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Is this a ghost I see before me? Theater artists share their ghost stories

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Yegads! Is this a ghost I see before me?
Theater artists share their ghost stories
By WALTER ANG
Oct. 29, 2016
Philippine Daily Inquirer

When a theater goes dark for the night, a stagehand leaves a lighted lamp on stage. No one knows why anymore, but some oldtimers say it is to keep ghosts away. Others say it lights the stage for the ghosts to play. Whichever theory one adheres to, most people agree: "A great theater is haunted."

So said multi-awarded American director and playwright Emily Mann. For some Halloween fun, here are encounters with stage ghosts and haunted theaters by theater artists.

Adriana Agcaoili, actress, Gantimpala Theater and Dulaang UP. 
When I was a freshman at the University of the Philippines, I was told that one of the theaters had a resident spirit named Marita and that she usually made her presence felt backstage left, especially when a female character was maltreated on stage.

I was doing stage management for a show and I was assigned at backstage l…

Homegrown son Joaquin Valdes takes over Trumpets Playshop

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Homegrown son Joaquin Valdes takes over Trumpets Playshop
By WALTER ANG
Oct. 22, 2016
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Joaquin Valdes was only 13 years old when he first performed in Triumphant People's Evangelistic Theater Society's (Trumpets) "The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe."

He then started taking several years' worth of summer workshops with Playshop, Trumpets' theater training arm.

He didn't just study, though. With other stage credits already under his belt (debuting professionally as a chorus member in Repertory Philippines' "Evita" and then playing the lead in "Pinocchio"), he was tasked to teach classes at Playshop starting at age 14.

"I just really wanted to extend the high I'd get from a show and keep filling my system with as much theater education as I could," he said.

And now at 32, it's his turn to steward a new generation of future professional performers.

Valdes is the new executive director for Pl…

Carlon Matobato is lone Filipino in multinational 'Mahabharata'

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Carlon Matobato is lone Filipino in multinational 'Mahabharata'
By WALTER ANG
Oct. 15, 2016
Philippine Daily Inquirer

"Nganga ako," Carlon Matobato says, when he saw a movement-led staging of "Mahabharata" last year at the Peta Theater Center.

"The performers were so strong and their lines were so clean. I was excited and scared."

Scared because he'd soon be part of the show's next installment. He had auditioned for Japanese director Hiroshi Koike and won the slot as this year's only Filipino in the multinational cast.

Hiroshi Koike Bridge Project's "Mahabharata" began in 2013. Chapters are created annually in a different Asian country; it's intended to conclude with a full-length staging in 2020.

Last year's "Part 2.5" included Manila in its performance tour. This year, Matobato worked with performers from different countries for "Part 3," which was recently staged in Indonesia.

The ancient Ind…

Edgar Allan Poe's 'The Fall of the House of Usher' gets Filipino staging

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Edgar Allan Poe's 'The Fall of the House of Usher' gets Filipino staging
Theater House of Black's adaptation incorporates Baguio's haunted Laperal White House
By WALTER ANG
Oct. 1, 2016
Philippine Daily Inquirer

As a prelude to Halloween, Theater House of Black will stage the suspense-horror supernatural play, "14 Leandro Road," based on Edgar Allan Poe's short story "The Fall of the House of Usher."

The story of two eccentric siblings and their macabre home has been adapted by Jay Crisostomo and CK Bautista. Their adaptation incorporates elements of Baguio's allegedly haunted Laperal White House, which was built in the 1920s and used as a Japanese garrison during World War II.

The house has spawned tales of the lingering presence of those who've been killed in it. (In 2013, it was repurposed as the Ifugao Bamboo Carving Gallery.)

The production will alternate male and female actors for the main roles. TV mainstays Mosang and Migui Mo…