, as one character mentioned, "fraught with symbols."

In addition to the steadfast actors, lighting designer Shakira Villa was also there to save the day, and then some. Several minutes later, her crew was able to get eight PAR lights to work. Even though she was "only" tasked to recreate and m…

REVIEW: Tacky, kitschy, gaudy and fabulous queens (Review of 'Priscilla, Queen of the Desert')

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Tacky, kitschy, gaudy and fabulous queens
By Walter Ang
June 28, 2014
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Let's remember that while Full House Theater Company's staging of "Priscilla, Queen of the Desert," a musical about two drag queens and a transgender woman searching for love and acceptance of self and from others, is being shown in Manila this year, countries left and right have been legalizing homosexual marriage while the Philippines remains the only country left in the entire world that has no divorce proceedings for heterosexual marriage.


Now, speaking of a long way to go, if you are looking for a road trip comedy with '70s and '80s disco and radio pop hits festooned with glitter and feathers, this show delivers.

Literary and theatrical purists needn't fret. If, during Shakespeare's time, male actors portrayed female characters who cross-dress as males, here we have a male actor who portrays a trans woman who dresses up in female drag. How's that fo…

The Diana Vreeland set that got its own applause? That's by Joey Mendoza

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The Diana Vreeland set that got its own applause? That's by Joey Mendoza
By Walter Ang
April 12, 2014
Philippine Daily Inquirer

It isn't every day that a set design receives applause from an audience.

Joey Mendoza's scenery for "Full Gallop," a play about former Vogue editor in chief Diana Vreeland after she'd been axed from the magazine, received applause for every single show in its recently concluded run, staged by Actor's Actors Inc. and My Own Mann Productions, at RCBC Plaza in Makati.

When the curtains rose at the start of the show, audiences invariably burst into spontaneous clapping at the sight of Mendoza's interpretation of Vreeland's apartment.

Mendoza had seen the original production of "Full Gallop" in New York.

"I immediately thought Manila would relate to this easily," he says.

Last year, when he heard there was talk of a Manila run, he got in touch with director Bart Guingona. "He's a friend from way bac…

Tuxqs Rutaquio sings, acts, directs, designs sets and costumes--and collects toys

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Tuxqs Rutaquio sings, acts, directs, designs sets and costumes--and collects toys
By Walter Ang
April 5, 2014
Philippine Daily Inquirer

"I have over a hundred toys in my shelf, most of them in mint condition, never taken out of the boxes. Some are loose for display," says Tuxqs Rutaquio.

The collection began in 2004 with an Incredible Hulk action figure.

"I didn't know why I bought it in the first place, but I remember that it reminded me of my childhood and that I noticed how great the craftsmanship is on the details of the figure," he explains.

"At that time, the only things I collected were the comic books that I'd gathered since the 1980s, 'Uncanny X-Men' and 'Mighty Avengers.' I still have them in near mint condition.

The second piece for his collection was a no-brainer. "I never had a Voltes V toy as a child so that was the first hunt," he recalls.

From there, Rutaquio expanded to other robots from '70s and '80s a…

Hey, Madame Producers! Girlie Rodis and Celeste Legaspi's Musicat

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Hey, Madame Producers!
By Walter Ang
March 22, 2014
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Following the Edsa People Power Revolution in February 1986, the theater industry underwent changes. The Cultural Center of the Philippines saw the exit of Bulwagang Gantimpala (now Gantimpala Theater) and Teatro Pilipino from the complex, and the birth of CCP's resident theater company Tanghalang Pilipino. Gantimpala and TP are still alive and kicking.

In the private sector, a trailblazing theater entity was also born. Though it has effectively gone into semi-retirement, it seems poised for a big comeback.

Talent manager Girlie Rodis and singer-actress Celeste Legaspi remembers that after Edsa, "the euphoria was there"-and so they rode the wave to found Musical Theatre Philippines (Musicat).

The tandem went on to produce seven musicals-"Katy!" (1988), "Kenkoy Loves  Rosing" (1992), "Alikabok" (1995), "Sino Ka Ba, Jose Rizal?" (1996), "Larawan, The Mu…

Lito Casaje, recovering from the Big C, directs 'No Exit'

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Lito Casaje, recovering from the Big C, directs 'No Exit'
By Walter Ang
March 8, 2014
Philippine Daily Inquirer

"No Exit," by French playwright Jean-Paul Sartre, depicts three deceased characters in the afterlife, punished by being locked into a room together for eternity. It is the source of Sartre's often misinterpreted quote, "L'enfer, c'est les autres," or "Hell is other people."

The original title of the play, "Huis Clos," is the French equivalent of the legal term "in camera," referring to a private discussion behind closed doors. It was first performed at Theatre du Vieux-Colombier in 1944. English translations have also been performed under the titles "In Camera," "No Way Out," "Vicious Circle," "Behind Closed Doors" and "Dead End."

Annual celebration
Lito Casaje is directing a production of the play, presented by the French Embassy as part of the Francophonie …

REVIEW: 'Rak of Aegis'--fitful narrative, heart-rending music

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'Rak of Aegis'--fitful narrative, heart-rending music
By Walter Ang
Feb. 15, 2014
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Myke Salomon is able to break apart Celso Abenoja's compositions for seminal rock band Aegis into fun and sometimes funny new arrangements in Philippine Educational Theater Association's "Rak of Aegis."


His rearrangements, like a slower mix of "Halik," lets the lyrics and melodies' emotions flow in ways that rend the heart from new trajectories, but definitely no less potent than Aegis' familiar all-out wailing, face-melting renditions. His electronic dance music piece that samples the same song is light and catchy.

It's more pun in the Philippines with the production's title, a play on the title of the Broadway musical "Rock of Ages," and its setting in perpetually flooded Barangay Venizia, a takeoff from canal-lined Venice.

With book by Liza Magtoto (adding a few lyric changes here and there) and directed by Peta art…