Battle Royale: novel is now a street play

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Yay! My article on the upcoming production of "Battalia Royale" was published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer in its Feb. 27, 2012 issue.
Battle Royale: novel is now a street play
By Walter Ang

Preview of "Battalia Royale" performed earlier this year.
Sipat Lawin Ensemble has collaborated with several Australian playwrights to develop a performance adaptation of "Battle Royale"-the controversial novel by Koushun Takami that  spawned a movie version and a manga version.

"Battle Royale" is set in a dystopian Japan where a classroom of high school students is taken by a totalitarian government to an island and forced to kill each other until only one survivor remains.  Everyone is fitted with a collar that will explode should they try to escape the island or refuse to kill other students.

"The novel explores similar themes in 'Lord of the Flies.' It's a sharp satire on society's need for increasingly visceral entertainment," says SLE artistic director JK Anicoche.

"Our script has three different endings. Every show will have one of the three different ending depending on what happens that night."

This "stage" version (the work is intended for on-site outdoor performances), titled "Battalia Royale," will involve 40 actors.  Bodjie Pascua will play the classroom's teacher.

Page to stage
Students are forced to kill each
other in "Battle (Battalia) Royale."
Anicoche, who spent a year living in Japan, had always wanted to stage the material.  When his group staged David Finnigan's "To Heat You Up and Cool You Down" in Penguin Café, Malate in 2009, he found out Finnigan had been working on an improv routine based on the novel. They began collaborating.

Last year, they included filmmakers Sam Burns-Warr and Georgie McAuley, and writer Jordan Prosser in a month-long collaborative devising process to finalize a script.

"David and the other three playwrights came to Manila using their own money to work with SLE to devise the scenes and script," says Anicoche.  "They would set parameters, our actors would create the scene with Pinoy sensibilities, they wrote accordingly."

Sipat Lawin Ensemble usually performs "deconstructed" works that highlight collaborative development and ensemble acting.  The group usually performs in alternative or non-theater spaces like living rooms, parks, bars, bathrooms, etc.

They recently staged a Tagalog "jejemon" translation of Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet" retitled as "R'MeoW <3's JHuLEz." The production was performed in a barangay community basketball court, used delivery devices such as rap and fliptop, and had choreography that included hiphop and krumping.

Online and real world
For "Battalia," Anicoche directs.  Jazz band Radioactive Sago Project collaborates with Teresa Barrozo (scorer of Brillante Mendoza's "Kinatay") for the production's sound design.

SLE is also plans on publishing an online database of characters and weapons. (In the movie, the tools assigned to the students were luck of the draw, some getting weapons such as a machine gun and some getting items such as a paper fan.)

After it premieres at the main driveway ramp of the Cultural Center of the Philippines, plans are underway for possible performances in one of the prison cells in Fort Santiago and a warehouse in a yet-to-be-decided location.  For certain productions and performances, the group announces their venues only a few days prior through their online social networking accounts.

"Battalia Royale" runs March 9-11 at a yet-to-be-announced abandoned school in Cubao. Contact 0917-500-8753 or or add the group's Facebook page.

Also published online:

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Philippine Educational Theater Association's "Thee Na Natuto" Feb. 22-Mar. 7, 2012

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Announcement from Philippine Educational Theater Association

Philippine Educational Theater Association

"Thee Na Natuto: A Sonnets Concert for the Lovesick"
A musical experience that transforms Shakespeare's sonnets into Filipino songs.
Featuring 12 Filipino poets translating the verses (National Artist for Literature Bienvenido Lumbera, Pete Lacaba, Joi Barrios, Luna Sicat-Cleto and many more), as well as several artist-musicians composing and performing the tunes.
Feb 22, 29 and Mar 7, 2012
PETA Theater Center Studios

"I, Malvolio"
UK theatre artist Tim Crouch re-imagines "Twelfth Night" through the eyes of Shakespeare's most pent-up steward. is a wild, hilarious and unsettling rant from a man adrift in front of a cruel audience, a man notoriously abused.

Malvolio enters the madness of Shakespeare's comedy and makes it his own. A story of lost dignity, prudery, practical jokes and bullying, this one-man act of storytelling alchemy draws us deep into the madness of Shakespeare's classic comedy.

Showdates TBA

Contact 725-6244, 410-0821 to 22, 0917-5765400 or

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Filipino, American, Japanese productions for campus season-enders

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Yay! My article on the upcoming season enders of campus theater groups was published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer in its Feb. 13, 2012 issue.
Filipino, American, Japanese productions 
for campus season-enders
By Walter Ang

Campus-based theater groups are concluding their respective 2011-2012 seasons.

Tanghalang Ateneo caps its season with Suzue Toshiro's “Fireflies.” a play where several characters are on a lonely search for connection and compassion in contemporary Japanese society.

Using the English Translation by David Goodman, the production will be directed by BJ Crisostomo and TA artistic director Ricardo Abad.

With set design by Ohm David, costumes design by Lhenvil Paneda, lighting design by Jonjon Villareal and sound design by Michiyo Reyes.

Toshiro, Head of Toho College of Music and Drama’s Drama Department, will hold a lecture-discussion on contemporary Japanese theater, open to the public.

Ateneo Blue Repertory closes its 2011-2012 season with a revival of “Bare,” a rock musical about two gay teenagers struggling to find their place in the world as they are about graduate from a Catholic high school.

Music, lyrics and book by Jon Hartmere Jr. and Damon Intrabartolo, Blue Rep first premiered this production in 2009.

Ana Abad-Santos directs with musical direction by Onyl Torres. Set design by Leeroy New, lighting design by John Batalla and costume design by Raven Ong.

ADMU offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts Major in Theater Arts, with concentration in disciplines such as acting, directing or production design. The program has student performances throughout the schoolyear.

“Fireflies” runs Feb. 9-25, 2012 at Rizal Mini-Theater, Ateneo De Manila University, Quezon City. Contact 0920-584-7421. Lecture by Toshiro on Feb. 24, 2012 at Fine Arts Theater Studio. Contact 426-6001 loc. 5331.

“Bare” runs Feb. 29-Mar. 10, 2012 at Teatrino Theater, Greenhills Shopping Center, San Juan. Contact 0916-578-7618 or

Dulaang Unibersidad ng Pilipinas wraps up its 2011-2012 season with a staging of National Artist for Theater Wilfrido Guerrero's “Forsaken House” in celebration of his birth centennial.

Directed by Tony Mabesa, the play is set in the early 1940s and show the struggles of the controlling Don Ramon and his repressed children.

This is the first time the group will stage this play.

Leo Rialp and Joel Lamangan alternate as Don Ramon while Irma Adlawan and Tess Dumpit alternate as Don Ramon’s submissive wife Encarna.

Guerrero was a prolific playwright whose works were translated into several languages and performed internationally. 

He handled UP’s Dramatic Club as artistic director.  The organization eventually became Dulaang UP.  The theater where he staged most of his productions, then known as Liberal Arts Lecture Hall, was renamed after him in 1976. DUP uses the Guerrero Theater to this day.

With costume design by Eric Pineda, set design by Ohm David and set decoration by Gywn Guanzon, lighting design by Meliton Roxas, music by Boron Garcia, and sound design by Jethro Joaquin.

Dulaang UP is under the university’s Department of Speech Communication and Theater Arts, which offers certificate and degree programs in Theater Arts. Aside from its season line-up, the group also stages its students’ thesis productions under its Dulaang Laboratoryo series throughout the schoolyear.

“The Forsaken House” runs Feb. 15-Mar. 4, 2012 at Wilfrido Guerrero Theater, University of the Philippines, Quezon City. Contact 0917-7500107 or 926-1349.

Also published online:

UPLB Samasining's "Articulo Mortis" Feb. 15-18, 2012

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Inihahandog ng
University of the Philippines-Los Baños Samasining

ni Eljay Deldoc

Feb. 15-18, 2012
Dioscoro Umali Hall, University of the Philippines-Los Baños

Direksyon: Ron Biñas
Disenyo ng kasuotan: Carlo Pagunaling
Disenyo ng set: Kulay Labitigan
Disenyo ng ilaw: Ian Bautista

Articulo Mortis is a play that portrays death and its innumerable facets. Through the perspectives of five diverse characters, the play exposes a two-faced irony to this inevitable phenomenon -- where men live, and where men continue to live after dying.

Here is the trailer:

This production is part of:
1st Southern Tagalog Arts Festival

*The Southern Tagalog Arts Festival is a celebratory showcase of the role of the arts in everyday life. This month-long celebration coincides with National Arts Month (February 2012).

The festival aims to serve as a venue to represent not only the classical art forms (literature, painting, sculpture, architecture, music, dance and theater), but also folk arts (weaving, carving, embroidery, rituals) and contemporary art forms (digital photography, computer animation).

Participants to the 1st Southern Tagalog Arts Festival:
Biswal-   visual arts (drawing, painting, printmaking, etc.)
Lilok- plastic arts (sculpture, pottery/ceramics, etc.)
Balay- applied arts (weaving, embroidery, fashion design, interior design, architecture, etc.)
Sulat- written works (poetry, prose, academic research, etc.)
Tanghal- performative arts (theatre, music, dance, oral traditions, rituals and other expressions of belief, etc.)
Usbong- new media art forms (film, video, photography, graphic design, digital art, etc.)

The festival opens with the first Southern Tagalog Studies Conference, highlighting the scholarly study of local historical and cultural heritage as part of recognizing the Tagalog region’s contribution to Philippine culture and the arts.

Week 1
Feb 1: Grand Opening Conference, Dioscoro Umali Hall
Feb 2-4: Para Kay B, Makiling Ballroom Hall, SU Building
Feb 3: Pantas Writers Forum, 1 pm, Dioscoro Umali Hall

Week 2
Feb 6: If I Were A Voice; Dioscoro Umali Hall
Feb 7: Tagpuan sa Katimugan, Sining Makiling Gallery
Feb 8-11: Selebrasyon: Paghahabi ng Kwerdas ng Buhay, Dioscoro Umali Hall

Week 3
Feb 15-18: Artikulo Mortis, Dioscoro Umali Hall

Week 4
Feb 20: Papet Kalikasan, Dioscoro Umali Hall
Feb 22: Pelikultura: The CALABARZON Film Festival, DL Umali
Feb 23-24: Movements Guitar Concert, NCAS Auditorium

Week 5
Feb 27-28: Surtido: Indayog ng Kulturang Tagalog
Feb 29: Closing Concert, Baker Hall

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Ballet Philippines' "Pusong Wagas" Feb. 17-19, 2012

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Announcement from Ballet Philippines

Ballet Philippines’ “Pusong Wagas” perfect for Valentine’s weekend

Ballet Philippines ends its 42nd Season with undying love in the all-new contemporary ballet, “Pusong Wagas” on Feb.17-19 at the CCP Little Theater.

BP resident choreographer Alden Lugnasin creates his original contemporary ballet based on the legend of the city of Mandaluyong, with libretto by Nicolas Pichay and original music by Cynthia Alexander.

Set in pre-colonial Manila, the story highlights the exemplary love of Luyong, a gifted carpenter, and Manda, a tribal princess, and their sacrifice in the face of the coming foreign invaders.

This work is co-produced by the City of Mandaluyong and Hon. Mayor Benjamin Abalos Jr.

Tickets are at P600 to P1000, with performance dates on February 17 and 18 at 3 PM and 8 PM, and February 19 at 10 AM and 3 PM. Student and senior citizen discounts apply.

For tickets call Ticketworld at 891-9999; Ballet Philippines at 551-1003, 551-7919, 624-5701; CCP Box Office at 832-3704. Visit or

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9 Works Theatrical's "You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown" Feb. 11-Mar. 3, 2012

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Announcement from 9 Works Theatrical

From left: Gaba as Schroeder, Guevarra as Charlie Brown,
Laurel as Linus, Guevarra-Laforteza as Lucy,
Plantado-Tiongson as Sally, and Martinez as Snoopy.
9 Works Theatrical
the Tony award-winning musical

Feb. 11-Mar. 3, 2012
Carlos Romulo Auditorium, RCBC Plaza Bldg., Makati City

Based on the Comic Strip “Peanuts” by Charles M. Schulz, with Book, Music, and Lyrics by Charles Gesner, Additional Dialogue by Michael Mayer, Additional Music and Lyrics by Andrew Lippa, Original Direction by Michael Mayer, and originally produced in New York by Arthur Whitelaw and Gene Persson,

Charlie Brown can’t seem to get his kite in the air nor win the heart of the elusive Little Red-Haired Girl.
Lucy is a bossy, crabby little tyrant who is convinced that she'll be Queen someday.
Lucy’s all-time crush is the sensitive piano-playing, Beethoven-admiring Schroeder.
Sally, Charlie Brown’s little sister, is troubled over getting a “D” in last week’s homework.
Meanwhile, Snoopy, Charlie Brown’s wise-cracking yet lovable dog, and Linus, Charlie Brown’s blanket-toting best friend, daydream all day.
Everyone figures out what happiness means.

Robbie Guevara as Charlie Brown
Lorenz Martinez as Snoopy
Carla Guevara-Laforteza as Lucy
Mio Infante/Franco Laurel/Toff de Venecia as Linus
Sweet Plantado-Tiongson as Sally Brown
Tonipet Gaba as Schroeder

Artistic team
Michael Williams (Director)

Toff de Venecia (Assistant Director)
Sweet Plantado-Tiongson (Musical Director – Vocals)
Joseph Tolentino (Musical Director – Instrumentation)
Deana Aquino (Choreographer)
Mio Infante (Scenographer)
Martin Esteva (Lighting Designer)
Chuck Ledesma (Sound Designer)
Mio Infante and Twinkle Zamora (Costume Designers)

Contact 557-5860, 586-7105 or 0917-5545560 or email

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Repertory Philippines' "Leading Ladies" Feb. 10-Mar. 4, 2012

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Announcement from Repertory Philippines

Repertory Philippines
its second offering for 2012
the hit comedy
“Leading Ladies”
By Ken Ludwig

“Leading Ladies” is about Leo and Jack, two British actors whose careers are so far on the skids that they’re performing “Scenes from Shakespeare” on the Moose Lodge circuit in Pennsylvania’s Amish country. They think their luck might change, however, when they hear about Florence, an old lady in a nearby town who is about to die and leave a considerable legacy to her nephews from England.

Leo convinces Jack that they should impersonate the heirs. Their foolproof plan hits a snag, though, when they arrive on the scene and realize the woman’s long-lost relatives are nieces and not nephews.

Feb. 10-Mar. 4, 2012
at Onstage, Greenbelt 1, Makati City.

Headlining “Leading Ladies” are James Stacey as Leo and Topper Fabregas as Jack. Supporting them are Cris Villonco as Meg, Giannina Ocampo as Audrey, Jamie Wilson as Duncan, Juno Henares as Florence, Hans Eckstein as Butch and Oliver Usison as Doc.

Directed by Michael Williams
Set design by Denis Lagdameo
Lighting design by John Batalla

Contact 5716926 or 5714941 or email
Tickets also available at 8919999 or
Visit, subscribe to, add “Rep Phils” in Facebook.

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