Naty Crame Rogers' Philippine Drama Company Sala Theater stages "Portrait of an Artist as Filipino" dinner theater on Oct 22 and 28

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Yay! My article on a dinner-theater staging of "Portrait of an Artist as Filipino" was published by Philippine Daily Inquirer for its Oct. 17, 2011 issue.
Naty Crame Rogers stages "Portrait" dinner theater on Oct 22 and 28
By Walter Ang

(From left) Lala Castillo as Paula,
Naty Crame-Rogers as Candida,
and Lamberto "Bats" Avellana
(son of Lamberto and Daisy Hontiveros-Avellana)
as Tony Javier, during rehearsals.
Natividad "Naty" Crame-Rogers' Philippine Drama Company Sala Theater will perform Nat'l Artist for Literature Nick Joaquin's "Portrait of an Artist as Filipino."

Rogers directs and plays the role of Candida.  Lala Castillo plays Paula.  The play shows how the Marasigan spinster sisters who live inside Intramuros deal with the changes happening in Old Manila prior to the start of World War II, "stubbornly clinging to the genteel though impractical world of Hispanized culture."

The play will be presented as dinner-theater in Ilustrado restaurant in Intramuros.  Audiences can watch the performance while dining on the restaurant's Spanish-Filipino themed-menu: Paella Ilustrado accompanied by Callos Madrilena, Roasted Chicken ala Naranja, and Bonoan Bangus Relleno, among others.

Ilustrado, celebrating its 22nd anniversary, has served as the venue for several of PDCST's productions, recently hosting the group's performance of "Leonor: The love of Jose Rizal," an adaptation of Severino Montano's "The Love of Leonor Rivera," in commemoration of Rizal's birth sesquicentennial this year.

Theater for all
Now 88 years old, Rogers has been creating and teaching theater since training as a college student under theater artist Wilfrido Guerrero.  Her PDCST celebrated its 25th anniversary last year.  It tours productions and also holds performances in Amingtahanan Sala Theater, Roger's own residence in Pasig City, where the living room is transformed into a performance space.

In line with Rogers' thrust on getting as many people interested in theater as possible, and partly to celebrate the La Naval de Manila (held every second Sunday of October), the production's technical dress rehearsal in Ilustrado restaurant on Oct. 21 will be open to audiences.  Audiences can order food while watching the rehearsals.

La Naval lecture
The rehearsal will include a short lecture on the Virgin of La Naval at 3pm.  An event witnessed by characters in the play, the La Naval de Manila procession honors the Virgin of La Naval of Sto. Domingo Church--which used to be located inside Intramuros.

The procession was portrayed in National Artist for Theater and Film Lamberto Avellana's screen adaptation of "Portrait," where Rogers played Paula opposite National Artist for Theater Daisy Hontiveros-Avellana's Candida. Both also essayed the same roles in the stage version that premiered prior to the film, also directed by Lamberto with a script adapted by Daisy for the Avellana couple's Barangay Theater Guild.  This production will use the same script adapted by Daisy Avellana.

"Portrait of an Artist as Filipino" runs Oct. 22 (Sat) and 28 (Fri), 2011. Ticket includes cocktails at 6:00 pm, show at 7:00 pm, dinner at 9:00 pm. Ilustrado Restaurant is at 744 General Luna St., Intramuros, Manila. Contact 527-3674, 527-2345, 0922-823-4981, 0922-823-4983 or Visit

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