Three theater artists want many ‘one-night stands’ with audiences

Three theater artists want many ‘one-night stands’ with audiences
By Walter Ang

Sept. 26, 2015
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Concepcion, Pineda and Valdes.
Photo by Jaypee Maristaza
Three theater artists have crossed over from being just performers to now producing one-night-only cabarets featuring musical theater artists.

Chinie Concepcion, Micaela Pineda and Joaquin Valdes are cofounding coproducers of the production company One Night Stand (ONS). "But really, we're just 'co-fans' of musical theater," says Valdes.

Formed earlier this year, ONS has since staged several standing room shows. Its most recent show, "Mundong Entablado," a fund-raiser for the Philippine Legitimate Stage Artists Group (Philstage), featured Bituin Escalante, Nonie Buencamino, OJ Mariano, Sandino Martin, Kim Molina, Sweet Plantado- Tiongson and Cris Villonco.

Showcasing talent
The three met through different workshops and productions with Triumphant Peoples Evangelistic Theater Society (Trumpets) as far back as the late '90s.

They not only still work in the industry but also make it a point to watch all of the other productions they aren't part of.

"[Our local productions] are so exciting and the talent is so rich and abundant," says Valdes, whose recent stage credits include FRStage Productions' "Sabel: Love and Passion," 9 Works Theatrical's "The Last Five Years," and Actor's Actors Inc.'s "Red."

Even then, they say there aren't enough productions to accommodate the talent overflow. He points out that, sometimes, the industry's homegrown performers are edged out of roles when companies hire TV or movie personalities for the commercial draw.

"But they are truly more than competent," says Valdes. "We want to give the musical theater industry more light and to bring the underrated triple threats to the forefront. So we set up our own company to produce shows."

Starting small
Their shows are staged at 12 Monkeys Music Hall & Pub in Century City Mall, Makati, Concepcion says, because it "packs in just the right amount of people; not too big and not too small, a crowd but with the right amount of intimacy."

They have the support of fellow theater actor JM Rodriguez, a co-owner of the venue. "We've just started and our focus is on creating quality shows. We're still learning the ropes," says Concepcion.

Concepcion, whose recent credits include Egg Theater's "Maniacal" and 9 Works Theatrical's "Sweet Charity," notes that they all have busy careers outside of producing, and, as such, "this is what we can handle for now." She is touring Kuala Lumpur and Singapore with Atlantis Theatrical Entertainment Group's "Saturday Night Fever."

Pineda does commercial modeling and teaches at University of the Philippines, while Valdes does film direction.

Planning for success
Valdes pitched the company to the two ladies last year when they had just returned to Manila after completing musical theater studies abroad-a bachelor of arts honors class at Lasalle College of the Arts, Singapore, for Concepcion; and a master's degree at University of London for Pineda.

Using only Facebook (where they also post video snippets of past shows) to announce their shows, the group has been able to draw crowds. "We were very nervous for our inaugural show. We didn't know if people would actually show up," says Pineda, whose most recent appearances have been in Upstart Productions' "Into The Woods," Repertory Philippines' "The Producers" and Dulaang Unibersidad ng Pilipinas' "Measure for Measure."

"We are very happy, and a little surprised, at the success we're experiencing, even at this early stage," adds Pineda. "We have never had empty seats, people have had to stand. We get teens, senior citizens, theater practitioners and fans."

They already have a lineup for the rest of the year, but just so that it's more fun for everyone, they prefer to announce upcoming shows one at a time.

They want to remind everyone, though, that it's not called One Night Stand for nothing: "No repeats. No reruns. We do not intend to restage shows. Our goal is to make ONS a monthly habit that people won't want to miss."

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Free admission to Dulaang Laboratoryo's Filipino version of 'Lord of the Flies'

Free admission to Dulaang Laboratoryo's Filipino version of 'Lord of the Flies'
By Walter Ang
Sept. 19, 2015
Philippine Daily Inquirer

This Sept. 25-27, Dulaang Laboratoryo is staging "Coro de los Diablos," Layeta Bucoy's translation and adaptation of William Golding's novel "Lord of the Flies," to be directed by Joey Ting.

The book, about a group of British boys stuck on an uninhabited island and their descent into savagery, was adapted into the movie, "Alkitrang Dugo," in 1975, starring Roderick Paulate and Eddie Villamayor. It was written by Nicanor Cleto Jr., directed by Lupita Concio and produced by Nora Aunor.

For this stage adaptation, Ting and Bucoy will be using dark humor.

"The play will have male and female students on their way to the World Youth Convention during World War III," says Ting.

The challenge for Bucoy was figuring out a milieu for the adaptation.

"The first adaptation didn't work as the dramatic situation became forced," she says. "Thankfully, the students' adviser at the time, José Estrella, helped us identify a more appropriate milieu."

"It's an exploration on leaders and leadership, how leaders are seemingly chosen, the kinds of leadership expected from them and the dynamics of power and altruism."

"The challenge in adapting books is how to make the story move on stage. Novels are rich with narration and description, but the stage calls for action," she adds.

Dulaang Laboratoryo (Dulab) is Dulaang Unibersidad ng Pilipinas' series of thesis productions by students taking certificate or degree programs in Theater Arts under the university's Department of Speech Communication and Theatre Arts.

Ting has a bachelor's and a master's degree from UP and has been part of the director pool of DUP since the '90s.

"I'm usually invited to direct for Dulab since I know exactly what theater faculty members want me to do with the students," he says.

His recent directing credits for Dulab includes "Haring Ubu" (Allan Palileo's translation of Alfred Jarry's "Ubu Roi") and "Elevator Action" (Vladimeir Gonzales' translation of Harold Pinter's "The Dumb Waiter").

"Students can take bigger risks with experimentation since they are still learning. Students have bright ideas and I always learn from them as well," says Ting.

Technical direction is by Ryan Nunez, with set design by Io Balanon, costume design by Mark Mirando, lighting design by Pamela Paige, sound deign by Arvy Dimaculangan and video design by Joyce Garcia.

"Coro de los Diablos" runs Sept. 25-27 at Tanghalang Hermogenes Ilagan, College of Arts and Letters Building, University of the Philippines, Quezon City. Contact 0915-1286401. Like on Facebook (corodelosdiablos). link:

Filmmaker Kanakan Balintagos returns to the stage with his prodigal play

Filmmaker Kanakan Balintagos returns to the stage with his prodigal play, 'Mga Buhay na Apoy' for Tanghalang Pilipino
By Walter Ang
Sept. 12, 2015
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Kanakan Balintagos
(formerly Auraeus Solito)
Kanakan Balintagos (formerly known as Auraeus Solito) won first place in this year's Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature, Dulang Ganap ang Haba category, for his "Mga Buhay na Apoy."

Balintagos sees the win as "magical," a good omen of sorts, as he's currently directing the rehearsals for its debut staging for Tanghalang Pilipino in October. Not to mention that he'd assumed that his copy of the play had been lost.

He'd directed short scenes in class while studying at Philippine Science High School which inspired him to take up theater at University of the Philippines. There, he founded experimental theater group UP Tropa; directed several productions; wrote a play "Esprit de Corps;" and wrote the book and was co-lyricist of the musical "Manhid."

"I even acted for Anton Juan in 'The Bacchae' with Ishmael Bernal," he says.

Shifting visions
Balintagos grew up in Sampaloc, where his mother would put him to sleep with tales of "interwoven myths" from her Palawan childhood. These stories stayed with him and emerged as two plays.

From left: Karen Garelan, Russell Legaspi
and Irma Marasigan
He wrote the first one, "Ang Maikiling Buhay ng Apoy," in 1993 and staged it as his college playwriting-directing thesis.

A year later, he wrote "Mga Buhay na Apoy," but didn't stage it because "it was so personal, my most personal work, I hid it."

After college, Balintagos visited his mother's tribal lands. "I experienced the rituals and the indigenous culture of the Palaw'an people, my mother's roots. I was enthralled by their aesthetics and realized I couldn't capture this in theater. It transformed my mind into a more cinematic vision," he says.

Leaving theater
He may have left theater at that point, but it never really left him.

His first short film, "Ang Maikling Buhay ng Apoy, Act 2, Scene 2: Suring at ang Kuk-ok" (available for viewing on, was based on his play.

His first full length movie, "Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros" (for sale on was adapted into "Maxie The Musicale" by Bit by Bit Company in 2013.

Last year, his musical "Manhid" was restaged by Ballet Philippines; he made a film version of "Esprit de Corps."

It was while digging through his files for the script of "Esprit" that he found his long lost copy of "Mga Buhay na Apoy."

Prodigal play
"It reappeared 20 years later, it's my prodigal play," he says.

And now the prodigal son comes home to theater. "Ironically the main character in this play decides to return to Palawan and now this play has made me decide to return to my first love, theater," he says.

He's also fired up by his Palanca win. "I was so inspired by the energy of the writers at the awarding ceremony!" he adds.

The play had received a staged reading at last year's Virgin Labfest. "It made the audience cry. It made the actors cry during rehearsals. For the actual performance, I told them not to cry until the fourth act, but when the third act came, they couldn't help but cry again," he says.

"Medyo masakit kasi. The family in the play reveals sacrifices they've made just to be able to live in Manila." Mother figures loom large in this play. Irma Adlawan-Marasigan plays the matriarch alongside veteran actresses Malou Crisologo and Peewee O'Hara as other maternal characters.

"Maybe the reason why the play only resurfaced after two decades is that it's now time to tell the story. I'm more mature now as an artist, I can face this play now. I have the distance needed to direct my own family's story."

Far from being bogged down by the memories evoked, "Nag-eenjoy ako sa teatro ngayon nang sobra sobra. Kakaiba. The feeling of directing theater again is deep and profound. The feeling is very spiritual, food for the soul."

Now that he's made the switch back to theater, this time, it's cinema that's trying to pull him back. "My actors tell me that I should make it into a film," he laughs.

"But it was written for theater. I want to test its full potential first on stage. I have a feeling I will be in theater for quite some time again. Manunga banar (for beautiful truths)!"

Music is by Diwa de Leon, set design by Paulo Alcazaren, costume design by James Reyes and lighting design by Dennis Marasigan.

Tanghalang Pilipino's "Mga Buhay na Apoy" runs Oct. 2-25 at Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino, Cultural Center of the Philippines. Call 0917-876-3678 or 832-1125 loc. 1620 and 1621. Tickets also available through Ticketworld at 891-9999 or Like on Facebook (TanghalangPilipino). link: