CCP Library and Archives temporarily closed April 1-May 31, 2011

EMC President for Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand David Webster and CCP President Raul Sunico at the media presentation of the digitization project.

The Cultural Center of the Pilippines Library and Archives will be temporarily closed from April 01 to May 31, 2011. It will conduct the annual physical inventory and general cleaning/reorganization of its collection.

I wrote an article a few weeks ago about a donation to the CCP library to digitize its archives:

CCP goes digital with its collection
By Walter Ang

The Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) has received a donation of equipment and software that will be used to convert its entire audio-visual collection on Philippine arts and culture into digital files.

The technology, worth P9 million, will be used in a digitization project that will involve storing, protecting, managing and providing access to the CCP library’s vast collection of national, cultural and historical materials.

The collection dates back to 1970 and consists of approximately 40,000 hours of audio, 30,000 hours of film, 6,500 photos, 28,000 slides and 56,000 manuscripts.

The donor, EMC Corp., is a developer and provider of information infrastructure technology with clients in the banking, telecommunications and transportation industries, among others.

“Poetry, film, music, visual arts and expressions of humanity are all part of a country’s national, cultural and historical heritage and, yet, many of these critical documents and cultural artifacts are at risk of disappearing without the right information infrastructure systems,” said David Webster, EMC president for Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand. “EMC recognizes and supports the protection of such important heritage of the Philippines for the enjoyment and appreciation of future generations of Filipinos,” he said.


Here are additional notes that I made that were edited out of the published article for length: 

The donation includes hardware equipment, the Celerra NS-120 Storage System, which has 18 terabytes of usable disk storage capacity that can eventually be expanded to 32 terabytes.  The system is configured to allow storage expansion for future growth and additional storage requirements including additional IT applications such as CCP's email, finance, human resource and administration operations.

The system will run on the company’s proprietary ApplicationXtender Content Management Software.  The software will allow users to browse and search the digitized files using desktop computers and even web browsers when the information will be made available on the Internet.

Hands-on training will be provided for the CCP’s designated IT and library digitization staff on the proper use and maintenance of the storage system.

“EMC's collaboration with CCP is a natural fit with our core business and expertise around storing, protecting and managing critical digital information assets," said Ronnie Latinazo, EMC Philippines country manager.  “It has been a rewarding challenge to help CCP create a virtual and interactive environment to make information on Philippines' rich cultural past available and accessible to everyone. This is EMC's way of giving back to the community after having operated in the Philippines for the past ten years.”

The CCP was established in 1969 through Executive Order No. 30 to preserve Filipino arts and culture and to promote the development and appreciation of national arts and culture. The documentation of performances and other art forms were accumulated to provide entertainment and educational materials to the public.

"We commend EMC's generosity,” said Raul Sunico, CCP president. “The CCP is honored to be a beneficiary of this digital preservation initiative. It shows EMC's spirit and vision of making technology a vital tool in building a better Philippines and outstanding Filipinos. This partnership will benefit not only this generation but the youth of the future as well.”

And here's info abut the library from the CCP website:
The CCP Library offers facilities and services for research, readings, viewing and listening.  It houses extensive collections of books, magazines, musical scores, manuscripts, cultural events/ performances, photographs, slides, video/ cassette tapes, documentary films, vertical files and special collections of artists.  Services include: Use of print and non-print materials, photocopying, viewing and listening at AV or Music Room, slide duplication, photo reproduction, and documentation, use of indexes/ vertical clipping and assistance in locating and using library materials.  Open Tuesdays through Fridays, 8:00 A.M. to 5:00 PM.  For inquiries, call tel. no. 832-1125 local 1502 and 1503 or email at

What do you think of this donation and the digitization project?  Do you use the CCP library? What are your treasure finds there? Share your comments.

Tanghalang Pilipino's Actors Company free recital March 30, 2011

Tanghalang Pilipino's Actors Company will have its voice and dance recital on March 30, 2011 7pm at the CCP Bulwagang Amado Hernandez. Free admission, pay/donate what you can. For details, contact 09323532499.

The AC is the resident pool of actors of TP and they are given continuous training in voice, acting and dance on top of their acting duties for the company.  This recital culminates classs under Sheen Leem Sanchez (voice) and Susan Decena (dance).

Current members are:
MEMBERS: Riki Benedicto (AC coordinator) and Jonathan Tadiaoan
APPRENTICE: Kat Castillo
SCHOLARS: Jelson Bay, Martha Comia, Dan de Guzman, Regina de Vera, Gino Ramirez, Rayna Reyes, Chic San Agustin, and Marco Viana

According to Dennis Marasigan (former TP artistic director) in his 2007 blog post:
"The Actors Company was created by Tanghalang Pilipino's founding Artistic Director Nonon Padilla as the main acting company for the season productions at the CCP. Among the first members were Fernando Josef, Connie Chua, Alan Bautista, Shamaine Centenera and Nonie Buencamino, and Len Ag. Santos.

Later, they were joined/replaced by Irma Adlawan, John Arcilla, RJ Leyran, Olga Natividad, Gary Lim, Allan Paule, Herbie Go, Marisa Tinsay, and Angela Garcia (Altomonte), some of whom stayed with the company for as long as eight years. Herbie went on to become Associate Artistic Director and until recently, Artistic Director of Tanghalang Pilipino.

More recent members include Tess Jamias, Paolo O'Hara, Jay Espano, Catherine Racsag, George de Jesus III, Roeder Camanag, Joey Paras, Nazer Salcedo, and Marj Lorico.

The usual route for Actors Company members is for them to come in as Scholars first, moving up to become Apprentices, then Members. From the time they become Scholars, they are required/privileged to attend classes in acting, stage movement, voice, script analysis, and other special courses offered -- martial arts and directing have been offered more than once in the past. It is therefore imperative that those who would like to become Members must have the time to devote to the classes and to the rehearsals of plays for the company's season productions throughout the year. Actors Company Members, Apprentices, and Scholars receive allowances and fees for their association with the Company."

What do you think of this recital? Share your comments.

Theaterbatoring DL's May Pakpak ang Oras

thoughts on dulaang laksambayanan's "may pakpak ang oras at iba pang dula ni david ives"
by walter ang
march 28, 2011

Cast of "May Pakpak ang Oras at iba pang
mga dula ni David Ives." Image from the 
DL Facebook account
in american slang, the word “word” can mean “yes”—a general utterance of agreement.  dulaang laksambayanan’s charming staging of “may pakpak ang oras at iba pang dula ni david ives” shows the disagreements that also come with or as the result of (spoken) words.

the group has thoughtfully curated four of american playwright david ives’ one-act plays into a single show.  the title of the first play quickly establishes the wordplay that cuts across all four, a story of two mayflies who realize they only have one day to live: “time flies” (translated to “may pakpak ang oras”).

ives sure is smitten by words.  in fact, his other plays (not included in this show) have titles like “words, words, words” and “the universal language.”

in “may pakpak,” the two mayflies exclaim terms like “carpe diem” and talk about going to “paris,” only to immediately ask each other what those words mean (since they’ve only been alive for less than a day).

words are further deliberated in the second play, “babel, babel… pa’no ka ginawa?” (“babel’s in arms”), with ives’ take on two workers at the construction site of the tower of babel.  as characters break into gibberish without warning nor explanation, confusion and hilarity ensues.

words get their spectacle showcase in the third installment “sure thing,” as a man and woman try to get to know each other as they repeat and revise their lines ad infinitum.

the piece is fun to watch and impressive to see unfold as the two actors go over lines when signaled by a bell that rings faster and faster until it’s a frenzied blast.  one can only imagine the concentration needed by the actors to remember which repetition they’re already at.

it’s a great counterpoint to the first play which deals with a singular chance at love bound by time; this one ponders the possibility of infinite chances to grab love.

while “may pakpak” opens the show with a message of hope, the show ends with “abangan ang susunod na kabanta” (“captive audience”), a trippy cautionary tale of how words (via mass media— in this case, represented by a tv set) can be a dangerous brainwashing weapon.

this one mirrors the second play, highlighting the use of words as weapons of domination and obfuscation.

ives is heavy on repetitive dialogue, something that’s ripe for annoying audiences, but the directors (each play has a different director) pace the show well, adeptly timing the multiple loops for emphasis, for lulls, for set-ups to punchlines, etc.

through collaborative translation, the group allows tagalog and taglish to carry the stories.  the translation presents conversational, colloquial tagalong that fits ives’ quirky humor, though sometimes, the retention of some american cultural markers (for example, mention of three ivy league universities instead of their local counterparts; or the whole bit on walnuts for the last play) sounds/feels slightly jarring.

across these seemingly harmless and funny skits are underlying launchpads of discussion on sexual relations, the finiteness of life, capitalism, exploitation and mass media hegemony. (and of course, academics will invariably analyze the semantics and semiotics that the texts present.)

lead by artistic director joshua so and executive director terrie martinez, all the current members of the group are new (though dl has been in existence intermittently).  this is perhaps why the ensemble gives somewhat unequal levels of performances, but definitely all with conviction, sincerity and the indelible feeling that they’re having fun (which rubs off on the audience).

mark anthony dacena’s original music is fresh and appropriate.  it not so much scores the text as it intertwines with it, highlighting and driving the action forward.

the group wraps up the show with a devised sound-and-movement piece where the entire cast descends on to the stage and repeats key phrases from their respective plays, showing the audience the complex crazy world that we create with and deal in words.  word.

dulaang laksambayanan’s next production is “a season of ten thousand noses”based on the short story by charlson ong, scheduled for april 2011.  contact 0916-4123137 or

What do you think of this production? Share your comments.

Please help the Philippines join the 1st Boston International Ballet Competition on May 12-16, 2011

Candice Adea
The Azkals just won 3-0 against Bangladesh and now qualify for the AFC Challenge Cup, says this article.

Now the Philippines can have another chance to win at another international competition but the country's representatives need help!  Please see their solicitation letter below.

Get a chance to parlay your account(s) in social networking websites to create a real-life, tangible change.  Simply “activate” your network of friends and contacts and pass on the solicitation letter below to the contacts in your account who you think/know might be able to help the dancers. 

Jean Marc Cordero
- Do you know any Fil-Ams (or any-Ams for that matter) in Boston, Massachusetts who can provide free accommodations (and ground transport) for them? Well, and food?
- Do you know any fil-ams in boston who can let them do rehearsals in a warm dance studio prior to the competition?
- Do you know anyone from any airline who can sponsor their airfare?
- Do you know anyone who can sponsor their toe shoes? (toe shoes are super expensive)
- Do you know anyone who can sponsor their vitamins, luggage, roaming charges for their cellphones, videocam to document the trip and allow other dancers to watch their techniques, etc.? 

Please forward this to all your benevolent and financially-capable-of-helping-out friends/contacts in the Philippines and in America (especially Boston) and in the entire world.

Hurry! They don't have much time left! If they don't get the money, they won't be able to go! And no one will represent the Philippines in the competition!

+63917-348-83-13 or +632-832-36-89

Donations can be deposited to this bank account:
Cyril Aran Glory Fallar
BPI savings account # 3133-3351-28

(See their solicitation letter below these last two photos.)
Cyrill Fallar
Philip Rocamora


March 26, 2011

Dear Sir/Madam:

Good day! The Philippines is a very good source of talent when it comes to performing arts. Our singers, actors, and dancers are well-loved and respected around the world for their quality performances. Nevertheless, despite the efforts put in by our performing artists, the Philippines is still striving to keep the country's name afloat in the performing arts map.

To keep this spirit going, the undersigned dancers applied to the 1st Boston International Ballet Competition. We were then preselected from the video elimination round and will continue on in Boston, Massachusetts on May 12-16, 2011. It would be a good way to showcase the artists molded by our country.

However, since most of us dancers are only dependent on our meager salaries, we would like to count on your generosity by helping us with the attendant cost of said competition.

Last year, through the help of benevolent people like you, two of our Filipino dancers garnered recognition in the prestigious USA International Ballet Competition at Jackson, Mississippi. They were able to raise the name of the Philippines in the dance map. Candice Adea was the Silver Medalist while Jean Marc Cordero, the first Filipino male to compete in USAIBC, was a Semi-finalist.

This year, we are adding two more dancers to the delegation: Cyril Fallar, 1st Place Winner, National Music Competitions for Young Artists Foundation (NAMCYA) Ballet Competition; and Philip Rocamora, 3rd Place Winner, NAMCYA Ballet Competition. Considering the level of competition, we will need the guidance of our very own Victor Ursabia, who will serve as our official coach.

We are currently trying to raise 13,200 USD. 
For your reference, below is the estimated breakdown of the projected expenses.

Plane fare (round trip) to Boston, Massachusetts 1,800 USD x 5 persons = 9,000 USD
Accommodation 70 USD x 7 days x 5 persons = 2,450 USD
Food and Transportation Allowance 50 USD x 7 days x 5 persons = 1,750 USD
TOTAL 13,200 USD

We would forever be grateful for your help and that we would strengthen our resolve to do our best to win this competition and make the Philippines proud. Moreover, we will also make it a point to share our experiences and knowledge learned in the competition to fellow Filipino dancers to keep the spirit of excellence and distinction alive.

We are looking forward to partner with you in this endeavor. Thank you very much.

Truly yours,

Candice Adea                                                              
Silver Medalist, USAIBC Competition 2010           

Jean Marc Cordero
Semi-Finalist, USAIBC Competition 2010                     

Cyril Fallar                                                                                     
1st place Winner, NAMCYA Ballet Competition 2010

Philip Rocamora                                                           
3rd Place Winner, NAMCYA Ballet Competition 2007 and 2010  

Victor Ursabia
Official Coach

Contact Information
E-mail Address:                       
Contact Nos.:                                     0917-348-83-13 or 832-36-89

Donations can be deposited to this bank account:
Cyril Aran Glory Fallar

BPI savings account # 3133-3351-28

Tennessee Williams would have been a hundred years old

Tennessee Williams
(Image from Wikipedia)
Elizabeth Taylor has died.

(Taylor is before my time. I realized I have not seen any of her movies at all (although someone told me she was in the "Flintsones" movie, which I vaguely remember watching.).  I've caught the first half hour of "Cleopatra" though and I think I will dig it up this weekend to watch.)

My friend R.I. alerted me to the fact that she had done Broadway when she was alive and that she also did four movies that were based on Tennessee Williams' plays: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958), Suddenly Last Summer (1959), Boom (1968) and Sweet Bird of Youth (1989, TV-movie).

He also told me that the 100th anniversary of Williams is coming soon.  Mr. Williams was born on March 26, 2011).

I have only seen two of Williams' works thus far.  I saw Tanghalang Pilipino's translation/adaptation of "Orpheus Descending" (Orfeo sa Impyerno).  I also caught their English staging and Tagalog translation of "Streetcar Named Desire" (Flores Para Los Muertos).  Orfeo was directed by Jose Estrella while Streetcar was directed by Floy Quintos. If I'm not mistaken, both were translated by Rody Vera.

I've always wanted to see "Glass Menagerie" and "Suddenly, Last Summer."  I want to see "Glass" because it's one of his known works. I've always wanted to see "Suddenly" because I think the title is funny, kekeke, but when I Wikipediaed it, I changed my mind after I found out it's basically two long depressing monologues.

I was also forced to watch (don't ask) the movie "Loss of a Teardrop Diamond," based on one of his short stories.  The movie bored me to tears and I lost two hours of my life and didn't even get any diamonds.  Kekeke.

What are your thoughts on Taylor's movies that are based on plays? What are your thoughts on Williams? Are there any other Tagalog translations of his plays? Share your comments.

Peta's CareDivas additional performances April 1-3, 2011

Caredivas will have additional performances on April 1-3, 8:00pm at the PETA Phinma Theater. Contact 725-6244, 0917-5642433, Regular ticket price: PhP600/ VIP Seats(limited): Php800.

I wrote an "advancer" for this production a few weeks ago.
Peta's `Care Divas'-caregivers by day, showgirls by night 
By Walter Ang
Philippine Daily Inquirer
February 4, 2011

Philippine Educational Theater Association (Peta)'s newest musical comedy-drama "Care Divas" is about a group of Filipino caregivers working in Tel Aviv, Israel during the second Intifada
(Palestine-Israel conflict). Come night fall, they moonlight as glamorous drag queens in a club.

Playwright Liza Magtoto delved into online articles and films on Israeli life, Orthodox Jews and Jewish culture for background material.

"It wasn't enough that we had to show the life of caregivers alone," she says. "We had to ground it to their lives in Israel, the culture there, and the political context, including Intifada. It could be set in Japan or some other place, but there was inherent dissonance when you juxtapose being gay, Jewish culture, Hebrew language, being in Israel, being illegal or legal migrant workers, and the effect of the Intifada on the exodus of Pinoys to Israel."

Multi-Palanca Award winner Magtoto has written other works for Peta, including "Agnoia," "Libby Manaoag Files: Ang Paghahanap sa Puwertas Prinsesas," "ASL Please," and "Rated PG." She has translated Israeli playwright Savyon Liebrecht' "Apples from the Desert," another work grounded on Jewish customs.

Magtoto had also personally interviewed caregivers who came from or who are still in Israel. "Their experiences helped me shape some scenes," she says.

The decision to make this story into a musical was borne out the fact that the characters' "performances" involved singing. However, Peta couldn't afford the royalty fees for songs that are usually sung by female impersonators. "The problem was that if the characters couldn't lipsynch the popular songs, then what would they sing?" she says. "So we composed our own!"

"Care Divas" revolves around Chelsea (Melvin Lee), whose employer teaches her Hebrew; and Shai (Vince De Jesus), haunted by her mother's rejection; both of whom are friends with Kayla (Jerald Napoles alternating with Ricci Chan), Thalia (Dudz Teraña alternating with Jason Barcial) and Jonee (Phil Noble alternating with Buddy Caramat).

The characters, despite the glitter and show involved in their drag queen personas and performances, struggle with cultural differences, alienation and loneliness. "They are always alert, constantly fearing deportation and war," Magtoto says.

It was clear to the Peta collaborators, which include Peta artistic director Maribel Legarda as the musical's director and Vince De Jesus as the lyricist, composer and musical director, that they didn't want to portray stereotypes.

"At first, we even considered not having a love story angle, but then, we have to acknowledge that that is just human!" says Magtoto.

"Truth is, there's as much, if not more, drama in the musical as there is comedy. But the Pinoys' resiliency shines through in any form! We tackle our problems with laughter. That's not to say we want to escape from it, though. It's in this spirit that we celebrate the Pinoy `care divas' abroad."

Magtoto hopes that audiences will appreciate the musical's layers of themes that include migration, homelessness, tolerance, and identity, among others.

"Hopefully, audiences see how `Care Divas' portrays the strength of the human spirit, the way we adapt and rise above difficult circumstances and actualize our full being. Hopefully, it expands our perspectives and questions long-held prejudices -- how we `look' at gays, migrants, women, being Palestinian or being Jewish.

"I'm not saying this musical will end wars, but perhaps it could help open minds. I'm hoping, it could make one proud of one's identity while respecting others and being tolerant as well.

"But I'm not comfortable about giving away what I want to say about the musical because I want to encourage varied interpretations and discussions among the audiences as to how they may `read' the material."

Cast includes Cecilia Garrucho, Paul Holmes, Myke Salomon, Angeli Bayani, Eric Dela Cruz, Miguel Hidalgo and Dom Miclat-Janssen. Collaborators include costume designer John Abul, lighting designer Jon Jon Villareal, set designer Leo Abaya and choreographer Carlon Matobato.

"Care Divas" runs from Feb. 4 to March 13 at Peta Theater Center every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 10:00 A.M. and 3:00 P.M.. Call 725-6244, 410-0821 or 0917-564-2433 or email

Also published online:,_showgirls_by_night

What do you think of this production? Share your comments.

Co.ERASGA's free Studio Process featuring EXpose March 25, 2011

Media release from Co.Erasga

Co.ERASGA's free Studio Process featuring EXpose March 25, 2011

View Co.ERASGA's newest creation in an open studio setting this Friday, March 25th at 1:00pm. Part of Co.ERASGA's residency with the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts, this is a great opportunity to engage the artists in dialogue and to see Filipino-Canadian Alvin Erasga Tolentino and Martin Inthamoussú as they work to develop and shape EXpose.

Free Event
Date: March 25, 2011, 1:00pm - 2:00pm
Venue: Studio 200, 2nd Floor, Shadbolt Center for the Arts
Location: 6450 Deer Lake Avenue, Burnaby BC
For more information:

EXpose: World Premiere April 14-16, 2011
Presented as part of The Dance Centre's Global Dance Connections series, EXpose premieres April 14-16. A new collaboration between Vancouver's own Alvin Erasga Tolentino, Artistic Director of Co. ERASGA, whose sophisticated works have toured around the world and Martin Inthamoussú, a driving force in Uruguay's contemporary dance scene, whose passionate works grapple with provocative socio-political ideas.

These two charismatic performers seek to expose the complexity of the personal and public territories within the gay psyche, creating a spellbinding theatrical and physical dialogue. The work also features an original score by Marc Stewart, with lighting design by Phil Birkby.

EXpose (World Premiere)
Dates: April 14-16, 2011, 8:00pm,
post-show artist talkback April 15
Venue: Scotiabank Dance Centre
Location: 677 Davie Street, Vancouver BC
Tickets: $28/$20 (students & Seniors) from Tickets Tonight
604.687-2787 or

Founded by critically acclaimed choreographer Alvin Erasga Tolentino in 2000, Co.ERASGA addresses themes of identity and ethnicity in a global context through contemporary dance.
Through presentation programming, touring, educational outreach and exchanges the organization fosters research, creation and productions of original dance works.

Do you know of any Filipino performers or groups outside of the Philippines? Let us know so that Theaterbator blog by Walter Ang can feature their announcements.

World Theater Day March 27, 2011

Happy World Theater Day!

World Theater Day was created by the International Theatre Institute in 1961 in order to celebrate theatre around the world. It is celebrated annually on the 27th of  March by ITI Centres and the international theatre community.

Various national and international theatre events are organized to mark this occasion and World Theatre Day is celebrated by ITI National Centres of which there are now almost 100 throughout the world.

The International Theatre Institute (ITI), an international non-governmental organization (NGO) was founded in Prague in 1948 by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) and the international theatre community.  A worldwide network, ITI aims “to promote international exchange of knowledge and practice in theatre arts (drama, dance, music theatre) in order to consolidate peace and solidarity  between peoples, to deepen mutual understanding and  increase creative co-operation between all people in the theatre arts.”

According to, "Various national and international theatre events are organized to mark this occasion. One of the most important of these is the circulation of the World Theatre Day International Message through which at the invitation of ITI, a figure of world stature shares his or her reflections on the theme of Theatre and a Culture of Peace."

This year, Jessica Kaahwa from Uganda, a "renowned playwright, actress, director, and theatre academic, representative of African theatre" has been chosen by the members of the Executive Council of ITI to write the 2011 address.

Message from Kaahwa

A Case for Theatre in Service of Humanity
Jessica A. Kaahwa, Uganda

Today’s gathering is a true reflection of the immense potential of theatre to mobilize communities and bridge the divides.

Have you ever imagined that theatre could be a powerful tool for peace and reconciliation? While nations spend colossal sums of money on peace-keeping missions in violent conflict areas of the world, little attention is given to theatre as a one-on-one alternative for conflict transformation and management. How can the citizens of mother-earth achieve universal peace when the instruments employed come from outside and seemingly repressive powers?

Theatre subtly permeates the human soul gripped by fear and suspicion, by altering the image of self - and opening a world of alternatives for the individual and hence the community. It can give meaning to daily realities while forestalling an uncertain future. It can engage in the politics of peoples' situations in simple straightforward ways. Because it is inclusive, theatre can present an experience capable of transcending previously held misconceptions.

Additionally, theatre is a proven means of advocating and advancing ideas that we collectively hold and are willing to fight for when violated.

To anticipate a peaceful future, we must begin by using peaceful means that seek to understand, respect and recognize the contributions of every human being in the enterprise of harnessing peace. Theatre is that universal language by which we can advance messages of peace and reconciliation.

By actively engaging participants, theatre can bring many-a-soul to deconstruct previously held perceptions, and, in this way, gives an individual the chance of rebirth in order to make choices based on rediscovered knowledge and reality. For theatre to thrive, among other art forms, we must take the bold step forward by incorporating it into daily life, dealing with critical issues of conflict and peace.

In pursuance of social transformation and reformation of communities, theatre already exists in war-torn areas and among populations suffering from chronic poverty or disease. There are a growing number of success stories where theatre has been able to mobilize publics to build awareness and to assist post-war trauma victims. Cultural platforms such as the “International Theatre Institute” which aims at “consolidating peace and friendship between peoples” arealready in place.

It is therefore a travesty to keep quiet in times like ours, in the knowledge of the power of theatre, and let gun wielders and bomb launchers be the peacekeepers of our world. How can tools of alienation possibly double as instruments of peace and reconciliation?

I urge you on this World Theatre Day to ponder this prospect and to put theatre forth as a universal tool for dialogue, social transformation and reform. While the United Nations spends colossal amount of monies on peacekeeping missions around the world, through the use of arms, theatre is a spontaneous, human, less costly and by far a more powerful alternative.

While it may not be the only answer for bringing peace, theatre should surely be incorporated as an effective tool in peacekeeping missions.

Online presence
I Googled "World Theater Day" and discovered that there's no Wikipedia entry for it, which, in this day and age, almost makes it feel like it's not a real event, kekeke!

Anyhoo, here are two blogs I discovered that claim to be the official blogs for World Theater Day:

For my readers in the Philippines, if you have any events related to World Theater Day, please email me at and we'll see if I can post your announcements here.

What will you be doing to celebrate/commemorate World Theater Day? Share your comments.

Repertory Philippines' Shakespeare in Hollywood April 1-17, 2011

Media release from Repertory Philippines:

For anyone who wants some painless lessons in Shakespeare and some good laughs, catch "Shakespeare in Hollywood," the latest offering of Repertory Philippines 2011 Season.

Winner of  the Helen Hayes Award for Best New Play (2004), "Shakespeare in Hollywood" is Ken Ludwig's comedy tale set in 1930's Hollywood about the making of the Warner Brothers 1935 movie version of Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" but is served with a twist.

The "real" Oberon and Puck from Shakespeare's day have taken a wrong turn in their time travel and have landed right on the sound stage of a Burbank lot, just before shooting begins. As luck would have it, Victor Jory, who was to play Oberon, walks off the picture and Mickey Rooney, who is to play Puck, has broken his leg. Max Reinhardt is ecstatic to have two wonderful, real Shakespearean actors.

What follows is a farce. It also involves that famous flower that makes the first person you see upon awaking fall immediately in love with you.

Jaime Del Mundo, who is directing, has assembled a classy cast of movieland characters who are all in sync with the fast, furious pace and comedic timing of "Shakespeare in Hollywood."

Hans Eckstein takes the lead as the "real" Oberon. Red Concepcion plays Puck like a British punk star. Robie Zialcita is Max Reinhardt; Arnel Carrion is Jack Warner.

Caisa Borromeo plays the new young actress from the midwest, Olivia; Cris Villonco plays Lydia like a true Hollywood blonde bimbo.

"Shakespeare in Hollywood" is a must-see farce full of slapstick-style humor with ludicrous puns, hackneyed jokes and pure pandemonium.

The rollicking production plays through April 1- 17, 2011 with shows on Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. and matinee shows on Saturdays and Sundays at 3:30 p.m.  All performances are at Onstage, Greenbelt 1, Makati City.

The artistic and creative team of "Shakespeare in Hollywood" is led by Baby Barredo (Artistic Director), Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo (Associate Artistic Director), Jaime del Mundo (Director), John Batalla (Lighting Designer), Lex Marcos (Set Designer), TJ Ramos (Sound Designer) and Raven Ong (Costume Designer).

For tickets, inquiries and other information, call Repertory Philippines at 571-6926 and 571-4941 or email Tickets are also available at Ticketworld at 891-9999 or

Visit, subscribe to, and add "Rep Phils" in Facebook.

What do you think of this production? Share your comments.

Airdance's Body Politics: Declaration March 25-26, 2011
World peace and justice through dance
By Walter Ang
Philippine Daily Inquirer
March 21, 2011

AIRDANCE IS staging "Body Politics: Declaration" to celebrate its 10th anniversary. The group will be performing eight compositions inspired by articles from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

"We're steering clear from plotless, abstract, it-is-whatever-you-want-it-to-be pieces," says artistic director Ava Maureen Villanueva. "For this show, the company presents its stand and position against social injustice."

Airdance is composed of dance artists of varied backgrounds from classical and modern ballet, to jazz and ballroom, to hip-hop, breakdance, martial arts and gymnastics.

"What's nice about Airdance is, we really try be versatile in all the dance genres even if we are known for our strength in contemporary dance," says Villanueva.

"When you have to define what 'contemporary dance' means, there are many possible answers. Contemporary dance is not associated with any specific dance techniques like in classical ballet, but rather with a dance philosophy. In contemporary dance, dancers or choreographers attempt to explore the natural energy and emotions of their bodies to produce dances which are often very personal."

Awareness and discrimination
The UDHR, adopted by the United Nations in the late 1940s, represents the "first global expression of rights to which all human beings are inherently entitled," and is part of the International Bill of Human Rights.

"People from all over the world are suffering from oppression, hunger, and discrimination. There can't be a more fitting time to stand up and move against all these," she says.

"This production is a conscious effort to contradict the notion that artists, dancers especially, have no awareness and concern for the greater good, hence the discrimination against the arts for not having any social relevance. This is a campaign against that discrimination in dance in our society."

"Declaration" will feature the choreography of Villanueva; Airdance associate artistic directors Rhosam Prudenciado Jr. and Jed Amihan; and choreographers Mia Cabalfin, Avel Bautista, Alfred Mercado, Jojo Guzman and Johnny Amar.

"We do not promise to bring about world peace, nor can we end starvation but allow us to assert our right to freedom of opinion and expression (be it verbal or otherwise) in the best way we know how, through dance," she adds.

Airdance is a member company of Contemporary Dance Network Philippines and is active in the network's annual performances such as the Contemporary Dance Map series and the Wifi Body Independent Contemporary Dance Festival.

The group has represented the Philippines at the World Expo, Japan and the Asia Arts Festival, China. The company is a two-time Aliw Award winner of the Best Dance Company (Modern) category.

Earlier this year, company members Alfred Mercado and Anna Agawa competed in the "Yokohama Dance Collection EX 2011" competition in Japan. They were selected as finalists from over 80 entries from five different countries (Japan, Estonia, Korea, Cuba and the Philippines).

Intensive workshop
Airdance will also hold a six-week intensive dance training program culminating in a recital. Classes offered includes Jazz (beginners and advanced); Contemporary (beginners and advanced); Streetdance (beginners and advanced); and Breakdance.

The workshop will run April 4-May 22, with a break on April 17-25 for the Holy Week.

"Airdance's Summer Dance Workshops has always proven to be a fun, enjoyable and learning experience for its students. Not only do they get the physical benefits of dance training—grace, flexibility, coordination, strength, cardiovascular endurance—but they also develop poise and stage presence," says Villanueva.

"Preparing and performing for a live audience requires that the student develop self-discipline and respect for fellow students. Airdance firmly believes that these are habits that they will carry on to their personal, academic and professional lives."

The training program is accepting scholars who pass auditions. Applicants must be at least 16 years old, preferably with dance background in ballet, jazz, modern and/or contemporary. Improvisation skills are a plus.

"Declaration" runs March 25-26, 8 p.m., at Dance Forum Space, 36E West Ave., Quezon City. Call 4152185 or 0916-3566693. Visit

Also published online:

What do you think of this production? Share your comments.

Tom Stoppard's Arcadia on Broadway

I just found out that Tom Stoppard's "Aracdia" is being restaged on Broadway through this review in the New York Times.  It will be on a limited run and stars Billy Cudrup and Raul Esparza in lead roles.

I saw "Arcadia" way back in 1995 staged by the Goodman Theater in Chicago.  I thought it was a wonderful show. It was dense with ideas and words: mathematics, chaos theory, landscape design, illicit affairs, history, literary figures, love ... so many things to absorb all in one play.

I loved how Stoppard crafted scenes where characters from the past and present share the stage at the same time.  I had never seen anything like that before and the concept made my brain crackle.

I also loved the lighting design, especially the skyline colors that would shift from hues of blue to indigo and even orange (if memory serves me correctly) and, at the end, a simulation of fireworks.  Simple but effective.


Are their any productions you saw a long time ago but still crackles in your brain years later? Share your comments. = )

Dulaang Laksambayanan's May Pakpak Ang Oras March 18-19, 2011

Announcement from Dulaang Laksambayanan:

Gusto mo ba malaman ang sagot sa ilan sa mga "life's greatest questions?"

1. "What would you do if found out you have just one day to live your entire life?" 
2. "How can you, a mere mortal, reach the almighty God?" 
3. "What would life be like if you could amen...d even the littlest mistakes you make?"
4. "How can TV influence us to an extent it robs us our freedom?" 

Ano uhaw ka na ba sa mga empirical results sa mga tanong na ito.... 

Inihahandog ng Dulaang Laksambayanan Inc. ang "May Pakpak ang Oras at iba pang mga dula ni David Ives" 

MARCH 18, 7:30pm
MARCH 19, 3:00pm & 7:00pm

633 NCCA Building, Leandro Locsin Auditorium (General Luna St., Intramuros, Manila)

Contact Terrie Martinez at 0916-4123137 or email us 

What do you think of this production? Share your comments.

Ballet Philippines's Neo-Filipino: Kabaret March 18-19, 2011

Media release from Ballet Philippines:

Ballet Philippines: KABARET 
4 Stages, 10 Choreographers, and Ballerinas Singing 

On March 18 to 19 (Friday and Saturday), Ballet Philippines will give a special for-mature-audiences-only performance, Kabaret, at 9 PM at Arts in the City, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig. "The staging of the whole affair will be very interesting-it will be in four different stages at the ATC so the audience will have the option to walk around," reveals Ballet Philippines' artistic director Paul Alexander Morales.  

The show features 10 choreographers, all of them encouraged to go crazy and think out of the box.

"One choreography by BP principal dancer Carissa Adea is inspired by women in the flesh trade "in an aquarium" and will be performed inside a studio, which the audience can watch from outside through the glass walls. Alden Lugnasin, BP's resident choreographer will be restaging two pieces: You Don't Bring Me Flowers and This is My Life. Flowers will be done with three pairs performing simultaneously in different venues, while This is My Life will be interpreted in two. 

 He is also working on a new pas de deux, Guinhilom Ko, using a Waray song with a peculiar provincial sound. "Sabi ni Alden, ‘ganyan talaga ang tunog ng Kabaret sa amin'," Morales says, referring to Alden's home province of Leyte. 

 Dwight Rodrigazo, artistic director of DancePull Company in Negros Occidental and former BP soloist, is working on a new piece for principal dancers Candice Adea and Jean Marc Cordero. 

"Hindi ito the usual piyesa na iko-conceptualize mo muna tapos lalagyan ng drama," says Rodrigazo. The process, he says takes time to bring out the dancers' best attributes - it highlights the considerable technical skills of the BP star dancers in an exciting contemporary piece. 

Theater actor and director Tess Jamias, known for being a "mover" in theater circles, is channeling the dancers' hidden talents. Rehearsals have been mostly closed-door, but this much is known: The dancers were made to audition showcasing a talent other than dancing, and that there will be lipsyncing and even an Aegis song.

Kabaret is timely for both dancers and the public. "It's time for the dancers to break out, and for choreographers to think out of the box," says Morales. "We promise the public something exciting, something sexy, something more mature, something intimate that we can't show in the CCP Main Theater shows. 
This is a special thanksgiving performance for a successful 41st season that is free for our subscribers." 

Other highlights include; live performances of noted singers Eladio Pamaran (here on a holiday from Europe) and Naomi Villa, accompanied by composer Jed Balsamo on the Piano and guest dancer/choreographers including Kendra Samson, a recent graduate of the prestigious Julliard conservatory for the Arts in New York and Eisa Jopson of the Philippine Pole Dance Academy - winner of the 1st Philippine Pole Dance Competition. 

Ticket prices start at P1000 with 50% discount for students 18 years and above, and 20% discount for senior citizens. Drinks will be available for the audience. 

Please call Ballet Philippines at 551-1003 or Arts in the City at 399-2211 or 889-3028. Or visit or Special offers available through

What do you think of this production? Share your comments.

Theaterbatoring UP DECL's Screen: Macbeth

A week or two ago (before this blog was born), I was able to interview Judy Ick for the Philippine Daily Inquirer for her involvement in the University of the Philippines' Department of English and Comparative Literature's staging of Shakespeare's "Macbeth," retitled as "Screen: Macbeth." You can read it here or here.

As a precursor (perhaps) to this blog, I posted my thoughts on the show in my Facebook account.  Here it is:

thoughts after "screen: macbeth"
by Walter Ang on Thursday, March 10, 2011 at 1:17pm

as a rule, i don't usually review productions that i have written an "advancer" for, but what the hey! = )

many people obviously enjoyed "screen: macbeth," evidenced by the enthusiastic clapping and cheering after the show i caught. in fact, the show will be extended this weekend due to “insistent popular demand.”

a hodge-podge, eclectic, mix-match staging makes the show fun at certain times but is also the reason why it doesn’t quite come together.

director anton juan has the soldiers announcing their arrivals with a war cry-cum-greeting that provides gravitas to their military connection and to the earthy, gravelly, wild world he has created for this staging of macbeth.  all that grunting and shouting inervates the audience: we are not just politely sitting here, we are also spectators to some martial pageant.

teroy guzman (macbeth) and judy ick (lady macbeth) are wonderful. their enunciation is crystal clear, their emotions register the whole range of their characters' turmoils.  this is their show. we see them start off as bumbling virgin murderers then they transform into crazed guilt-wracked repentant (lady macbeth) and crazed smug villain (macbeth). they lock hands with the audience and take us with them on their inevitable tragic journeys.

jaime wilson (macduff) has a strong presence and ron capinding (banquo) does well as he does not fall into his usual trap of the-leo-martinez-school-of-acting. ricky abad (duncan, gatekeeper and doctor*) is hilarious as the gatekeeper.

earl ignacio (malcolm) delivers his lines haltingly, which makes it look like he is hard at work memorizing his lines.  his detached approach to his character doesn’t work. is that how someone whose father has been killed (and is burdened with not knowing if he will be able to succeed as the nation's king) behaves?

white sheets are draped along the perimeter of the room, creating a twin sense of claustrophobia and ephemerality.  things are as close as we see, but they also extend to and emanate from places farther than we think/know/feel--apt for the convoluted world of macbeth and his ghosts.

videos are shown througout the play, cross projected onto all four sides of the room. and that is where all the disconnection with the title lies.

big problem: we can hardly see the videos. (i don't know why the theater industry has not yet caught on with the use of double projectors just like in the events industry.) any reason of budgetary constraints/lack of equipment won't cut it, especially since the entire concept is based on "screens" and "projections," or so at least the title ("screen: macbeth.") leads us to expect.

but okay, let's assume that the low-intensity, washed-out projection style is deliberate, that these images are meant to be ghostlike wisps of fleeting, confused, guilty thoughts.  but that doesn’t solve questions on the seeming lack of consistency in the images, the way they are used and, ultimately, the point of it all.

medieval european images bookend the beginning and end but seem to have no bearing on the staging except as a visual marker that the play is set in europe (but why generic and not something scotland-specific?).  but wait, what about the mad max-inspired costume and weapons design? is this nowhereland, everyland, philippineland or europeland?

the three weird sisters use different dialects instead of english. why is it their act 1 lines have no english translation on the videos but their act 2 lines do?

the king’s muder is not shown onscreen (to heighten suspense?), but why are the murders of other characters shown? the  projections are used mostly for castle interiors (that look like something out of a video game), for forest exteriors, for graphic novel panels, for silhouettes of dancing figures, for distorted faces … as a tool for backdrop and mood enhancing  imagery than anything else. they rarely moved the story along, since dialogue and stage business more than amply takes care of that.

this is what the “screen” in “screen: macbeth” is all about? it hardly seems worth inserting itself in the title for.

the set design has white-rope-as-spider-webs that flank the corners of certain seating areas ... yes, they add to the sense of constriction created by the web-of-lies of the characters, but are more decorative than visually-integral to the staging. yes, lady macbeth has spider brooches on her high-heeled shoes, but other than that, nothing else in the staging seemed to build on the venomous spider/web-of-lies theme.**

juan employs some theatrical scenes that are exciting and thought-provoking. water (as a cleansing/diluting/forgiving element) pouring down on lady macbeth in her “out damned spot” monologue makes sense. shoes dropping out of the sky on to the stage earlier during her “unsex me here” monologue is exciting and a theatrical spectacle, but thought-provoking only in that it makes us ask, “what do shoes have to do with this monologue?” allusions to imelda marcos, perhaps. but again, not a theme that is developed further as the play progresses.

and then all of a sudden, we have malcolm and macduff riding metal-sculpted horse-heads as they discuss plans to conquer macbeth. the horse heads are pretty, yes. but necessary? not really. if anything, distracting.  these large, shiny tangible objects provide a very sharp contrast to the intangibility of the projections, but to what end?

if visually helping the audience along was the objective, perhaps it would have been better to show the soldiers camouflaging themselves with branches for the “burnham woods are moving” scene rather than providing visual spectacle via the horse-heads?

i don’t know where my head got to after watching this show. kekeke.

*conceptually, i think it's interesting to have the same actor play the character (duncan) that macbeth kills and the character (doctor) that tells macbeth that lady macbeth has died and that the woods are coming to get him.

**say perhaps, for example, having the three weird sisters be portrayed as the fates from greek mythology, weaving and cutting threads/webs of destinies. besides, there are more lines in "othello" that visually evoke spiderwebs than in "macbeth."

What do you think of this production? Share your comments.

Welcome to the Theaterbator blog by Walter Ang

Welcome! This is the Theaterbator blog by Walter Ang.

I had been meaning to create a blog about my theater writing for quite a while now but have always gotten too lazy, hahaha. 

Also, there are already many bloggers who write about theater and I wondered about the point of creating yet another one, carving out more space in cyberspace. 

So. Let's see if this one will last longer than I hope it will.

I was choosing between two names for this blog. The other option was "thetheaterator" blog. I wanted a play on spelling/words: the/the/ater/ator. Also, it sounds like "the theater rater," reinforcing the sense that some of the writing that I do is connected to "rating" shows that I've seen.  Another friend said it made him think of "theater moderator."

In the end, this attempt at cleverness was sacrificed so that people wouldn't go crazy typing in the blog's address, you can just imagine the typos and frustration a blog title like that is likely to incur.

Okay, here we go, let's theaterbatorize the world, one show at a time!

March 16, 2011