Technical directing workshop at Peta Theater Center Feb. 29-Mar. 2

Technical directing workshop at Peta Theater Center Feb. 29-Mar. 2

Feb. 28, 2016
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Sinag Arts Foundation and the Japan Foundation Manila Office are holding a technical directing workshop from Feb. 29 to March 2 at the Peta Theater Center (PTC) in Quezon City, with Japanese technical director Koga Yuji facilitating the workshop.

International lighting designer Shoko Matsumoto will be coordinating and interpreting. Matsumoto is the lighting designer of Philippine Educational Theater Association's current jukebox musical using the songs of Francis Magalona, "3 Stars and A Sun."

She was active in the Manila theater industry in the late `90s and 2000s, doing the lighting design of productions such as Gilda Cordero-Fernando's "Luna: An Aswang Romance," Trumpets' "Little Mermaid" and "The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe," Tanghalang Pilipino's "Zsa Zsa Zaturnnah Ze Muzikal" and Peta's "Belong Puti," among others.

Matsumoto has trained lighting directors such as Roman Cruz and Joseph Matheu and technical directors such as Ian Torqueza.

Yuji has 40 years of technical directing expertise. He founded his own technical directing company Words in Tokyo and handles plays, musicals and dance shows. He has trained in Broadway and worked on off-Broadway productions.

On the first day of the workshop, Koga will discuss the technical set-up of "3 Stars and a Sun," which is playing at the PTC's Peta-Phinma Theater.

On the second day, he will discuss the varying responsibilities and expectations of a technical director in Japan, the USA and the Philippines, and teach how a technical director conducts a script analysis.

A hands-on component in the afternoon will feature a demonstration of Kabuki stage magic techniques such as quick curtain drops and use of trapdoors.

On the last day of the workshop, Yuji will have an open forum with participants, and another hands-on session in the afternoon on quick set-change techniques.

The Peta Theater Center has events and shows that are separate from the season line-up of the theater company Peta. To know more about its venues for rent and line up of programs and events for 2016, like PETATheaterCenter on

Workshop fee is P4,000, which includes meals. Contact 0917-5260534. PTC is at Eymard Drive, New Manila (street at the back of Quezon City Sports Club), Quezon City. link:

How Sigmund Pecho conjures the magic of shadowplay

How Sigmund Pecho conjures the magic of shadowplay
Feb. 20, 2016
Philipipine Daily Inquirer

Shadow puppet designer Sigmund Pecho's works are seen in two productions this month: Dulaang Unibersidad ng Pilipinas' (DUP) "Tisoy Brown: Hari ng Wala" and puppet theater group Teatrong Mulat ng Pilipinas' (TM) one-day-only staging of "The Bread of Salt."

"Tisoy Brown" is an adaptation of Henrik Ibsen's "Peer Gynt." Jose Estrella directs the translation and adaptation by Rody Vera, where the trolls and other creatures Gynt encounters are replaced with entities from Philippine mythology and folklore.

Pecho's designs help create the supernatural and fantastic world that Tisoy Brown lives in. He's done work with Estrella before, in her direction of "Umaaraw,  Umuulan, Kinakasal ang Tikbalang" (based on Gilda Cordero-Fernando's children's short story "The Magic Circle," serialized in Inquirer's Learning Section in 2009).

"That's actually the show that introduced me to the magical world of shadow puppetry," says Pecho, who is majoring in Theater at UP. The school offers certificate, undergraduate and graduate programs in Theater.

Sigmund Pecho
He was the show's stage manager but also had to be a puppeteer. "The late, great Don Salubayba facilitated a workshop for us on shadow puppetry," he says. Pecho's been hooked since.

He apprenticed for Salubayba and worked on more shows like DUP's "Adarna." Salubayba had been active in shadow puppetry but passed away in 2014.

"His works inspired me to further my learning and to advocate for the magic of shadowplay in the performing arts," says Pecho.

The materials and methods Pecho use to make puppets range from the simple to the high-tech-from cutting his designs on brown craft folder and acetate sheets, all the way to using graphic-design programs like Adobe Photoshop to edit images and even videos.

The limitations of light-blocking materials and light-producing equipment interest Pecho. "It's how we work with what we have that challenges creativity," he says.

"We can definitely use anything to make puppets, any material that can block, refract or reflect light. You explore the characteristics of any material possible."

For light sources, he usually works with overhead projectors and LCD projectors. "Sometimes, you play more with light instead of shadows."

When he's tasked with a new production, he will illustrate storyboards first as a guide in envisioning "the whole experience of the performance, the visual language needed."

For inspiration, he likes to watch "a lot of Studio Ghibli films, critically acclaimed animated videos and the works of artists."

His most recent credit is designing shadow projections for DUP's "Bilanggo ng Pag-ibig" and shows staged by TM(for puppetry festivals in the Asean region).

From book to puppetry
For "The Bread of Salt," Pecho has been working with director Amihan "Ami" Bonifacio-Ramolete, who is TM's company manager and lead puppeteer.

Ramolete's mother, playwright and 2015 Philstage Natatanging Gawad Buhay! honoree Amelia LapeƱa-Bonifacio, founded TM in 1977. Every year, TM stages "Papet Pasyon," the only annual Lenten puppet senakulo (Filipino dramatization of the Passion of Christ) in the country.

"The Bread of Salt" is an adaptation of the short story by National Artist for Literature NVM Gonzales. The show is part of the university's arts month activities this year dubbed "Panahon ng Luwalhati."

"It's challenging to take on a classic short story like this. We have been immersing ourselves with the climate of the 1930s Manila, where the story is set. We are also open to a mixed media-puppetry performance," Pecho says.

"The Bread of Salt" runs Feb. 24, 3 and 7 p.m., Bulwagan ng Dangal, Main Library, University of the Philippines Diliman. Call 9818500 loc. 2659. Visit MulatPuppetTheater on Facebook.

"Tisoy Brown: Hari ng Wala" runs until Feb. 28 at Wilfrido Guerrero Theater, 2/F Palma Hall, University of the Philippines Diliman. Call 9261349, 4337840 or 9818500 loc. 2449. Visit DulaangUnibersidadNgPilipinas on Facebook. link:

Truly, madly, theatrically: 6 couples and how the stage brought them together

Truly, madly, theatrically: 6 couples and how the stage brought them together
Feb. 13, 2016
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Filipino plays and musicals have given us couples such as Crisostomo Ibarra and Maria Clara, Orosman and Zafira, Florante and Laura, Julia and Tenyong ("Walang Sugat"), Ada and Dodong ("Zsa Zsa Zaturnnah Ze Muzikal"), Aileen and Tolits ("Rak of Aegis"), among others.

Love happens, too, to the actors and backstage crews who bring these characters to life. Here are some of them.

Teetin Villanueva and JC Santos: Something to Believe In
It was when JC Santos watched Dulaang Unibersidad ng Pilipinas' (DUP) "Noli Me Tangere: The Opera" that he first noticed Teetin Villanueva in the ensemble.

When they were both cast in DUP's "Adarna," JC declared she was his leading lady.

"I was one of seven Adarna women, so there's favoritism there," Teetin points out. "Then he volunteered to choreograph the piece I was directing for DUP's summer workshop program. That's when we started to get to know each other."

Teetin played lead parts in DUP's "Collection" and "Ang Nawalang Kapatid," and in the ensemble for Atlantis Theatrical Entertainment Group's (Ateg) "The Bridges of Madison County." JC was in Dalanghita Productions' "Kung Paano Ako Naging Leading Lady" and Bit by Bit Company's "Games People Play."

"When I first met him, I thought 'Guwapo. Mukhang Ingglisero!' I discovered later on that he's really very kengkoy," recalls Teetin.

Staged reading of play 'People Power' in Toronto by Carlos Bulosan Theatre

Staged reading of play 'People Power' in Toronto
Feb. 10, 2016

A staged reading of the play "People Power" in Toronto, Canada will commemorate the 30th anniversary of the 1986 EDSA Revolution, which overthrew the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos.

Carlos Bulosan Theatre will present the play, "which follows the events of the revolution primarily from the perspective of regular citizens versus the iconic figures," says CBT artistic producer Leon Aureus.

"The staged reading will be presented with multimedia components," he adds. It will be held at Artscape Sandbox, a new arts center in downtown Toronto.

A panel discussion will follow, exploring how much has or hasn't changed since those days of great hope and inspiration.