Winners of 2010 Gawad Buhay!

Here is the list of winners of the 2010 Gawad Buhay!, the Philstage Awards for the performing arts, announced during the ceremonies last May 25, 2011 at the Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino, Cultural Center of the Philippines.  The 2010 set of awards marks the third year of the Gawad Buhay!

List of nominees can be seen here.

Natatanging Gawad Buhay! (Lifetime Achievement Awards)
Ryan Cayabyab
Tony Espejo
Lisa Macuja-Elizalde
Tony Mabesa

Equus, Repertory Philippines
Tatlong Mariya, Tanghalang Pilipino

Little Women, Repertory Philippines

Crisostomo Ibarra, Ballet Philippines

Audie Gemora, Equus

American Hwangap

Little Women

Peter Pan

Mailes Kanapi, Tatlong Mariya

Mario O’Hara, American Hwangap (Filipino version)

Che Ramos, Tatlong Mariya

Mario O’ Hara, Tatlong Mariya

Caissa Borromeo, Little Women

Robert Sena, Si Juan Tamad, Ang Dyablo at ang Limag Milyong Boto

Cara Barredo, Little Women

No nominee

Lisa Macuja-Elizalde, The Nutcracker

No nominee

Mylene Aggabao, The Nutcracker

No nominee

Candice Adea, September Gala

JM Cordero, Crisostomo Ibarra

Carissa Adea, Crisostomo Ibarra

Angel Gabriel, Crisostomo Ibarra

No nominee

Bienvenido Lumbera, Banaag at Sikat

Rody Vera, Tatlong Mariya

Gerard Salonga, Little Women

No nominee

Edna Vida, Banaag at Sikat

Carlo Pacis, Shifting Wait
Edna Vida, Peter Pan

Dennis Lagdameo, Equus

John Neil Batalla, Equus

Jethro Joaquin, Equus

Loy Arcenas, Tatlong Mariya

What do you think of these awards? Share your comments.

9 Works Theatrical's "Sweet Charity" announces cast for August 2011 run

Announcement from 9 Works Theatrical 

Casting announced for "Sweet Charity"

In Augst 2011, 9 Works Theatrical will stage “Sweet Charity,” a dance comedy musical about dance-partner-for-hire Charity's adventures and misadventures in the ways of love.

TV personality Nikki Gil plays the lead role of kooky dance hall hostess Charity Hope Valentine. Gil was last seen as Elle Woods in the local production of the musical “Legally Blonde” in 2010.

Singer/TV host Kris Lawrence plays Oscar Lindquist, Charity's love interest.

With book by Neil Simon ("Promises, promises," "The Odd Couple"), music by Cy Coleman and lyrics by Dorothy Fields, “Sweet Charity” was originally directed and choreographed by Bob Fosse ("Pippin," "Chicago") when it premiered on Broadway in 1966.

Shiela Valderrama-Martinez as Nickie and Ciara Sotto-Oconer as Helene will play Sweet Charity’s closest confidantes, while Sheree Vidal-Bautista will play Carmen, one of Charity’s co-dancers.

Other cast members include Miguel Faustmann, OJ Mariano, Tasy Garrucha, Caisa Borromeo, Chinie Nepomuceno, Vinia Pamplona and Carmelle Ros, Topper Fabregas, Job Bautista. Francis Matheu, Anthony Tarrosa Ong, Peter Alcedo and Chai Relucio.

Robbie Guevara directs with assistant director Lorenz Martinez, band musical director Joseph Tolentino, scenographer Mio Infante, lighting designer Martin Esteva, and costume designers Infante and Hanna de los Reyes.

“Sweet Charity” opens August 5, 2011 and will run on all weekends of the month at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium, RCBC Plaza, Makati.

A limited number of performances are available for fundraising and block-buying. Please call 5575860, 5867105 or 0917-5545560 or email

Here's a Youtube video of one of the musical's most famous songs performed by Shirley Bassey:

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

Actors' Playhouse acting class June-October 2011

Actors' Playhouse
An acting class facilitated by
Ana Valdes-Lim
(Julliard-trained author of "Actors' Workshop" and "Workshop: A Manual on Acting and Evolutionary Theater")

June-October 2011
5:30 to 7:00 pm
Mondays (rehearsal techniques)
Wednesdays (Shakespeare rehearsal techniques)
Black box Theater, Assumption College, Makati City

P600 / class
P2,500 for 5 classes
P5,000 for 12 classes

Contact 817-0757 loc. 1164 or 0917-899-0113 or

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

Philippine Opera Company's "Harana" September 2011

Announcement from Philippine Opera Company

In celebration of Philippine Opera Company's 11th year in the industry,
watch out for the latest in
"HARANA ... a musical journey every Filipino should take"
this September 2011
at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium, RCBC Plaza Bldg., Makati City.

A power cast is joined by fresh faces and your favorite musical suites are infused with new energy through the addition of song selections that are sure to delight and captivate!

For show buyers please call 881-7168 or 0917-5272880.

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

Deadline of proposal submissions for 2nd CCP Choreographers' Cup June 10, 2011

Announcement from Ballet Philippines

For all new choreographers between ages 15 and 45:
Call for Proposals for 2nd Cultural Center of the Pilippines Choreographer’s Cup
a bi-annual neo-classical choreography competition. 

Deadline for submission is June 10, 2011.

The competition aims to discover and nurture new choreographers, and encourage them to explore the neo-classical genre, using the space and artists of Ballet Philippines as medium. This competition is open toall young Filipino choreographers from ages 15- 45, who will be given the chance to work with Ballet Philippines and BP II.

To discover and develop ballet artists from the regions, a minimum of 4 slots will be allocated for artists from outside theNational Capital Region and will additionally be given transportation and housing provisions by the CCP and Ballet Philippines for the duration of the residency and competition.

Send a 300-word concept for a 3-6 minute neo-classical ballet for 1-3 dancers with the theme “The Ideal Woman” and your bio-data to You may also submit your concept to the Office of the Artistic Director, Ballet Philippines, Ground Level, Cultural Center of the Philippines Building, Roxas Blvd, Pasay City.

Winners receive cash prizes of up to P20,000 and a chance to  showcase their work in a major BP production this season. Champion Choreographers may get a chance to be recommended to International Dance Festivals and Competitions.

Call 832-3689 or 832-3676, 821-1125 loc. 1622, 1602 and 1603.

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

If These Walls Could Talk in Toronto May 28-29, 2011

Announcement from Kapisanan Philippine Centre for Arts and Culture

Carlos Celdran's
If These Walls Could Talk
Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queens Quay West, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
May 28-29, 2011
Free admission

Carlos Celdran, a Philippines-based performance artist, dubbed "The Pied Piper of Manila," will be coming to Toronto to perform his world famous walking tour of Intramuros, the oldest district of Manila, with the Harbourfront Centre grounds starring as the walled, Spanish-built city.

Armed with 19th-century period costume, and carrying only his picture book, a tiny boombox, and a Britney Spears-style head mic, Celdran will enlighten audiences. His irreverent, and entertaining re-telling of Manila’s colourful history will make you laugh, cry and change the way you see Philippines' capital city.

For details, contact +1-416-979-0600 or
More info here and here.

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

Seven Contemporary Dance Company's "Envy" May 26-27, 2011

Announcement from Seven Contemporary Dance Company

Seven Contemporary Dance Company
(a Seven Deadly Sins sequel)

Choreographed by Christine Crame and Kristoffer Legarde
May 26-27, 2011
Museum for Contemporary Art and Design,
De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde's School of Design and Arts Campus,
950 P. Ocampo St. (formerly Vito Cruz St.), Malate, Manila

Call 211-2522 or 0917-537-1231 or 0927-553-4168.

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

Tayo's "We Do Not Sleep" May 26-28, 2011

Announcement from Tayo

taYo presents

for mature audiences only

May 26, 27 and 28, 2011, 8PM sharp
Dance Forum Studio, 36E West Avenue, Quezon City
Concept and Direction by Pat Valera and BJ Crisostomo
Collaborative devise by the taYo Ensemble

a "play" for & about our generation
of insomniac,

and the search for
a fight and

taYo is a collaboration of young artists (actors, dancers, opera singers, writers, dramaturgs, directors, choreographers, film makers, musicians, designers and even critics) from the main roads of Katipunan & Diliman. With the benefit of youth & insanity, taYo is a platform for the experimental and unconventional - echoing the voices, screams and whispers of the sleepless.

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

Happy Days Ahead's "The Circus is in Town" May 24, 2011

Announcement from Happy Days Ahead

The Circus is in Town, a happy musical
24 MAY 2011 / 70s Bistro / house opens @ 7PM / show starts promptly @ 8PM
Tickets @ P200

"The Circus Is In Town" happy musical is a site-specific theatrical experience devised and directed by J Victor Villareal. Featuring "minute monologues" from an all-star cast of thespians plus LIVE music from Happy Days Ahead band.

Call +639227695963.

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

Candice Adea wins prize at 2011 Boston International Ballet Competition

Photo by
It was only back in March when a group of young Filipino ballet dancers were working hard to raise funds so they could join a competition abroad and Theaterbator blog featured their solicitation  letter, and now:

Candice Adea has won the Maris Liepa Prize for Outstanding Artistry
at the 2011 Boston International Ballet Competition.

This special prize will be presented by BIBC 2011 judge Andris Liepa, son of late ballet legend Maris Liepa. The prize recipient will be invited to perform in Paris in 2012 along with stars from Bolshoi and Mariinsky Theaters presenting Fokine ballets as part of the Russian season in France. Candice will be performing “Firebird.”

Adea and her dance partner Jean Marc Cordero have also been invited by the artistic director of Chelyabinsk State Academy Opera and Ballet Theater to perform lead roles in a full-length production. All expenses paid. Date and production to be announced.

Last year (2010), Adea won the silver medal for senior division at the USA International Ballet Competition in Jackson, Mississippi.

What do you think of their success? Share your comments.

Sipat Lawin Ensemble 2011 season line-up

Sipat Lawin Ensemble
Yay! My article on the 2011 season launch of Sipat Lawin Ensemble was used by Philippine Daily Inquirer for its May 16, 2011 issue.
Sipat Lawin Ensemble kicks off 2011 season with surreal play
(Published under the title: Lorca dream play to be staged)
By Walter Ang

"We don't make plays, we create experiences," is Sipat Lawin Ensemble's tagline for its 2011 line-up.  The group showcased excerpts of upcoming productions at the launch of their season.

The launch, held at Puerta del Sta. Lucia at Intramuros, began with Sisa (of Rizal's "Noli Me Tangere") giving birth to 150 babies while facing the San Agustin Church.  Audience members were given masks, made to make animal noises, tasked to interact and dance with SLE's actors, and where even instructed to "kill" each other by secretly sticking their tongues out at their "victims."

"Seventy-five people 'died' on the floor that night," said artistic director JK Anicoche.  The interactive activities were meant to showcase the group's brand of theater-making, "SLE operates on themes of 'Intervention. Inter-action. Invasion,'" he said.

This May, SLE staged "Paglipas ng Limang Taon," Rody Vera's Tagalog translation of Federico Garcia Lorca's "When Five Years Pass." (The run ended yesterday.)

Tuxqs Rutaquio directed this play that "tells the story of a Young Man who will finally marry his fiancée after waiting for five years. However, 'when five years pass,' his fiancée is no longer the same person he once knew."

rOm3oW LUVZ juLz
Animals and lovers
In July, the group will restage their devised four-actor "Imperio Animalia" (adaptation of George Orwell's "Animal Farm") directed by Anicoche with production design by Don Salubayba. The production is usually staged in public areas that have a fountain.

The group's "jejemon" comedy version of William Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet" is set to tour basketball courts in different barangays in August.  SLE will conduct workshops in barangays and incorporate local talents (acting and backstage, including set/costume/props design) for unique performances.

This production is an evolution of a devised adaptation (to critical acclaim) by Dulaang Sipat Lawin, the resident theater group of the Philippine High School for the Arts.  It's also been restaged by Tanghalang Pilipino.

The previous version was titled "R'meo luvs Dew'lhiett" and used "jologs" language interspersed with National Artist for Theater Rolando Tinio's Filipino translation.

"We're working with playwright Layeta Bucoy and we've updated the title to 'rOm3oW LUVZ juLz,' to reflect our search of the quintessential 'language' of this generation after the first decade of the 21st century," said Anicoche. "Aside from 'jejemon,' we'll also use fliptop, a form of rap battle done in the streets."

In November, SLE will stage the musical "Manhid" by Auraeus Solito, to be directed by Tuxqs Rutaquio.  The musical is about two groups of superheroes, one of which is employed by a demonic Minister of Humanity who plans on enslaving Filipinos with an epidemic of Kamanhiran.

"These opposing teams battle for the future of the Philippines," said Anicoche. "Manhid" was first staged in 1989 where the defunct band Eraserheads first performed their hit song "Kailan."

In January 2012, SLE is set to stage "Battalia Real," based on the Japanese cult-movie "Battle Royale" where a group of students is forced to exterminate each other in a dystopian future.

"In the movie, 42 students are placed on an island with the instruction that after three days, there should only be one survivor," said Anicoche.  "In our version, we will have 12 shows involving 12 university theater companies and one playground in the old prison cells of Intramuros."

Launch of 2011 season
Available for booking by schools, offices and organizations is SLE's touring comedy-musical "Pragres," based on the short story "Progress" by National Artist for Literature F. Sionil Jose.

Set during Martial Law, "Pragres" is "a satire on lazy government employees and government bureaucracy as we follow the travails of Marina, a provincial senior clerk, who goes to Manila to seek the endorsement of her promotion. As she encounters one bureaucrat after another (all played by one other actor), she drowns in incompetence and corruption."

Once every three months, SLE also stages "Strange Pilgrims," an open-platform performance that the group describes as "Opera + Music + Contemporary Dance + Film + Theatre + Art."  Usually staged in small art galleries, living rooms or bars and involving guest artists from different disciplines, past installments have featured works from pole dancer Eisa Jocson, UP Dance Company, musician Diwa de Leon and playwright Layeta Bucoy.

In line with its guerilla tactics, performance dates and venues for "Strange Pilgrims" and most of the group's shows are usually announced only a few days before the actual performance through the group's website ( and Facebook account (add "Sipat Lawin Ensemble").

SLE now has Season Passes that start from P300.  Depending on the category, passes can provide discounts for additional tickets, free drinks at certain shows, and even the opportunity to have dinner with the ensemble during one of their rehearsals.

Call 0917-5008-753 or 964-5949.

Also published online:

What do you think of this season line-up?  Share your comments.

Auditions for Philippine Opera Company May 21, 2011

Announcement from Philippine Opera Company

Phil.Opera Co. & Sony Music Phil. are looking for girls who have classical background in singing
ages 8-22yrs old
can move/dance
has pleasing personality
and good working attitude

May 21,2-5pm,
8th Note Studio, JAJAJ Bldg., 109 Panay Ave., South Triangle, Quezon City

Must sing 1 classical piece/cross-over and 1 song of your choice
5R Glamour pix & resume
Be ready to dance

Call 0917-527-2880 and 881-7168.

Sipat Lawin Ensemble's "Paglipas ng Limang Taon" May 12-15, 2011

[I wrote an article that includes information on this show and I had hoped that it would have been published a few days ago, but alas! alack! it wasn't. Am sharing this info for now and hopefully the article will be used soon.]

Announcement from Sipat Lawin Ensemble

Sipat Lawin Ensemble presents
"Paglipas ng Limang Taon"
Rody Vera's translation of
Federico Garcia Lorca's "When Five Years Pass"

May 12 (Thurs), May 13 (Fri), May 14 (Sat), May 15 (Sun) 7 p.m.
May 14 (Sat) and May 15 (Sun) 3 p.m.
Room PH400, Palma Hall, University of the Philippines Diliman, Quezon City

Direction and set design by Tuxqs Rutaquio.
Regular Tickets at P250.
Discounted tickets for students available.
For tickets, contact SLE 0917-5008753 or email

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

Rizal versus Shakespeare in Manila 2011

[This entry is an attempted recreation and/or replacement of the original post that was somehow deleted by during a maintenance check. Strangely enough, bits of the old post appear if certain keywords are entered into the Search box. I've also revised the title a bit to avoid possible problems in case the old entry resurfaces.]

As my friend R.I. pointed out in his Facebook wall, Manila will be experiencing a Shakespeare festival of sorts in the months to come for the second half of 2011.  It's interesting to me that this is happening during the same time the country is celebrating Jose Rizal's sesquicentennial.

I have some articles on the season line-ups of some theater groups in the pipeline, but here's a quick rundown for now:

In this corner: William
Filipino translations/adaptations
Dulaang UP will stage the Philippine premiere of "Titus Andronicus"
Peta will stage "King Lear" and two other works related to Shakespeare
Sipat Lawin Ensemble will stage a jejemon version of "Romeo and Juliet"
Tanghalang Ateneo will stage an awit version of "Romeo and Juliet"

English stagings:
Theater Down South will restage its "A Midsummer Night's Dream"
Upstart Productions will stage "Much Ado About Nothing"
Word of Mouth Theater will stage "Merchant of Venice"

In this corner: Jose
Dulaang UP will stage "Rizal X" (a new work) and "Noli Me Tangere" (an opera)
Tanghalang Ateneo will stage "Mga Kuwento Ni Rizal Para Sa Bata"
Tanghalang Pilipino will stage "Noli Me Tangere" (a musical)

While there certainly will be many other Rizal-related productions by various groups, so far, based on the list above, someone has more shows than the other. Hmmmm.

I took a trip down memory lane to see if I've seen stagings of these Shakespeare works before:

- I saw a fuzzy copy of Julie Taymor's movie version of Titus and was bored to tears (well maybe partly because the fuzzy screen made it difficult to watch the movie).  We'll see if a live staging will help give me a better appreciation for Titus.

- I saw Repertory Philippines founder Zenaid Amador as King Lear in World Theater Project's staging at the Cultural Center of the Philippines years ago.

- I saw the first incarnation of "R'meo luvs Dew'lhiett," the devised work of Dulaang Sipat Lawin (the resident theater group of the Philippine High School for the Arts) using jologs and Nat'l Artist for Theater Roland Tinio's Tagalog translation at one of their recitals at Tanghalang Huseng Batute, then its restaging by Tanghalang Pilipino at Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino.

- I saw Romeo at Julieta:  Isang Komedi, a tri-lingual staging of Romeo and Juliet by Peta in a joint production with Black Tent Theater at Raja Sulayman Theater, and its restaging at Tangahalang Huseng Batute.

- I saw the defunct Metropolitan Theater Guild's A Midsummer Night's Dream at Carlo Romulo Auditorium

- I saw Kenneth Branagh's movie version of Much Ado with Keanu Reeves and Emma Thompson

What's going on?
I know that Rizal wrote a sarswela, Junto Al Pasig (I wrote an article about Valenzuela City Center for the Performing Arts' staging of it in 2010), but I'll have to research if Rizal wrote any other plays (because I can't recall right now).

We can at least say that both were playwrights! Some of you may know the funny theory that Rizal is the father of Hitler (read this), ... so now I'm thinking what the universe might be telling us with this lots-of-Shakespeare-during-Rizal's-sesquicentennial.

Shakespeare lived in London and Rizal visited London.  So maybe Rizal was drawn to London for some reason ... maybe because Shakespeare is Rizal's great great great grandfather or something?! They kind of sort of slightly look alike. And they both have ... moustaches!

The theory is that Rizal was actually Jack the Ripper!

From online articles:
"Rizal was in London from May 1888 to January 1889, in the British Library copying "Sucesos de las islas Filipinas" by hand because there were no photocopying machines at the time. Jack the Ripper was active around this time, and since we do not know what Rizal did at night or on the days he was not in the library, some people would like to believe Rizal is suspect. They argue that when Rizal left London, the Ripper murders stopped. They say that Jack the Ripper must have had some medical training, based on the way his victims were mutilated. Rizal, of course, was a doctor. Jack the Ripper liked women, and so did our own Rizal. And -- this is so obvious that many overlooked it -- Jose Rizal's initials match those of Jack the Ripper!"

What do you think of these productions? Share your comments.

Auditions for Kids Acts Phils' Pinocchio May 20-21, 2011

Kids Acts Philippines is looking for ACTORS 18 years old and older who:
1. Can SING
2. Can DANCE
3. Can ACT
4. Have flexible time
5. Are fluent in English

Please Prepare:
Two (2) Songs from Broadway/West End/Disney (1 fast & 1 slow)
- you may sing only a few bars (A CAPELLA) to show timbre and range.
Bring Updated Artist Resume and Photo.
Wear Appropriate Outfit for Dance Routines.

Audition Dates:
First Audition.
Date: May 20 Friday
Time: 5:30PM - 8:00PM

Second Audition.
Date: May 21 Saturday
Time: 3:00PM - 7:00PM

Pre-Register at 0916-4969916. Please indicate your preferred date to audition.

Kids Acts Philippines' Production of PINOCCHIO is Adapted from the Book by Carlo Collodi, Script and Lyrics by Luigi Nacario and Music by Eugene Belbis.

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

Theaterbatoring UPPT's Fake

I wrote an article on UPPT's "Fake" a few weeks back:

I don't usually write "reviews" of productions that I've already written articles about, but what the hey!
Here are some

thoughts on fake
by walter ang
may 9, 2011

uppt's staging of "fake" is what audiences can describe as "theatrical" because of the different devices used: a few monologue moments, characters that the protagonists talk about (like la loba negra and datu kalantiaw) being acted out (even if they're not technically part of the scene), and flashbacks interspersed into present scenes.

Richard Cunanan as George in UPPT's "Fake."
and it is.  it's also intimate and evocative, given the small venue (teatro hermogenes ylagan), allowing for a textured show that includes playfulness with light: video designer winter david provides a few projections (brightly lit and visible) while lighting designer meliton roxas has pockets of gradients here and there.

playrwright floy quintos' dialogue is occasionally didactic (understandable given the amount of historical information that requires exposition) but his plotting keeps things moving and the ideas he presents are thought provoking.  the first act is a little trite for me, though an apt set up to a charming and thrilling second act.

i had never seen richard cunanan (george) perform so up-close before, and apparently, he has incredible reserves of mischief in his eyes, even when he is effectively portraying nuanced bewilderment, anguish and pain, which makes him fun and interesting to watch in small spaces.

george is a pilgrim in search of sister emily, a visionary, played by shamaine buencamino, who twists her torso to and fro and crumples her face in varying iterations to fill the character with complex emotions.
Shamaine Buencamino as Sister Emily.
scenes when these two are together are electric.  unfortunately, brian tibayan, who plays the main protagonist miguel (gerard pizarras alternates), and bojong fernandez, who plays lobo of the tasaday (jerald napoles alternates), were unable to deliver equal voltage and are completely swallowed by the two senior actors.

low talking volumes (which i didn't think  was possible given the small venue), confused acting and movement choices, and a general sense of tentativeness crippled their deliveries.

director tony mabesa's casting choices and under direction of the two is puzzling, especially since miguel is the counterpoint angst and cynicism of the entire piece and lobo is the poignant (exploited, most likely) former participant and eventual broken product of deception - important cornerstones, especially when the title of the play is "fake."

also, tibayan looks too young to be 42 years old, as his character announces in the first act.

in future stagings, it might be interesting to see:
1. a young actress portray sister emily, if only to add a counterpoint to miguel's own past as a young believer, to have hardened into a cynic and then to face another young person grapple with what is true and what is fake.
2. the same actor portray miguel and young miguel, if only to allow audiences a chance to see the actor show a range from innocent awe to bitter cynicism.
Alya Honasan as Concepcion Marco.
in the second act, joel lamangan portrays marco (leo rialp altermates) and alya honasan plays marco's wife concepcion (ces quesada alternates).

both imbue a crazed sensibility and a nervous vibe to their characters, with occasional loud flourishes that almost, but because of utter conviction, never becomes hammy, and thus, lodges their delivery (and launches the play) into the wonderful world of camp.

and it makes the show fun and funny to watch.  the campy feel creates an added a layer of slyness to the text, a "hey look, we believed in all of marco's lies and how hilariously ridiculous is that?" vibe.

time warp
while fictional, the play deals with real people, and therefore, the setting can only be logically (and limitedly) set in a finite span of possible calendar years-while marco and william henry scott (made into an amiable, reluctant debunker by paul holme) were both still alive (they never actually met in real life).
Joel Lamangan as Jose Marco.
the second act is pinned on flashback scenes when miguel is 17 years old and still in awe of marco before the truth about his lies are revealed.  the dramaturgical notes peg this around 1961.  so it is distracting to see production designer dante nico garcia dress the actor (mark herras look-a-like ross pesigan) playing young miguel with a look that is obviously from 2011.

we have the meticulously blowdried textured hair (where's the pomade and inches-high side cut? not yet quite the swinging sixties' long hippie hair, they're not in urban manila after all); the flat-front pants (weren't pleated pants in vogue back then?); the trendy, edgy looking mailman bag (in negros occidental in 1961?); and the hush puppies-looking shoes with marked stitching (perhaps shiny leather lace-ups or even tattered dingy sandals might have been more appropriate?).

the fashion faux pas aside, garcia dresses the home of marco beautifully: crafted wooden furniture, woven baskets and bric-a-brac spread about, piled on top of each other, like what you would imagine a provincial (fake) scholar's home to exactly look.

so what have we learned from this production? that perhaps, sometimes, you can take fashion out of its time period, but you can't take the time period out of fashion ... kekeke.

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

Co.Erasga's Paradis/Paradise tours France May 11-18, 2011

Announcement from Co.Erasga
Filipino-Canadian choreographer/dancer Alvin Erasga Tolentino's
"Paradis/Paradise" tours northern France.

This intercontinental live music and solo dance collaboration between dancer Alvin Erasga Tolentino and noise musician Emmanuel Mailly has been performed 20 times between France and Canada since premiering in Vancouver's VIDF in 2008.  Paradis/Paradise is dedicated to Larisa Fayad (1976-2007).

May 11, 2011
Théâtre le chevalet, Noyon

May 12, 2011
Conservatoire à rayonnement communal de musique et de danse, Laon

May 17, 2011

May 18, 2011
Studio Le regard du Cygne, Paris

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.

Call 06-01-964-963

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

Philstage's 2010 Gawad Buhay! awarding ceremony May 25, 2011

Philstage has announced the nominees for its 2010 Gawad Buhay!, recipients of the awards will be announced on May 25, 2011.  

Yay! I was able to watch all four nominees for best play!
I was able to write reviews for two of the productions and an article for one.
- article on Equus here or here
- review of American Hwangap here (a shortened version was published here)
- review of Tatlong Mariya here or here

Yay again! I saw both of the nominees for Best Musical, too!
I was able to write articles on these productions, too.
- article on Little Women here or here
- article on Romeo and Bernadette here or here

Announcement from Philstage (The Philippine Legitimate Stage Artists Group, Inc.)

Performing arts icons Ryan Cayabyab, Lisa Macuja Elizalde, Tony Espejo and Tony Mabesa will be conferred the Philstage Natatanging Gawad Buhay honors in the 2010 GAWAD BUHAY! : The Philstage Awards for the Performing Arts to be held at the Cultural Center of the Philippines on May 25, 2011 at 7:00 p.m.

Artists and productions of Philstage member-companies will also vie for 44 other performance, creative and technical awards.

Now on its third year, Gawad Buhay! is the first-ever industry awards exclusively for the performing arts juried by an independent panel of critics, scholars, artists and theater enthusiasts. Outstanding individual and group achievements in various artistic and technical aspects of play, musical and dance productions and performances are honored based on quarterly citations deliberated by the jury who are required to watch all productions of PHILSTAGE member-companies for the entire year. From the four quarterly citations, the jury selected the final nominees qualified to win the awards by the end of the performance season.

Philstage is the only alliance of professional performing arts organizations in the Philippines. Its members include Ballet Manila, Ballet Philippines, Gantimpala Theater FoundationOrganisasyon ng Pilipinong Mang-aawit (OPM), PHilippine Educational Theater Association (Peta), Repertory Philippines, Tanghalang Pilipino and Trumpets.

Trophy for 2009 awardees designed by Don Salubayba.Photo by Hilda Abola from 
Here is the list of the 2010 nominations:

Tanghalang Pilipino’s American Hwangap (Filipino version)
PETA’s Ang Post Office
Repertory Philippines’ Equus
Tanghalang Pilipino’s Tatlong Mariya

Repertory Philippines’ Little Women
Repertory Philippines’ Romeo and Bernadette

Ballet Manila’s Ballets and Ballads
Ballet Manila’s Halo Halo ni Juan
Ballet Philippines’ Crisostomo Ibarra
Ballet Philippines’ Neo Filipino 2010
Ballet Philippines’ Peter Pan
Ballet Philippines’ September Gala

Ana Abad Santos (Duets)
Loy Arcenas (Tatlong Mariya)
Audie Gemora (Equus)
Lutgardo Labad (Ang Post Office)
Menchu Lauchengco Yulo (Little Women)

American Hwangap
Tatlong Mariya

Little Women
Romeo and Bernadette

Ballets and Ballads
Crisostomo Ibarra
Neo-Filipino 2010
Peter Pan
September Gala

Angeli Bayani (Tatlong Mariya)
Mailes Kanapi (Tatlong Mariya)
Gina Pareno (American Hwangap, Filipino version)
Joy Virata (Duets)

Martin De Los Santos (Ang Post Office)
Miguel Faustman (Equus)
Mario O’Hara (American Hwangap, Filipino version)

Liesl Batucan (American Hwangap, Filipino version)
Che Ramos (Tatlong Mariya)
Pheona Barranda (Equus)

Nicco Manalo (America Hwangap, Filipino version) 
Mario O’ Hara (Tatlong Mariya)

Caissa Borromeo (Little Women)
Ayen Munji-Laurel (Banaag at Sikat)
Cris Villonco (Romeo and Bernadette)

Robert Seña (Si Juan Tamad, Ang Dyablo at ang Limag Milyong Boto) 
PJ Valerio (Romeo and Bernadette)

Cara Barredo (Little Women)
Angeli Bayani (Banaag at Sikat)

No nominee

Lisa Macuja Elizalde (The Nutcracker)

No nominee

Mylene Aggabao (The Nutcracker)

No nominee

Candice Adea (Peter Pan)
Carissa Adea (September Gala)
Lisa Macuja Elizalde (Ballets and Ballads)
Camille Ordinario (Neo Filipino 2010)

JM Cordero (Crisostomo Ibarra)
JM Cordero (September Gala)
Rudy De Dios (Ballets and Ballads)
Rudy De Dios (Halo Halo ni Juan)
Cyril Fallar (Peter Pan)

Carissa Adea  (Crisostomo Ibarra)
Veronica Ylagan (Neo Filipino 2010)

Angel Gabriel (Crisostomo Ibarra)
Richard Yadao (Peter Pan)

No nominee

Bienvenido Lumbera (Banaag at Sikat)

Joi Barrios Leblanc (American Hwangap)
Bienvenido Lumbera (Banaag at Sikat)
Rody Vera (Ang Post Office)
Rody Vera (Tatlong Mariya)

Jeff Hernandez (Ang Post Office)
Gerard Salonga (Little Women)

No nominee

Edna Vida (Banaag at Sikat)

Carissa Adea (Rey-Sing)
Novy Bereber (To Whom It May Concern)
Augustus Damian III (Rebel)
Augustus Damian III (Reconfigured)
Cyril Fallar (Dancer’s Crux)
Alden Lugnasin (Words and Phrases)
Carlo Pacis (Shifting Wait)
Edna Vida (Peter Pan)

Joy Virata (Duets)
Dennis Lagdameo (Equus) 
Salvador Bernal (Banaag at Sikat)

John Neil Batalla (Equus)
John Neil Batalla (Little Women)
Martin Esteva (Duets)
Barbi Tantiongco (Tatlong Mariya)

Jethro Joaquin (Duets)
Jethro Joaquin (Equus)
Jethro Joaquin (Tatlong Mariya)

Loy Arcenas (Tatlong Mariya)
Dennis Lagdameo (Equus)
Lex Marcos (Ang Post Office)
Joey Mendoza (Little Women)
Tuqxs Rutaquio (Duets)

What do you think of "Gawad Buhay!"? Share your comments.

Auditions for TA's Julieta at Romeo May 11-12, 2011

for Tanghalang Ateneo's season-opener
"Ang Sintang Dalisay ni Julieta at Romeo"
by G.D. Roke
(adpatation of William Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet" in awit* form)
May 11-12, 4-6 PM
Fine Arts Theatre, 3rd floor, Gonzaga Hall,
Ateneo De Manila University, Quezon City
Contact 0905-221-6176

- bring 2X2 ID photo
- be prepared to read an awit text, do a movement sequence and improvise a scene

Auditions also open for musicians of native instruments (kulintang, etc.)

Founded in 1979, Tanghalang Ateneo is one of the country's leading school-based theater companies that stage world classics, Filipino originals, and theater devices. Tanghalang Ateneo uses the theater to foster eloquentia, sapientia, and humanitas, the ideals of Jesuit pedagogy, in interrogating the Filipino social world.

Philippine metrical romances, awit and korido in Tagalog, as defined by Dr. Damiana L. Eugenio, are long verse narratives on chivalric-heroic, religious, legendary and folkloric themes.

The terms 'awit' and 'corrido' are both related to music. 'Awit' is the Tagalog word for song while the Spanish word 'corrido' means "a metrical story, usually sung to the accompaniment of a guitar, in fandango style.

Korido is the generic name for Philippine romances. In Tagalog literature, an awit is distinguished from the korido basically by the number of syllables in each line. The korido refers to metrical romances in octosyllabic (8 syllables) verse called 'hakira' while the awit is in dodecasyllabic (12 syllables) verse called 'plosa.'

Epifanio de los Santos refers to the awit as "chivalric-heroic" poems while corridos are "legendary and religious poems." Gabriel Bernardo on the other hand finds the distinction more in the music to which the romances are often set and in the amount of time the reader takes in singing or reciting it. "The awit is set to music in andante or slow time; the corrido, in allegro or hurried time." Further, Bernardo believes that "the awit is read mainly for the quality of its thoughts and for its beauty and sweetness of expression; the corrido, mainly for the plot of the story it tells."

Jose Villa Panganiban and Consuelo T. Panganiban suggest a distinction in terms of the source of the story it tells; the corrido is based on an existing tale or legend from European countries while the awit is a story fabricated from the imagination of the writer although the setting and characters are still European.

They are inclined to believe, however, that the two terms refer to one and the same type of narrative poetry, except that the name ‘awit’ was later given to it when it was chanted or sung and ‘corrido’ when it was merely narrated.

Except for the length of the verses, which is only observed in Tagalog romances, Dr. Eugenio finds no other valid distinction between the awit and korido. Both are read for the story they tell as much as for their imaginative devices.

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

Dulaang Laksambayanan's A Season of Ten Thousand Noses May 8, 2011

Fo Guang Shan Mabuhay Temple (International Buddhist Progress Society of Manila)

and Dulaang Laksambayanan Inc.
In cooperation with Buddha’s Light International Association of the Philippines
In celebration of Buddha’s Birthday

A Season of Ten Thousand Noses
Written by Joshua L. Lim So
Based on the short story by Charlson Ong
A QIAO: An Intercultural Theatre Workshop Program Showcase
Free admission

May 8, 2011 (Sunday)
English Prayer at 10am
Performance at 1030am
Fo Guang Shan Mabuhay Temple
656 Pablo Ocampo Street, Malate, Manila

May 14, 2011 (Saturday)
SM Mall of Asia Music Hall

In the latter half of the eighteenth century, the Spanish treated the Chinese in Manila with fear, discrimination and misunderstanding. Although they were an integral part of tariff and commerce, the Spanish saw the Chinese as a constant threat. The Spanish knew that the Sangleys, as they were called back then, were also capable of rebellion as they have proven several times before. The Spanish have long created the Parian to control the Chinese population, and the cannons of Intramuros were just a shot away to wipe the pueblo off the map of Manila and obliterate the Sangleys. The relationship between the Sangleys, the Spanish, and the Tagalogs was as delicate as thread that ties them together.

The play "Panahon ng Sampung Libong mga Ilong," adapted from the short story "A Season of Ten Thousand Noses" by prizewinning author Charlson Ong (Pambansang Alagad ni Balagtas), are witnessed through the eyes of two boys: a Tagalog (Manolo) and a Sangley (Ah Beng), whose strong bonds of friendship is contrasted against the turbulent and peculiar times they dwell in.

A storm floods Manila, spawning giant insects that wreck havoc across the city. An insect bites the nose of Don Camilo de la Serna, inflicting it with a disease that causes Don Camilo to slice off his own nose. Lisandra, in agony with her husband’s appearance, seeks the help of Andres Yangliong, a gifted sculptor, to craft a nose for Don Camilo. But when Yangliong dies in his journey back to Amoy, his wife Sio Bee rallies the town to make thousands of noses in exchange for silver. Lim Pay, Ah Beng’s uncle, brings the wooden noses back to Manila, and the Spanish sees this as a ploy to end their reign. The Sangleys assassinates the Prayle and the Spanish retaliates by burning the Parian down. As Ah Beng and Manolo are caught in the crossfire, the relationship between Tagalogs and Sangleys will be tested.

For ticket reservation, contact 523-4909 or 5253680.

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

UP Playwright Theater's Fake May 4-14, 2011

Yay! My article on UPPT's upcoming staging of "Fake" was used by Philippine Daily Inquirer for its May 2, 2011 issue.
New play tackles Philippine history hoax
By Walter Ang

UP Playwrights' Theater will stage Floy Quintos' "Fake," a play that asks "When a lie seems better than the truth, what would you rather believe?"

"Fake" tells the tale of Miguel, who "discovers that many of the things he believed in when he was young were all lies and his life becomes an insatiable search for answers."  His search leads him to Jose Marco, the infamous "discoverer" of the Code of Kalantiaw and the story of La Loba Negra, two documents that became part of Philippine history until proven as hoaxes.

Quintos personally knew the historian who exposed Marco as a forger.  "I had the great pleasure of meeting with William Henry Scott several times before he died in 1993," he says.  "When I mentioned that I was thinking of writing a play about Marco, Scotty joked and said, '"You should make us meet!'"

The fictitious encounter between fraud and debunker has, indeed, been created for Quintos' new play.  He also tackles other debunked myths such as the fictitious "lost Stone Age tribe in Mindanao," the Tasaday.  He's also created a composite religious visionary character for Miguel to encounter.

Lamangan and Honasan
Quintos's plays "Gironiere" and "Fluid" have been staged by UPPT.  His plays "Shock Value" and "St. Louis loves dem Filipinos" (which also has a musical version) and musicals "Atang" and "Isang Panaginip na Fili" have been staged by UPPT's mother organization, Dulaang UP*.

Tony Mabesa will direct the play and says that one of the reasons Quintos' works are often featured by the group is that he is "very prolific! When we need a production to mount, he has a play to offer us."

"I wish we could do one production per semester instead of just once a year, but we have a very limited budget.  Our actors and crew get a very, very modest honorarium each, if any.  Our market is limited by the schoolyear.  Also, our choice of material has never been 'commercial.'"

"However, for 'Fake,' Floy's choice of subject matter is very adventurous.  It's the perfect subject matter for theater.  It's about truth and illusion, the very subjects that theater itself is about."

Not precious
Mabesa founded UPPT, now celebrating its 25th year, after being part of the UP Writers' Workshop.  "That year, they focused on drama and I helped choose the best three plays for staging," he says.

"I used the opportunity to establish UPPT and decided to stage productions in the Faculty Center Studio, which was later renamed Teatro Hermogenes Ylagan after the Father of Filipino Sarswela."

"Every major theater company in the world usually has what they call 'the other place,' a non-proscenium performance space that allows artists to work in a different space. Works in these spaces complement the works in their 'main stage.'"

To this end, UPPT's objective is to produce solely original plays or revivals of plays by Filipino playwrights.  Mabesa says working with Quintos on new plays is easy because "he's not precious about his work. He's very flexible, he will adjust what needs to be adjusted.  He's very involved.  It helps that he's a director himself so he understands why changes need to be made."

"If you don't want people meddling with your work, you can be a pianist, novelist or poet, but not a playwright.  Theater is a collaborative," he says emphatically.

Quesadas and Rialp
The power of a writer's creation is not lost on Quintos.  With this play, he further contemplates the power of the "truths" within creations and the power that lies in the acceptance of these "truths."

"You could say that history is just a perception of facts," he says.  "All these documents that are ascribed to Marco have always fascinated me.  So many important scholars believed him."

"That the documents have been proven as forgeries isn't so much the point than 'Why would a man do this?'" he says.  "He couldn't have done it for money or for fame.  These are the works of an intelligent forger, so maybe he really wanted to give us Filipinos something. Perhaps a sense of history, of pride, of identity?  Perhaps he wanted to do something noble?"

"The character that I created, Miguel, is representative of cynical Filipinos duped by so many fakes.  Hopefully, the play leads us to ask what is it really that contributes to a concept of nationhood.  Is it simply just facts? Or is there also value in myth and lore?"

The cast includes Bayani Tibajan alternating with Gerard Pizarras as Miguel, Joel Lamangan and Leo Rialp alternating as Jose Marco, Paul Holme as William Henry Scott, Ces Quesada alternating with Alya Honasan as Marco's wife Concepcion, and Shamaine Buencamino as Sister Emily.

"Fake" runs from May 4 to 14, 2011 at Teatro Hermogenes Ylagan, UP Faculty Center, University of the Philippines, Quezon City. Call 0917-7500107, 926-1349 or 218-3791.

Also published online:

Bonus! Here is their trailer:

*Dulaang UP is the official performing group for theater of the University of the Philippines. Dulaang UP is based at the UP Department of Speech Communication and Theater Arts (DSCTA), which runs the sole, formal, theater training program in the country leading to the completion of undergraduate and graduate degrees as well as a certificate course.

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

Application deadline of dance proposals for Zero-in Arts Festival May 15, 2011

Open Call for Dance Performances
Dances and Rituals on Natural Elements or Climate change /
Mga Katutubong Sayaw at Ritwal Tungkol sa Kalikasan
for Zero-in Arts Festival in September 2011
Deadline for submission: on or before May 15, 2011

Now on its 10th year, Zero-in, a consortium of five galleries and museums that annually mounts exhibitions on an agreed theme.

This year's theme is “Open Call” focusing on Dance, Food, Film, Music and Visual Art. Museo Pambata will be presenting an exhibition on Indigenous Dances and Rituals with dance performances by groups. The dance will be performed in a popular mall and at Museo Pambata.

Open Call forms will be given to identified artistic groups. They should be a legitimate group from an organization/school.
Groups are encouraged to develop a dance depicting traditional rituals or a contemporary piece on environmental changes and its effects on man.

Interested groups will submit a one page description of their dance. They have to submit a 3 to 5 minute video of a specific dance similar to what they will be performing.

Number of dancers:
Minimum of 5, maximum of 10

Other important information:
- Groups will be informed by June 14, 2011 for their participation in the Zero-in arts festival.
- Selected dance pieces will be performed at the Zero-in arts festival on September 2011. (Performance dates will be on weekends.)
- Grant fund is P15,000

Maricel P Montero
Museo Pambata Foundation, Inc.
Roxas Boulevard corner South Drive
Ermita, Manila

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