TP’s Season Opener Impressively Seditious

Define “seditious”?
According to the reliable Merriam-Webster dictionary…it means inciting or causing people to rebel against the authority of a state or monarch.

That is the clear cut premise of Tanghalang Pilipino’s 31st Season opener, Professor Nicanor Tiongson’s “Auelio Sedisyoso” a Rock Sarswela, playing at the Little Theater of the Cultural Center of the Philippines until September 17.

I can still recall a few months ago when this production was in the raw of preparations that included an intimate script- reading session open to the public. The same Artistic Team went on board headed by director Sir Chris Millado, coming off fresh from the highly-acclaimed super polished and refined repeat of “Mabining Mandirigma” featuring Ms. Liesl Batucan in the lead. And how she incredibly nailed it until the end!

The script by Prof Tiongson underwent meticulous revisions trying to include all the juiciest information possible on the colorful yet controversial life of Aurelio Tolentino who’s name and reputation was not music to the ears of the Americans in that particular period in Philippine history. His expertise in historical biographies is truly unwavering.


I was also excited how Musical Director Joed Balsamo would come up with his patriotic yet vocally challenging compositions. I learned from Maetro Joed himself that Sedisyoso was supposed to have a lot of songs than that of Mabining Mandirigma and this time what stands out are ensemble songs.

Promotions for Aurelio Sedisyoso got even more hyped with the surprising inclusion of an award-winning actor in the person of Baron Geisler, tasked to play the role of Tikbalang, an allegorical character, a shape-shifter that takes on the different faces and phases of American colonization.

Sedisyoso also marks Baron’s very first venture into theater after his many years in film and television. Everybody was wondering is he really ready to plunge into theater’s demanding LIVE performances? This is where I put on my give-the-benefit-of-the-doubt hat and let’s give him a genuine chance of proving something to himself and the prestigious theater community as a whole.


I was delighted when the lead role went to a good theater friend in David Ezra, who’s memorable role of Emilio Aguinaldo in Mandirigma is still on top of the list for me. Although opera is his forte, David has this impressive flair of dishing out rock solid and vocally challenging and straining numbers. This makes his famous and iconic mom, Ms. Dulce, truly proud!

Meeting former Rivermaya band co-vocalist Norby David for the first time was an extra sweet treat him having crossed over to theater as well. Aurelio marks his third stage production. I also liked his accoustic guitar duet with David.

And the rap duel scenes were entertaining and gives us a touch of modernism on a historically-based plot.

Majority of the cast in this production are very familiar to me and my awesome theater friends too! Watching such works become extra interesting when you are familiar with its actors thus cheering them on truly results to a more meaningful experience for them as performers.

When I saw Jonathan Tadioan’s version of Tikbalang during opening night, I had no tinge of doubt he would falter or commit an obvious mistake because based on his impressive roles done in the past, I was super confident, this character was a breeze for Tad. I am an eternal fan!


If you haven’t seen this rock sarswela yet, please, please I encourage you to do so. You will be amazed and be entertained on how cast member Sasa Cabalquinto makes all her stage appearances truly felt! She’s a gifted ace dancer to begin with and has a cute sense of humour in one partcular scene involving her, David, Baron, Kakki Teodoro (as Tolentino’s 2nd wife Natividad) with Aurelio’s children Didoy,Corazon and Onsing (remarkably performed by Phi Palmos).

Technical concerns on the lapel microphones were obvious on the first show during opening weekend which was duplicated on its 2nd week. That is something understandable in theater acts but expected it could be restrained towards the remaining shows until closing.

I guess I could award production designer Toym Imao and his genius on how he was able to invert the usual Little Theater stage to be half audience and half performing area which drew us spectators much closer to the theater artists. Impressive on the transformation of the default audience padded seats section bedecked with scaffoldings and an inclined plank (that reminded me of another rock sensation prod of Jesus Christ Superstar) and miniature lanterns.

Costume wise, I miss James Reyes’ genuinely classy steam punk wardrobes and accesories donned during the Mabini run and re-runs.
But I do appreciate how he still presented the cult-like and earthly brown hues and retained the red white and blue and star spangled stateside colonialism impression of the Uncle Sam period.

Kudos to the mastered lighting of Sir Katsch Catoy and his team which complimented GA Fallarme’s resplendent high quality projection design. And Ms Denia Reyes’ superb choreography never fails to impress.
I believe theater neophyte Baron got quite nervous on some of his scenes opposite more seasoned actors but despite that, he still managed to pull through with all his might and heart especially on his song numbers. One could not help but compare his make up and hair to that of Heath Ledger’s version of The Joker. For me he stands out on the beauty pageant portion and his punchlines were just right on time. It was so cool for the rest of the cast and ensemble to really rally behind Baron and make him feel that performing on the Tanghalang Pilipino stage is a remarkable stepping stone to a promising theater career should he decide to accept dramatic roles. Congrats BG!

Bravo and clap clap to the cast and ensemble:
David Ezra, Baron Geisler, Jonathan Tadioan, JV Ibesate, Aldo Vencilao, Blanche Buhia, Joshua Tayco, Eunice Pacia and Monique Nellas, as well as Remus Villanueva, Hazel Maranan, Kakki Teodoro, Norby David (former co-vocalist of Rivermaya), Jing Reyna-Jorge (former vocalist and violinist of Sugar Hiccup), Paw Castillo, Phi Palmos, Alfritz Blanche, Tope Kliatchko, Ali Santos, Sigrid Balbas, Aika Zabala, Sasa Cabalquinto, Raflesia Bravo, Jasper Cabra, and Lian Silverio,

Directed by CCP Vice President and Artistic Director Chris Millado with Book and Lyrics by Dr. Nicanor Tiongson and Music by Joed Balsamo. Completing the rest of the artistic team are Denisa Reyes for Choreography, Toym Imao for Set Design, Katsch Catoy for Lighting Design, James Reyes on Costume Design, GA Fallarme for Projection Design, and TJ Ramos for Sound Design, with Barbie Tan-Tiongco for Technical Direction. Francis de Veyra of Radioactive Sago completes the team as its Musical Arranger.

Remaining shows:
September 16 – 3pm & 8pm
September 17 – 3pm (SOLD OUT)

Tickets thru Ticketworld or call Tanghalang Pilipino at 02 8321125 local 1620 or 1621.

Photo Credit: Tanghalang Pilipino Facebook Page except for the Curtain Call photo.

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Hear Ye! Open Auditions From Tanghalang Pilipino

Calling all local Filipino actors out there…Please read on! Break a leg and see you at the Theater!

#AurelioSedisyoso#TanghalangPilipino#UtakPusoBayan

See You at the Gingerbread House in Repertory’s Hansel and Gretel

hansel & gretel poster

As a child growing up and adoring as much fairy tales as I could, I found the classic story of siblings Hansel and Gretel to be a yummy one because it involved a well-loved pastry…the gingerbread which turned out to an edible house in the story. In my dreams, I can grab a bite of it all I can! In reality, I am thankful a premiere theater company is re-staging it all over again.

Repertory Philippines, the premier producer of thought-provoking and entertaining straight plays and musicals, is launching its Theater for Young Audiences program for 2016, with child-friendly performances of Hansel and Gretel.

“Our children’s musicals are some of our most popular plays, and we enjoy staging performances for them,” shares Repertory’s artistic director Joy Virata. “The stage is a wonderful place for children to immerse themselves in with fantastic stories and wonderful characters.”

hanselFrom August 13 to December 15, 2016, Repertory will stage Hansel and Gretel, adapted from the Brothers Grimm fairy tale, and adapted into opera by German composer Engelbert Humperdinck. The story follows two hungry children sent to the woods by their mother to find strawberries, and are lured into a gingerbread house owned by a wicked witch. It’s a story that many of us grew up with, and with the adaptation and direction by Joy Virata, she promises to transform the fantastic tale for a new generation to enjoy.

Bituin Escalante, Carla Guevara Laforteza, Ring Antonio, and Christine Flores will alternately play the witch, while Cara Barredo, Sweet Buchanan, and Christine Flores will alternately play the Dawn Fairy. The Hansel role will be divided between Joshua Nubla, Allen Orolfo, Mari Yapjoco, Tori Cortez and Nathan Flores, while Gretel will be portrayed by Ella Gonzalez, Ashlee Factor, Michelle Cornejo, and Rayne Cortez.
Joshua Nubla as Hansel Ella Gonzales as Gretel Chino   Veguillas as the Sandman Cara Barredo as the Dew FairyOther roles are the mother, essayed by Natalie Everett, Ayam Eckstein, and Buchanan; the father will be portrayed by Arnel Carrion, Hans Eckstein, Raymund Concepcion, and Raul Montesa; and the Sandman will  be portrayed by Chino Veguillas, Vien Alen King, and Edu Briones.

Repertory’s Theater for Young Audineces, (RTYA) began in 1992 when Virata noticed that children would wait in the lobby for their parents to finish watching a play. She decided to create a show for them, and debuted with a short and simple version of Sleeping Beauty. It went on to become the biggest box office hit in Repertory history.
hansel2“We want children to grow up with the appreciation that theater can be delightful,” ends Virata. “Compared to films, stage plays have a sense of immediacy and intimacy that will draw the viewer in and make them part of the story. This would create an enjoyable experience for imaginative kids.”

Since then, the company has produced children’s theater every year, in line with its mission of producing live theater that is excellent, resilient, and entertaining. Most importantly, it aims to make theater more accessible to Filipino audiences, especially children.

Brought to you by the City of Makati, and Rebisco,  in cooperation with Greenbelt, Ayala Malls, BusinessWorld, Lane Moving & Storage, Art+ Magazine, Philippine Daily Inquirer, TicketWorld, and What’s Happening.com.ph, with TeamAsia as its media partner, “Hansel and Gretel” will open on August 13 and will run until December 15 at the Onstage Theater in Greenbelt 1, Paseo de Roxas cor. Legazpi St., Makati City. For tickets, reservations and showbuying, call Repertory Philippines at 843-3570 or TicketWorld at 891-9999. For more information log on to http://www.repertoryphilippines.phor visit Rep’s Facebook page.

 

 

Tragicomedy TAG-ANI Extended Until September 5 & 6

POSTER - 1EXTENDED!!! 

TAG-ANI 
September 5 & 6 
3PM and 7PM 
1701 The Little Room Upstairs, Landsdale Tower,
Mother Ignacia Ave, Quezon City

Due to the overwhelming response generated for the two-weekend run of ” TAG-ANI”, the play has been extended for four performances set on Sept. -5 and 6 (Sat. and Sun.) with a 3 pm matinee and a 7 pm evening show. Performance venue is at 1701 The Little Room Upstairs, Landsdale Tower, Mother Ignacia Ave. Quezon City

Presented by the Artist Playground,  “ TAG-ANI ” is an endearing love story of two people in their twilight years written by Amelia Lapena Bonifacio as part of the trilogy  Taluhan (Tatlong Dula ng Pag-ibig).

First performed in 1975, “ TAG-ANI ” is a “Tragicomedy” that features two characters in their 70’s who tries to rekindle the joys of love and being in love. The twist in its ending is a piercing truth that resonates the tragedy of those who have fully experienced love and have lost it and those who have never experienced love at all.
a

“ TAG-ANI ” is an interesting story that celebrates love and the idea of being in love in a very odd at the same time fascinating way. In its tale, the power of love to bring meaning to one’s existence is highlighted. The interplay of flirtatious imagery embedded in the poetic lines, mischievous choices of the characters and the vintage courtship dynamics make each moment of the play very compelling.

Multi-awarded actor  Roeder Camanag who is directing this play  noted that “ Tag-ani is Artist Playground’s way of honoring and saluting the efforts and contribution of veteran actors who have devoted their lives to their craft through setting up a performance venue where the full intensity of its spot light is entirely theirs, where every line uttered and movement made are all about them rediscovering the reason why they have committed their lives to their art. Through the wit and wisdom of two veteran actors, Ermie Concepcion and Ces Aldaba the audience will be treated to a fun experience, I had a great time working with them surely the audience will too.”

1 - ERMIE CONCEPCION, PROF. AMELIA LAPENA-BONIFACIO, CES ALDABA AND ROEDER CAMANAG

CES ALDABA  is a veteran actor of talent, range and variety, Ces has played varied roles in different stage plays, TV Commercials, Films & teleseryes. He attended acting workshops at Actors Workshop Foundation (AWF) with Directors Leo Martinez, Lore Reyes and Peque Gallaga as his mentors. Ces practices the Eric Morris “No Acting Please” techniques.

Ces played Blas in his first stageplay, Rene Villanuevas’s award winning play “Hiblang Abo” directed by Director Joe Gruta for Dulaang Balintataw. He had also acted in Bulwagang Gantimpala’s Kanser, Florante at Laura, Romeo & Juliet, Queen’s Jewels, God Stealer and Hiblang Abo to name a few. One of his memorable plays was Calamba 1888, an adaptation by Dr. Amalia Rosales directed by Prof. Dodi Dizon for Polytechnic University of the Philippines students. He feels so proud to have been part of Dulaang UP’s Ang Mrs Kong Promdi (My Country Wife), Dukesa ng Malfi (Duchess of Malfi), Pasyon ni Kristo, Mary Stuart and Ang Tagak (Sea Gull), all under Director Tony Mabesa.
e - ces aldaba
Ces plays Father Mar in the soon to be released Indie Film, ECHORSIS directed by Mr. Lem Lorca. He played the role of Nicolas, the father of Gregoria de Jesus (Oryang) in Enzo William’s Bonifacio. He was also seen in El Presidente as Don Mariano Alvarez.

Ces has also done lead roles in 5 TV commercials and is often seen in the boob tube, the most recent of which are Bridges of Love, Yagit, Dream Dad and Ipaglaban Mo, to name a few.

d - ermie concepcionERMIE CONCEPCION started to act on stage with a minor role from the play of La Casa Bernarda Alba in PETA and followed by many productions of Gantimpala Theatre Foundation: Mother Ignacia, Ibong Adarna, Florante at Laura, El Fili, Kanser, at Silang Magigigting. Theatre Now: Soltera, Café Vittorio at Bernarda Alba. Dulaang UP: Kangkong 1896. Arena Theatre: Juan Luna at Bayaning Huwad. Wisdom Theatre Foundation: Takas, Cecille Guidote’s Balintataw Theatre Group Taghoy ng Troya and Filipino Mobile Theatre: Hiblang Abo. She also became an actress for several Foreign Local Films, TV Soaps, Print and TV Commercials, Corporate Audiovisual Presentations, Documentary Films, Digital Films (Cinemaone, Cinemalaya) and Films Thesis Productions.

For tickets, call or text  0977-3062924.

A very endearing play that every theater enthusiast should not miss! 

September 2017
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