Ballet Philippines 42nd season (2011-2012) line-up

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I'm excited to catch "Encantada," which I have only seen production photos of and heard stories about.  A dancer who was in the original staging told me he had to carry two female dancers (one in each arm) and run around like a crazy person at one point in the show.

Announcement from Ballet Philippines

Ballet Philippines announces line-up for its 42nd Season (2011-2012)

After a successful 41st season "The Heroes’ Journey,"
Ballet Philippines is pleased to announce its
42nd season "Faces of Eve"
(In celebration of the centennial of the United Nations’recognition of women’s rights)

Encantada, a full-length modern dance choreographed by Agnes Locsin, danced to the live music of Joey Ayala with an environmental theme set in the Philippines during the Spanish era. Encantada has been toured in Japan and Visayas and Mindanao. August 12-14, CCP Main Theater

Inamorata is our mixed bill gala where we highlight the company’s vast and diverse repertoire that includes immortal classics and fresh contemporary works. September 23-25, CCP Main Theater

The Sleeping Beauty is the most classical of classical ballets. Our holiday offering will take audiences to a magnificent world of princesses, fairies, and the power of true love’s kiss. With all new sets, costumes and an international guest artist, music will be performed live by the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra in evening shows. December 2-4 and 8-11, CCP Main Theater

Womb (Neo-Filipino 2012) New dance works are birthed at the season ender,  featuring mixed media collaborations with leading Filipina choreographers and artists lead by Neo-Filipino creator Denisa Reyes. February 2012, CCP Little Theater

For the past 41 years since the company was founded by Alice Reyes with the support of Eddie Elejar, BP has always pushed the boundaries of dance while infusing the rich, unique and diverse culture and heritage of the Philippines. This is evidenced in its treasure trove of over 400 original works. It is the first resident company of the Cultural Center of the Philippines, and remains to be the longest-running dance company in Southeast Asia.

Season subscriptions are now available at Php3,600 per person and Php15,000 per box.
Subscribers enjoy the following:
- 20% off on regularly priced tickets
- Invitations to exclusive in-program or out-of-season events
- Complimentary souvenir program per production

Contact +632-551-0144 or +632-345-6601 or visit

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

Of theater actors and catfood

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I opened my Facebook this morning to a barrage of shout-outs about theater actors wanting to eat Skyflakes (a brand of crackers) and cat food! Whaaat?

Upon further investigation, apparently, during a TV interview on the show "Cityscape" on cable-channel ANC, "two Cinemalaya directors were asked why they got theater actors for their films. One said it was because he needed to work with actors who understood the concept of emsemble and character. The other one's reply: Because they don't complain. they're never late. You can feed them skyflakes three times a day or catfood for meals and they cry when you want them to cry."

A clip of the segment can be found here:

or here:

The person who made the statement is Rafael "Rafa" Santos.  His statement did not sit well with the theater community, spurring shout outs in Facebook such as:

is a proud actor for the stage, film & TV. You can pay me simply with compliments or adulation, but never insult my craft by offering me cat food. If you're also proud of your craft, post this status on your wall.

and at least one open letter calling for the removal of Santos's entry to Cinemalaya:

on Tuesday, June 28, 2011 at 5:53pm

Independent filmmaker Rafa Santos needs to be taught a lesson. Not a lesson in filmmaking, as he is obviously competent enough to have been included in this year’s Cinemalaya. Not a lesson in thrift, as he is apparently frugal enough to have produced his film without major backing. Not a lesson in public speaking, as he can definitely hold his own in interviews about the film in question. No, what this man needs is a lesson in gratitude. (He would also do well to acquire some class.)

In a televised interview on ANC this morning, Mr. Santos said he preferred using theater actors in his films, because “you can feed them Skyflakes three meals a day and pay them in cat food.”

Congratulations, Mr. Santos. You have succeeded in alienating the very actors that have helped you to make your film so cheaply. No theater performer who has heard your egregious statements will ever work with you now. (Apparently, you lack not just gratitude, but also intelligence.)

Mr. Santos doubtless meant his remarks as a joke, but that does not excuse him from having made them. He is insensitive, mean-spirited, and divisive—qualities that do not become the artistic institution that Cinemalaya has become. We would appreciate it if you would remove his film from your festival.

Thank you very much.

Sincerely yours,
Joel Trinidad
Upstart Productions

While majority of the reactions were against Santos, a few (one or two that I saw while trawling many, many shout-outs and comments) appealed for context:

(Sorry, name of the poster withheld as I don't have permission from the person who posted this ... yet.)
noong una kong nabasa, positive ang naisip ko, hindi nega. Na gusto ng direktor ng theater actors dahil walang arte, at hindi demanding, pero nagdedeliver. Hyperbole lang yung Skyflakes at catfood to stress the point. Yun ang dating sa akin ha, na professional ang theater actors kaya niya gusto.

These comments erupted last night.

An apology letter from Santos was posted earlier today (June 29, 2011 Wednesday) in Facebook:

Apology Letter of Rafa Santos
Posted Wednesday, June 29, 2011 at 5:23am

Eto po ang Letter ni Rafa thru Cinemalaya Directors Egroup.
(Rafa is a director of the movie SAMARITO na part ng Cinemalaya this year. He made remarks in a TV interview kaya nabulabog ang theater people sa FB at Tweeter)

Auraeus Solito

Rafa Santos, Letter of Apology
Just received this email from Rafa Santos
through the Cinemalaya Directors group email-

Dear All,

My name is rafa santos. I recently taped an interview for an ANC show that, as you may have heard, went about as terrible as it could have gone for me. I made an unfortunate joke about what it is like to work with theater actors; a remark which offended countless artists the industry over. I do not defend this comment in any way. Even in the context of poor, ill-advised humor, my statement made light of an art that many among us hold dear and sacred.

Misguided comedy aside, what I meant to infer was that theater actors, in my estimation, are the pinnacle of the thespian craft. They do not put on airs or show up late or complain about the quality of the food or condition of the set and come in day after day after day for little to no money all for their love of acting and performance. It is the work that they feed on: the opportunity to bring life to a nebulous character on an inanimate page.

It was never my intention to look down on or demean stage actors in any shape or form. Some of my best experiences as a director are derived from the pleasure of working with theater people; to be able to feel the dedication and devotion they possess towards their art and to somehow allow that same commitment to diffuse into myself. 

One of my dearest friends, my neighbor and actress in my movie, Bea  Garcia, is herself a shining example of the passion of which i speak.  It pains me to know I've hurt her so deeply in assaulting the craft  that she loves so much.It is with a clear mind and heavy heart that I extend my heartfelt apology. I have offended any of you, I am sorry. If I've offended; anyone you love, I take the blame. If any of you feel sorry for me;please don't. I built my own coffin of words and nailed it shut with insolence.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. I don't expect to be forgiven, but I do hope my family is treated kindly.

rafa santos

I do not mean to make light of this obviously sensitive situation, but I guess that's why they say be careful what you say, you may get foot-in-mouth disease and may have to eat not just humble pie, but also swallow your pride chicken later on ... kekeke.

A few hours later, this letter was posted by award-winning playwright Rodolfo "Rody" Vera in his Facebook account:

At the Virgin Labfest, we DON'T serve catfood.
by Rodolfo Vera on Wednesday, June 29, 2011 at 7:33am

At the Virgin Labfest, we don't serve catfood! Our writers sometimes bring pizza, krispy kreme, spaghetti, kfc. At kung minsan naman, potluck! Masaya! At kung skyflakes man ang pakain, siguradong may chiz whiz, nutella, o kung minsan, sosyal na mga palaman, o diba?

PERO kung minsan may nagba-back-out din na artista dahil may sumulot na trabaho sa pelikula o TV. Yun, hindi masaya. Kasi nabubulabog ang buong produksyon. Yun, medyo nakakainis kasi nare-realize mo, may ilan din palang artistang mas madaling masilaw ng salapi o katanyagan at handang ipagpalit ang teatro. Hindi man natin sila masisi, pero sana, humindi na lang noon pa.

Pero dahil mas maraming theater actors na nagmamahal sa entablado, nairaraos din. Kung hindi mapalitan ng writer o director ang script, nakakahanap pa rin ng iba, kahit ilang araw na lang, palabas na.


Watch the VIRGIN LABFEST 7 from June 29 to July 10 and see what PINOY theater actors can really do! Watch them all-- in order of appearance: Cris Pasturan, Angelina Kanapi, Cai Cortez, Jelson Bay, Bembol Roco, Missy Maramara, Paul Jake Paule,  Che Ramos, Ian Bautista, Roeder Camañag, Lao Rodriguez, Olive Nieto, Chromewell Cosio, Kathlyn Castillo, Acey Aguilar, Yong Tapang, Roli Inocencio, Skyzx Labastilla, Russel Legaspi, Irene Delarmente, Joel Saracho, Paolo O'Hara, Adrienne Vergara, Bong Cabrera, Ness Roque, Regina de Vera, Jerry O'Hara, Peewee O'Hara, Tess Jamias, Marco Viana, Ana abad Satnos, Frances Makil Ignacio, Jonathan Tadioan, Mary Jane Alejo, Katte Sabata, Chic San Agustin, Leo Rialp, Kiki Baento, Mark Jones Simbit, Vera Capiral, Bham Sumooc, Eva Madera, Giovanni Cadag, Floid Zulueta, Biboy Ramirez, Siegfried Sepulveda, Mayen Estanero, Richard Cunanan, Via Antonio, Noel Escondo, Joel Parcon, Frankia Pascua, Abner Delina, Ian Lomongo, at marami pang iba!!! Take a bow, guys!

Here is the link to: Of theater actors and catfood -- Part 2

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Tanghalang SLU 2011-2012 season line-up

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Announcement from Tanghalang SLU

Tanghalang SLU, the resident theater company of Saint Louis University, Baguio City
presents the line-up of its
13th season (2011-2012)

"Laro ng Lakas"
(Game of Strength)

Desire, Love, Failure, Revenge... the seeds from which emanates that which man calls strength, relying not on convention but going beyond that which we see. From the simple deeds of brute prowess, to the greatest exhibitions of affection and true concern for those we cherish. But what does drive a man to accomplish what he set out to do? It is not ambition nor fate, but the true game of strength.

JULY 2011
Ang Kagila-gilalas na Buhay ni Lam-ang
By Jose Dennis Teodosio

By Abel Molina

Pagninilay-nilay: Ikalimang Yugto
By various playwrights

Ang Hiwaga ng Ibong Adarna
By Dan Rommel Riopay

APRIL 2011
Rossum's Universal Robots
By Karel Capek

Tanghalang SLU
Center for Culture and the Arts,
Saint Louis University, Baguio City
Tel. 444-8248 loc. 307


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

Tanghalang Pilipino turns silver (2011-2012)

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Yay! My article on the 25th season (2011-2012) line-up of Tanghalang Pilipino was used by Philippine Daily Inquirer for its June 27, 2011 issue.

The article was prepared weeks ago through advance interviews with TP officials, in anticipation of my missing the press conference as I had an out-of-town trip. The article had already been laid-out when the press conference was held, thus, the article does not contain information on an additional show that had been developed along the way:

In November, TP will stage "Walang Kukurap," a suspense thriller that will incorporate live interviews and improvisational scenes to "reveal the shady politics and unethical business practices so prevalent in the Philippines today."  To be directed by Chris Millado, the production is based on the findings of artist-researchers as well as first-hand testimony from government whistle-blowers and anonymous syndicate insiders.  "Walang Kukurap" is made possible through a grant from the National Commission for Culture and the Arts.
Tanghalang Pilipino turns silver
By Walter Ang

Tanghalang Pilipino celebrates its 25th season by opening in August with José Rizal’s “Noli Me Tangere,” in commemoration of the National Hero’s sesquicentennial.

To be directed by Audie Gemora with pop singers Mark Bautista and Gian Magdangal alternating as Crisostomo Ibarra and Cris Villonco as Maria Clara, the musical’s libretto is by National Artist for Literature Bienvenido Lumbera with music by Ryan Cayabyab. Costume and set design are by National Artist for Theater Design Salvador “Badong” Bernal.
Cris Villonco, Mark Bautista and Gian Magdangal.
TP premiered “Noli” in 1995 with Gemora as Ibarra, Monique Wilson as Maria Clara and Regine Velasquez as Sisa. It has gone through several restagings and has toured Malaysia and Japan.

TP, the resident theater company of the Cultural Center of the Philippines, was founded by Felix “Nonon” Padilla, who also served as artistic director. After his departure, Herbert Go and Dennis Marasigan served as artistic directors.

“This season celebrates 25 years of dramatizing the best of Philippine theater and awakening the cultural consciousness of the Filipino audience,” says current artistic director Fernando “Nanding” Josef.

In October, TP will hold a Tony Perez retrospective. “He is one of TP’s most prolific playwrights and has spent over two decades eloquently dissecting the Filipino psyche,” says Josef.

The festival of plays includes “Bombita,” to be directed by Dennis Marasigan; “Sierra Lakes,” to be directed by Tess Jamias; and “Nobyembre, Noong Akala Ko’y Mahal Kita,” to be directed by Tuxqs Rutaquio. The first two plays will be presented in a twinbill; the twinbill will be shown on alternating weekends with “Nobyembre.”

From mid-November till December, TP will stage George de Jesus III’s Tagalog translation and adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” to be directed by Riki Benedicto.
From left, Helen Gamboa and  Gina Pareño in "Larawan."
In January 2012, Floy Quintos will direct “Larawan,” Lumbera’s Tagalog translation of National Artist for Literature Nick Joaquin’s “Portrait of the Artist as Filipino.”

Gina Pareño and Helen Gamboa will play the two spinster sisters negotiating Old Manila prior to the start of World War II.

TP premiered this Lumbera translation in the late ’80s and restaged it in the mid-90s and early 2000s.

Mobile productions
To allow more audiences to experience TP productions, it has four mobile productions that are available for bookings by schools and groups.

The productions are selected plays written over the past 25 years by TP resident playwrights: Tony Perez, Paul Dumol, Malou Jacob and Rene Villanueva.

“They all belong to a league of contemporary scribes whose deep sense of love of country, of peace, of truth and justice, and of integrity and spirituality infuse their work with a particular Filipino perspective on the aspirations and challenges of modern-day life,” says Josef.

Jacob’s “Anatomiya ng Korupsiyon” is a dark comedy that follows an idealistic young lawyer as she struggles against indifference and red tape in a government office.

Bienvenido Noriega Jr.’s “Bayan-Bayanan” deals with the tragic diaspora of Filipinos who work abroad.

“Tonyo, Pepe at Pule” is a trilogy of plays, each one tackling the question of heroism from a different point of view via Antonio Luna, José Rizal and Apolinario Mabini.

The trilogy “Teresa, Gregoria, Teodora” contemplates the lives of Iloilo revolutionary Teresa Magbanua, Andres Bonifacio’s widow Gregoria de Jesus and José Rizal’s mother Teodora Alonzo.

All productions feature members of Actors Company, TP’s resident pool of actors. AC scholars, apprentices and members go through continuous training in acting, movement, dance, voice, script analysis, improvisation, directing and other related courses.

“The Actors’ Company is directed toward developing acting as a profession,” he says. “Former members have gone on to be respected artists in theater, television and film such as Shamaine Centenera-Buencamino, Nonie Buencamino and Irma Adlawan-Marasigan, among many others.”

TP will also launch its anniversary book, “Tanghalang Pilipino: Celebrating 25 Years of Philippine Theater,” written by Inquirer contributing theater reviewer Amadis Ma. Guerrero, with contributions by Dennis Marasigan.

“It will include information about past TP productions and touch on genres, lighting and production design, the Actors Company, the context and social relevance of when and why the productions were chosen to be staged, translations and adaptations,” he says.

Season passes available. For details, to donate or participate in fundraising activities, call 8323661 or 8321125 loc. 1620, 1621. Visit

Also published online:

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Wake for Jose Mari Avellana June 27-29, 2011

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Jose Mari Hontiveros Avellana

Three-day wake at
Arlington Memorial Chapel F, Araneta Avenue, Quezon City
June 27-29, 2011 (Starts at 8pm June 27, 2011)

Interment is at
Sacred Heart Parish, Makati City
June 30, 2011

Mr. Avellana passed away June 26, 2011.  Cause of death is listed as splenic artery aneurysm.

I wrote a very short review of Rep's 2009 staging of "Portrait of an Artist as Filipino," which Mr. Avellana directed.  I had a chance to have one real-life conversation with Mr. Avellana back in 2009 at the Philstage Gawad Buhay! awarding ceremonies after he had won the 2008 Philstage Gawad Buhay! for Outstanding Male Lead Performance in a Play for Repertory Philippines’ "Tuesdays With Morrie."  He shook my hand and was very gracious, accommodating and supportive.  We exchanged a few emails after that night.

Thank you and farewell, Mr. Avellana.

Profile below is lifted from
(His IMDB profile is here.)

Barangay Theatre Guild: Stage Director/Actor
Barasoain Community Theatre: Director

Repertory Philippines:
(actor) Belcher's Luck / St. Joan / Diary of Anne Frank / Rashomon / Plaza Suite / Loot / Rosencrantz and Guildernstern / Equus / Woman in Black / Tuesdays with Morrie
(director) Portrait of an Artist as Filipino

Barangay Theatre Guild:
Portrait of An Artist / Hamlet / The Boor / Marriage Proposal / Death Of A Salesman / The Vigil / Long Day's Journey Into Night / Camino Real /

Teatro Pilipino:
Haring Edipo / Cyrano ng Bergerac

A film director, actor, drama coach, production designer, screenplay writer, broadcaster, research and communications man.  His father is the late National Artist for Film and Theatre, Lamberto V. Avellana. His mother, is  National Artist for Theater, Daisy Hontiveros Avellana.

His first job was as an announcer with DZFM radio in the early part of 1960, while still in college. Later, in 1962, and having graduated, he became the first TV director for PBS Channel 4.

Within the next year, his uncle put up an advertising agency, Avellana and Associates, and recruited him to work for the company. Starting out as an Account Executive, he was later promoted as Director of the Radio-TV Section.

Because the call of the theatre and dramatics was too compelling to disregard, Avellana made sure he had time for stage-work. He appeared in a number of hit plays for Repertory Philippines and Teatro Pilipino and then moved on to become drama coach for San Beda College, bringing home trophies for the school's Drama Guild.

In the 70's, he got involved with ABS-CBN where he directed and wrote several soap operas, drama specials, action thrillers, and musicales. He eventually moved to KBS where he directed "Oh, Rosemarie", and shared directorial tasks with George Rowe in the production of "Sinekulay"' the first-ever series of "movies filmed for local television".

In the 80's, he joined his father in the family business. As Producer-Director for Documentary Incorporated, he was responsible for a number of award-winning documentaries and specialized films. While working for his father, Avellana produced cultural, advocacy, and tourism-oriented films, as well as technical and informational audiovisual presentations for the National Media Production Center and other government agencies.

In between films, Avellana put in time as communications consultant with the Civil Relations Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Later, he signed up as consultant for the Philippine Tourist Association, the Technology and Livelihood Resource Center, and the Department of National Defense.

During the 90's with the demise of his father, Avellana entered the local film industry where he carved a small niche for himself as a actor, writer and director. His initial directorial venture into commercial filmmaking, titled "Kung Mawawala Ka Pa", bagged the Best Film Trophy at the Metro Manila Film Festival of 1993 for Reyna Films. As an actor, Avellana won the Best Supporting Actor award during the Manila Film Festival 2003 for his role in "Operation Balikatan".

Avellana has a written and directed several award winning specialized films, documentaries and short features. He is a Famas and NCC Centennial Awardee because of his direction of "Damong Ligaw". He won Best Screenplay for the same film; the Golden Globe Award for Best Specialized film with "Geothermal Energy Now"; was given an Oscar Special Award for Foreign Soap Operas because of "Salisalising Buhay"; and brought home an Emmy Award for Best Foreign Docu-drama with "The Lenny Villa Story".

Referred to as an Actor's Director, because he can draw out the best in each performer; Avellana's passionate nationalism, his deep sense of history, extensive theatre experience, keen creativity, his background in journalism, photography, broadcasting, and his penchant for research and attention-to-detail bring out the legendary "Avellana Touch" that his father was known for.

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Deadline of submission to PETA's "Create a Shakespeare Icon Contest" July 15, 2011

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Announcement from Philippine Educational Theater Association

Hu Art Daw?
Create a Rockin' Shakespeare Icon Contest


For its 44th Theater Season, PETA produces modern, educational and entertaining plays and events that reintroduces Shakespeare and his works.

Help us demystify the Bard - make him less fearsome, easier to understand, and lovable for all. Create a modern icon that will capture PETA’s hip, fun, young and modern interpretation of Shakespeare that will appeal to the youth!

1. Contest participants must create a hip, fun, young and modern Shakespeare icon for Philippine Educational Theater Association’s (PETA), 44th Theater Season.
a. Entries can be hand drawn or digitally made (e.g. Adobe Photoshop).
b. The image must be in .jpg format. File size should not exceed 500kb.
c. Originality is encouraged.

2. Contestants must pass their electronic artwork via email, to together with the following information:Entrant’s Full Name, Age, Contact Number

3. All artworks received during the contest duration will be uploaded on July 16 via PETA’s Facebook Page: Peta Tapets

4. Contest Duration
Contest starts on June 10, 2011.Deadline for submission of entries is on July 15, 2011 at 6:00 P.M. Deadline of voting (via Facebook likes) is on July 30, 2011 at 6:00 P.M. Winners will be announced on August 2, 2011.

5. Criteria for Judging
30% Popularity measured via Facebook Likes
30% Creativity
40% Originality & Adherance to PETA’s hip, fun, young and modern theme

The winning artwork will become the official icon of PETA’s Shakespeare Season and shall appear in PETA’s posters,flyers, merchandise and other collaterals. The winner will be given: Php 5,000 plus (20) complimentary tickets for PETA’s William and Haring Lear as well as complimentary playbills for both productions.

Winners will be notified by PETA via phone call and public announcement on PETA’s Facebook Page.

For details, contact

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Philippines wins Children's Choice award in Prague Quadrennial 2011

News from the Philippine delegation to Prague Quadrennial 2011

Philippine delegation with its Children's Choice award
at Prague Quadrennial 2011 in front of the Philippine pavilion
As relayed by Rolando De Leon:

Philippines was adjudged a Children's Choice awardee at Prague Quadrennial of Performance Space and Design 2011.  Other Children's Choice awardees include Turkey and the Czech Republic.

Philippine national curator for PQ11 Rolando de Leon accepted the Rainbow Cormorant award hand-crafted by Czech schoolchildren who had been visiting the exhibition on field trips and casting their votes for their favorite pavilion.  Over 65 national pavilions and 76 student booths took part in this year's event, considered as the Olympics of Theater Design.

Student booth
Students, teachers, and family groups who visited both the Philippine national pavilion and the student booth put together by De La Salle University's Harlequin Theater Guild were unified in praising the quaint craftsmanship of De Leon's bamboo house, which highlighted costumes, photographs, and the retrospective publication on maquettes of various local productions and street fiestas, Angono's Higantes, Abel Iloko fabric,  and Darangen dolls from Mindanao.

Philippine student delegation to Prague Quadrennial 2011
The DLSU-HTG student booth was anchored on the mystical balete tree, around which the students and foreign guests wore costumes of elemental spirits from the Dinagyang, Ibon-Ebon, Calacatchara, Sosogon, and Uswag Surallah Lembuhong Festivals.

Photos from various nature festivals were also on display, as well as images from various student productions mounted by HTG, foremost of which was "Rizal My President" -- a hit among Czech people who hold the Philippine National Hero in high esteem.

Visitors to the Philippine pavilions were awed by the vibrant colors and textures used by the curatorial team, in stark contrast to the muted, techno-laden installations of the other countries.

The PQ Children's program was initiated this year to expand audiences and encourage more young people to view theatrical architecture as everyday phenomena for which artistic merit can easily be enhanced for staging purposes.

They made it happen
The Philippine delegation was generously supported by Air 21, ITI Earthsavers-UNESCO Dream Center Philiipines, International Container Terminal Services Inc, the European Desk of the Department of Foreign Affairs, the National Commission on Culture and Arts, Office of Senator Edgardo Angara, the Philippine Embassy in Prague, and the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Manila.

Sharing and teaching
A national tour of the components of the Philippine participation in the Prague Quadrennial will follow in July and August under the auspices of De La Salle University in cooperation with the SM SuperMalls and 90.7 Love Radio Davao. For details of the national tour, contact

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

Gantimpala Theater announces 34th season (2011-2012) line-up

Announcement from Gantimpala Theater

Gantimpala Theater announces 34th season (2011-2012) line-up

"This year, the company pays tribute to Dr. Jose Rizal, as we join in the commemoration of his 150th birthday celebration," says Artistic Director Tony Espejo. "We present Philippine literary and theater classics, whose lessons very much resonate the messages and morality of our beloved National Hero."

Opening the season in July is "Kanser," Jomar Fleras' adaptation of "Noli Me Tangere." Adriana Agcaoli directs.

Next in August is "El Filibusterismo." Also written by Fleras, the play highlights the many schemes of Don Simoun, the jeweler from hell who wants a revolution. Jose Estrella directs.

The third play in September is "Ibong Adarna," from the originally titled "Corrido at Buhay na Pinagdaanan nang Tatlong Principeng Magkakapatid na Anak nang Haring Fernando at nang Reyna Valeriana sa Cahariang Berbania," Ed Maranan rewrites the corrido into a play with Roobak Valle as director.

Concluding the season in October is "Florante at Laura," Francisco Baltazar (Balagtas)'s literary masterpiece presented in the theater form of the komedya, with script by Bonifacio Ilagan under the direction of Roeder and Jose Jeffrey Camañag.
Touring musical productions
"Sino Ka Ba, Jose Rizal?" is staged in cooperation with Musical Theater Philippines.  Book, libretto, and music is by Nonoy Gallardo.  The life of Dr. Jose Rizal, from his childhood to his execution comes alive on stage with stirring songs and rousing dances.
"Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" has book and libretto by J. Dennis Teodosio and music by Jesse Lucas. This children's musical is about the life of the fairest maiden of all and her dwarf friends.

Both touring musicals are directed by Tony Espejo.

The first four productions will be staged in both the AFP Theater (Armed Forces of the Philippines), Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City and Cinema 3, SM Southmall, Las Piñas City.

The touring productions are initially slated to be staged at Clark Expo auditorium and Bren Guiao auditorium, both of which are in Pampanga City.  The touring productions are open for bookings and can be toured to different locations.

Contact 899-5745, 896-3503 or 998-5622.  Visit or

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

Auditions for Resorts World's "The Sound of Music" June 24-25, 2011

Announcement from Resorts World Manila

Open auditions for
Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein's
The Sound of Music

June 24-25, 2011
9am-6pm (3pm cut-off time for acceptance of audition forms)
2nd floor, Newport Performing Arts Theater
Resorts World Manila, Newport Boulevard, Newport City (Across Naia 3), Pasay City

This production by Resorts World Manila will be staged at the Newport Performing Arts Theater, and will run from October to December this year

Bring the following:
- minus one or music sheet of one song from any Broadway musical
(CD format containing 2 cuts of the music track to be used, label with the title of the song and the name of the auditionee. Music tracks with plus one vocals will not be allowed. Music sheets of the songs are acceptable)
- 1 close-up photo and 1 fully body photo
- resume
- filled-up application form (download here:

- Proceed to the second floor backstage entrance near Starbucks
- Sign up at the registration table
- Fill out audition form per attached (Please fill out in two copies and bring on the audition date)
- Submit audition forms along with resume (if available) and minus one or music sheet for queuing
- Get assigned number and wait for your name to be called

Contact +632-836-6333 or +632-908-8833

Bonus! My former co-worker and I talked endlessly about the movie version of this musical. She told me about some backstage trivia that I later found online.  Here are some that I like and/or think are funny:

- During the filming of the opening shot of Julie Andrews taken from a helicopter, Julie Andrews relates that although she tried digging her heels into the ground and bracing herself, on every take she was knocked over by the powerful helicopter downdraft.

- Charmian Carr (Liesl) slipped and injured her ankle while filming "Sixteen Going On Seventeen". In early editions of the film, the bandage covering that ankle is visible. When the film was remastered for DVD, the images of this bandage were digitally removed. On the movie commentary of the 40th Anniversary edition in 2005, Charmian said that because of this, some people do not believe her when she says she danced on an injured ankle.

- In the closing shot, when the family is climbing over the hills to safety, it is not really Kym Karath as Gretl on the shoulders of Captain von Trapp. In the DVD version, it is revealed that while in Austria, Kym Karath gained a lot of weight. This was one of the last shots filmed and so she was evidently a bit too heavy to be carried on Christopher Plummer's back. Plummer requested a stunt double and that is who's seen being carried on his back.

- Debbie Turner (Marta) had many loose teeth during filming. When they fell out, they were replaced with false teeth.

- Nicholas Hammond (Friedrich) has brown hair, and had to undergo several painful hair bleachings before and during filming to make his hair blond.

- Kym Karath (Gretl) couldn't swim, so the original idea was to get Julie Andrews to catch her when the boat tips up and they all fall in the water. However, during the second take the boat toppled over so that Andrews fell to one side and Karath fell to the other. Heather Menzies-Urich (Louisa) had to save her instead. Andrews stated later she felt guilty about this for years.

- When Maria is running through the courtyard to the Von Trapp house in "I Have Confidence", she trips. This was an accident; however, director Robert Wise liked this so much that he kept it in the movie. He felt it added to the nervousness of the song and of the character.

- The actors had to be continually hosed down while filming the scene after they had fallen out of the boat, in order to remain dripping wet.

- At the beginning of filming, Heather Menzies-Urich (Louisa) was about three inches taller than Nicholas Hammond (Friedrich). He had to wear heel lifts to make him look taller. By the end of the shoot, Nicolas Hammond had grown six inches (5'3" to 5'9"). He often filmed in no shoes and Charmian Carr had to stand on a box to make her taller. All of the Von Trapp children grew a lot during filming, so heel lifts and various camera tricks were used to keep their heights steady.

- The first scene filmed was the scene in Maria's bedroom where Frau Schmidt brings the dress material, and later Liesl sneaks in through the window. One of the last scenes filmed was the "You are Sixteen" number, which appears in the film right before the scene in Maria's room. The two scenes were shot about 4 months apart.

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

Atlantis Productions' "Aida" June 24-July 10, 2011

Announcement from Atlantis Productions

Atlantis Productions stages
The Timeless Love Story
by Elton John and Tim Rice
Directed by Chari Arespacochaga
June 24-July 10, 2011
Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium, RCBC Plaza, Makati City

Elton John and Tim Rice’s Aida is a contemporary musical take on a grand classic tale of the timeless bond between an enslaved Nubian princess and an Egyptian soldier.

As forbidden love blossoms between them, the young lovers are forced to face death or part forever. Together, they set a shining example of true devotion that ultimately transcends the vast cultural differences between their warring nations, heralding a time of unprecedented peace and prosperity.

With a pop-rock score that features stirring ballads and rousing choral numbers, Elton John and Tim Rice’s AIDA is a modern crowd pleaser that embraces exuberant dancing, staging and singing.
Ima Castro, Rachel Alejandro, Myke Salomon, Hajji Alejandro, Alys Serdenia, and Josh Santana.
Ima Castro as Aida
Myke Salomon as Radames
father-and-daughter Hajji and Rachel Alejandro as father-and-daughter Zoser and Amneris
Alys Serdenia as Nehebka
pop singer Josh Santana as Mereb

Shows are available for show-buying and fund-raising opportunities.
Call Atlantis Productions at 8927078.

Here is their You Tube trailer:
What do you think of this production? Share your comments.

U.P. Dance Company's "Class Menu Reprise" June 30 and July 1, 2011

U.P. Dance Company
Class Menu Reprise

June 30 and July 1, 2011 7pm
UP Dance Company Studio, Ylanan cor. Magsaysay Streets,
University of the Philippines, Diliman-Campus, Quezon City
Tickets at P100

Featuring different genres of dance from ballet, and folk dance, to contemporary dance, CLASS MENU REPRISE will showcase choreographies by some alumni and members of the UPDC – Ma. Elena Laniog-Alvarez, Ava Maureen Villanueva, Lisa Fernandez, Al Bernard Garcia – as well as restaged dances of renowned choreographers Tony Fabella, and George Balanchine.

Contact 0905-822-2126 or 0917-804-4263

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

Seven year itch for Virgin Labfest

Yay! My article on the seventh Virgin Labfest (2011) was used by Philippine Daily Inquirer for its June 20, 2011 issue.
Seven-year itch for Virgin Labfest
By Walter Ang

Virgin Labfest 2010's "Higit Pa Dito"
will be "revisited" for Virgin Labfest 2011
Now on its seventh year, Virgin Labfest, a festival that focuses on staging new plays, is breaking tradition. Instead of presenting four sets of trilogies, it will present only three sets.  As an alternate, and a logical progression, it will now stage one full-length (two-act) play in lieu of the fourth set.

The fifth set, which "revisits" three selected productions from the previous labfest, remains.  This year's revisited set includes "Ondoy" by Remi Velasco, "Balun-balunan, Bingi-bingihan" by Debbie Tan, and "Higit Pa Dito" by Allan Lopez.

The labfest has always gone by its tagline of being "a venue for playwrights, directors and actors to bring to life 'untried, untested, unpublished and unstaged' plays" and its popularity has grown throughout the years for both audiences and aspiring playwrights.

Quantity and quality
VL founder and artistic director Rody Vera received 107 submissions this year, 24 of which are full length plays.

"I think the popularity of Labfest is brought about by the fact that playwrights or writers who want to try their hand at playwriting have found a rare venue to have their works staged and produced," he says.

"If you build it, they will come. I'm not saying all the works submitted are overwhelmingly great and skilled but we have to see this all in perspective-many people out there will say there are no good playwrights around but if we have a venue where playwrights are allowed to fail, sooner or later, the good ones will emerge."

This year marks entries from plays from both established and amateur playwrights who are being included in the Labfest for the first-time.  Vera is also experimenting on not giving themed-titles to the sets.

The line-up includes, Set 1: "Bawal Tumawid, Nakamamatay" by Joey Paras, "Kafatiran" by Ricardo Novenario, "Mga Lobo Tulad ng Buwan" by Pat Valera;

Set 2: "Opera" by Floy Quintos, "Kinaumagahan" by Rachelle Rodriguez and Winnielyn Fajilan, "Kawala" by Rae Red;

Set 3: "Requiem" by Christian Vallez, "The Valley Mission Care" by Russel Legaspi, and "Streetlight Manifesto" by Mixcaela Villalon.

The full length work to be featured is "Isang Gabi Bago Magbukas ang Portrait of the Artist as Filipino ni Nick Joaquin" by Carlo Pacolor Garcia.

Garcia's "Ang Mga Halimaw" and "Bakit Wala Nang Nagtatagpo sa Philcoa Oberpas" have been featured in past Labfests.  "Isang Gabi" is about a theater group that encounters a bloody corpse backstage the night before their show opens.

Other full length plays that will receive staged readings include "Chiaroscuro" by Lito Casaje, "Hermano Puli" by Layeta Bucoy, and "House of Candles" by Nicolas Pichay.

New, new, new
Last year's "Balunbalunan, Bingibingian."
VL was initiated by Vera through Writer's Bloc, an independent organization of established and aspiring playwrights that he heads, in partnership with Tanghalang Pilipino.  Later on, the Cultural Center of the Philippines became a co-organizer.  This year, the National Commission on Culture and the Arts is providing partial funding.

Vera is keen on maintaining an emphasis towards eyeing what is "new."  "We're hoping to include a devised work this year so that audiences can see that there are different ways of 'playwriting,'" he says, referring to the practice where a script is created by a group from improvisation work.

"They say seven years counts as one full cycle. I'm thinking of expanding the concept and advocacy of VL and that might mean taking a back seat.  I'm seriously thinking of passing the baton to others so, allowing new eyes and tastes, so that VL will grow and take on a different character, ambience, texture."

He's also interested in developing similar initiatives in other regions.  "Imagine if we can do this in Visayas and Mindanao!"

Playwrights galore
Last year, VL launched its anthology of featured plays.  This year, "Telon: Mga Dula," the first anthology of Telon Playwrights Circle, will be launched.  A seminal playwrights group, Telon was formed in 1983 by the late Rene Villanueva. 

Telon members who have become prominent writers and artists include Nicolas Pichay, Luna Sicat-Cleto, Rolando Dela Cruz, Auraeus Solito, Jun Lana and Romulo "Joey" Baquiran.

"Three of the plays in this collection have been produced at the Virgin Labfest. Four of the anthologized playwrights are members of Writers Bloc," says the book's editor Tim Dacanay.  "Five of the seven plays have won either a Gawad CCP or Palanca award. The book's introduction is by National Artist for Literature Bienvenido Lumbera."

The plays include (one-acts) "Kaaway sa Sulod" by Rene Villanueva and Rolando Dela Cruz; "Maternal" by Luna Sicat-Cleto, "Gamugamo sa Kanto ng East Avenue" by Dela Cruz; and "Serbis" by Elmar Ingles; and (full lengths) "Koloring Koloraw: Kuwentong Akabaw" by Nicolas B. Pichay, "Teatro Porvenir" by Tim Dacanay, and "Baby B." by Rene Villanueva.

Virgin Labfest 2011 runs June 29-July 10 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines, Roxas Blvd., Pasay City.  Call 832-1125.

Also published online:


Bonus! Here is the line-up for the 7th Virgin Labfest at the Tanghalang Huseng Batute.
June 29 to July 10, 2011

29 WED




10 SUN



"Labfest Revisited" Set
JUNE 29, 3pm/8pm; JULY 7, 8pm; JULY 8, 3pm

by Allan Lopez
directed by Tuxqs Rutaquio
Featuring: Cris Pasturan, Angelina Kanapi
Bing, a single mother, leaves her two grown children to live on her own.  Still grappling with uncertainty, she moves in her new apartment with the help of her son Kael.  In the deceptively simple conversation between mother and son, ambiguous and seemingly random recollections paint a portrait of a woman trying to rediscover strength, and the drive to revisit her long abandoned desire.

by Remi Velasco
directed by Ed Lacson, Jr.
Featuring: Cai Cortez, Jelson Bay
If you were trapped on your rooftop with nothing but only your wimp husband or  nagging wife in the middle of the tragic typhoon Ondoy, what would you wish for? Mercy demanded for an annulment while Obet wanted only his son to stay and Mercy to be booted out of “roof.” The storm begins, the battle begins. The couple’s struggle to save their lives was awkwardly turned into a fight, crystallizing their own family “storm” – their chronic, even futile problems. But when Ondoy subsided, who will be booted out?

by Debbie Ann Tan
directed by Issa Lopez
Featuring: Bembol Roco, Missy Maramara, Paul Jake Paule
Gilbeys and Brandy, 20 years apart are husband and wife, pimp and whore who love each other dearly.  Brandy with her repertoire of roles as nurse, baker, cook or tutor does her trade with perfunctory ease that brings to the table Gilbey’s sole diet: chicken gizzard.  However, life gets more difficult.  They decide to take in a boarder, someone who could help them in this covert trade as well.

Enter Whiskey,a virile lad who looks and acts nice. The couple take him in as a bedspacer.  They eventually reveal their trade to Whiskey and insinuate an offer to work for them as a “plumber.” But three is always a crowd. But Gilbeys and Brandys love for each other runs deep.  A love that links the matter of eating chicken gizzards.

JULY 3, 3pm/8pm; JULY 9, 8pm; JULY 10, 3pm

by Rachelle Rodriguez and Wennielyn Fajilan
directed by Riki Benedicto
Featuring:  Via Antonio, Noel Escondo
How will Liz and Red make their relationship work if time is not on their side? 6:00 AM—that’s the only time they see each other… and the moment does not last long. Liz, a nurse, is on her way to morning duty while Red, a call center agent, is just coming home from graveyard shift. Conversations, make-outs, jealousies, fights and make-ups happen during this short span of the early morn. Every day, they are left with no other choice but to continue these hanging vernal issues – the morning after.

written and directed by Christian Vallez
Featuring: Joel Parcon, Frankie Pascua
Alvin and Mina go back to their ancestral home for the NCCA's tribute to their dying father who is a National Artist for Music. As Alvin settles down in his old bedroom, Mina enters and asks if she can sleep in his room. She could not sleep because of the Music being played in the house. Mina thinks it sick that their father is having a "funeral" even before he is dead and that his having cancer was just an excuse to get them to go home. Alvin could not understand her resentment towards their father. As Alvin tries to hide his feelings towards his adopted sister, Mina tries to sleep away the demons of their family's past in the comfort and solace of her brother's room.

by Ricardo Novenario
directed by JK Anicoche
Featuring: Acey Aguilar, Abner Delina, Jerald Napoles, Marco Viana
Kafatiran is a story of love and freedom. At the dawn of the Philippine revolution, another revolution is brewing. Deep within the ranks of the Katipunan is a special faction composed of young men who are smart, art-loving, and sometimes a bit too mild-mannered. Young Antonino Corpus wants to join this special faction and goes through some tests to know if he does belong into this group. Unfortunately, the night of Antonino’s recruitment is also the night that sparks the Philippine revolution and the recruitment house is surrounded by several guardia civil. Should they leave the place where they are free to be themselves so that they can attain true freedom? Should they finally come out?

SET B (Full-length play)
JUNE 30, 3pm/8pm; JULY 6, 3pm; JULY 8, 8pm

by Carlo Pacolor Garcia
directed by Paul Santiago
Featuring: Angelina Kanapi, Che Ramos, Christian Bautista, Roeder Camañag, Lao Rodriguez, Olive Nieto, Chromewell Cosio, Kathlyn Castillo, Acey Aguilar, Yong Tapang, Roli Inocencio, Skyzx Labastilla, Russel Legaspi, Irene Delarmente, Joel Saracho
Just another typical night at the theater: the director’s mad, stage manager’s losing his wit, and the actors are, well, acting up—until one by one, they all start dying. Then the fun suddenly begins: who’s out to get a bunch of old and forgotten stars trying to get another break; why here and why now, why The Portrait; perhaps a prank,a pure coincidence; or has the past finally decided to play cat and mouse? It was a dark and stormy night, indeed, and everyone’s a suspect. Look sharp, find your light, and break a leg!

JULY 1, 3pm/8pm; JULY 9, 3pm; JULY 10, 8pm

by Mixkaela Villalon
directed by Ed Lacson, Jr.
Featuring: Paolo O’Hara, Adrienne Vergara, Bong Cabrera, Ness Roque
Every night, a streetlight is the lone witness to the meetings between two hired killers responsible for the string of murders in a particular area in Manila— and every day, dead bodies are left underneath it for a police detective to find, and a young journalist to investigate and report. Streetlight Manifesto tackles the subjective nature of truth and justice, and frames the discussion on dignity of work amidst the backdrop of Manila’s business casual culture of violence. But for every day the investigation remains unresolved, the body count continues to rise.

by Rae Red
directed by Paolo O’Hara
Featuring: Cris Pasturan, Regina de Vera, Jerry O’Hara, Peewee O’Hara, Tess Jamias, Jelson Bay, George de Jesus
A famous actor and his snobby manager
A posh, religious husband and wife
A promiscuous gold digger
A mysterious priest
And an innocent young woman
Seen through the eyes of a puzzled elevator boy, “KAWALA” tells the story of intertwined lives in a condominium and how they affect an important life choiceof a confused employee.

by Floy Quintos
directed by Jomari Jose
Featuring: Ana Abad Santos, Frances Makil Ignacio,  Jonathan Tadioan
Miranda Beloto, wife of Governor Bingo Beloto is obsessed with the idea of bringing to her impoverished province the first staging of a full length opera.  As she prepares to face her corrupt, insensitive husband, she must also deal with the pressure from her own manipulative mother.  It seems that Miranda’s foolhardy vision of beauty is all she can cling to in the face of so much brutality.  Or is she herself a crucial part of the cycle of corruption?

JULY 2, 3pm/8pm; JULY 6, 8pm; JULY 7, 3pm

writtend and directed by Pat Valera
Featuring: Mary Jane Alejo, Katte Sabata, Chic San Agustin
A mother, wife and daughter remain in the realm of resistance to seek justice. Each has lost a loved one from the tragic sinking of MV Princess of the Stars where 773 people died. One of the worst maritime disasters in recent years, the vessel sank because of the shipping line’s insistence to sail amidst a looming typhoon.

Three years since the sinking, the women persist. However, they slowly forget. Time consumes them, great powers offer bribes, the cost of the struggle becomes insurmountable. Most of all, the memory of pain stabs each time it is remembered. Some succumb to the solace of oblivion, leaving the seemingly endless battle while some remain amidst certain pain and uncertain answers.  This is an elegy for all those lost at sea and their relatives left behind.

written and directed by Joey Paras
Featuring: Leo Rialp, Kiki Baento, Mark Jones Simbit, Vera Capiral, Bham Sumooc, Eva Madera, Giovanni Cadag, Paolo Ballesteros, Floid Zulueta, Biboy Ramirez
It is February 14, Valentine`s Day. Eva is trapped in a bus stop along EDSA. Desperately trying to get a cab to make it to her father`s burial in La Loma, she asks passersby how she could make it to her destination. She sees an easy access to make it to the other lane ---an opening in the middle of the highway that bears this sign: BAWAL TUMAWID, NAKAMAMATAY.  In the meantime, Eva meets a stranger ...

by Russel Legaspi
directed by Missy Maramara
Featuring: Siegfried Sepulveda, Mayen Estanero, Richard Cunanan
An Old Man, Francisco finds himself stuck between the comfortable landscape of a Nursing institute and the Promise he holds dearly to be with his love. A promise he intends to keep even if it means he dies trying.

Three full-length plays will have staged reading performances at the Bulwagang Amado Hernandez  (Conference Room) at the CCP. ONE PERFORMANCE NIGHT EACH ONLY.

by Lito Casaje
directed by Dennis Marasigan
JULY 1, 6pm
Chiaroscuro, which in Latin and art parlance means the contradiction of light and shade, posits a universal worldview that life is likewise full of human contradictions. This Chekhovian play also paints the world of the Malate visual artists and the challenges they face in their struggle for economic survival vis-a-vis their unrelenting pursuit to perfect their craft. It also essays the universal theme on the artist’s option to compromise his art in exchange for commercial satisfaction, or rather, is the kind of compromise merely an option or a painful necessity for one to survive?

by Nicolas Pichay
directed by Jose Estrella
July 7, 6pm
The House of Candles is set in Manila and New York.  It is an exploration of the consequences brought about by extreme personal desires.  It is a rumination on the topography of progeny and legacy; problematizes the act of creation.  The play is a first draft of a work-in-progress.

by Layeta Bucoy
directd by Tuxqs Rutaquio
music by Vincent de Jesus
July 9, 6pm
After being executed by the guardias civiles in the Tayabas Plaza, the body of Apolinario dela Cruz aka Hermano Puli was dismembered and hang all over Tayabas. The different ways by which some members of the Cofradia cope with the death of their leader are reflected in their individual “interaction” with Hermano Puli’s disunited body parts: from Pausto’s outright rejection of one of the basic tenets of the Cofradia, Matea’s unwavering faith in the resurrection of Hermano Puli, Rosa’s plan of trekking to Mt. Banahaw to string together Hermano Puli’s body pieces, and to Juana’s desire to snatch the Hermano’s hanging foot.

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