Final curtain for Tony Espejo and Mario O' Hara 2012

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Antonio "Tony" Espejo
Founding artistic director of Gantimpala Theater

Tony Espejo passed away June 21, 2012.
Wake at Charity Chapel of Don Bosco Church, Makati.
Interment June 26 at Manila Memorial Park in Sucat, ParaƱaque

One of the very first plays I ever saw was Gantimpala's "El Filibusterismo" staged at the Metropolitan Theater in the mid '90s.  Since then, I've seen all four curriculum plays staged annually by the group.

The very first theater-related workshop I ever took was Gantimpala Theater's Stage Management and Teacher Training workshop in summer of 1999. My teachers were Ed Murillo and Ama Quiambao. Sir Tony monitored our progress and gave very insightful lectures.

Mario O' Hara
Theater actor, playwright; Film scriptwriter, actor, director

Mario O' Hara passed away June 26, 2012.
Wake at Magallanes Church.
Interment details to follow.

I had the opportunity to interview Mario O' Hara in 2008 when he was acting for Tanghalang Pilipino's staging "Kudeta."  Read the article here.

I've seen O' Hara perform in the following productions:
Tatlong Mariya
Belong Puti
American Hwangap (Tagalog translation)
Orfeo sa Impyerno
Pokpok ng Ohio
'Yun na nga (Kung 'yun na nga)

Thank you and farewell, gentlemen.

June 26, 2012 is also the first year death anniversary of
Jose Mari Avellana
Theater actor, director
Read about it here.

Here is a video tribute to Tony Espejo that I found online:

Here is a statement from Theater Actors Guild:


Just as Tony Espejo was being laid to rest, Mario O’ Hara was breathing his last. In a week’s time, Philippine theater lost two of her most glorious sons.

We, members of the Philippine Theater Actors Guild, grieve.

Tony, through Bulwagang Gantimpala (later Gantimpala Theater Foundation), ushered in the flourishing of original Filipino plays in the 80s. Through its laboratory productions, Gantimpala in Tony’s guidance, discovered and nurtured the talents of many of today’s theater actors, directors and production staff.

Mario, on the other hand, was more popularly known for his achievements in film (as an actor in Lino Brocka’s Tinimbang Ka Ngunit Kulang which Mario also wrote; and either as writer or director or both for films like Tatlong Taong Walang Diyos, Insiang, Bulaklak ng city Jail , Babae sa Bubungang Lata, Babae sa Breakwater and Paglilitis kay Andres Bonifacio ) . But Mario was, and will always be the son of the theater. He lent and shared his talent as an actor to various theater companies --- PETA, Dulaang UP, and Tanghalang Pilipino among others.

At the time of his death, Mario was prepared to do his original musical , Stage Show, for Tanghalang Pilipino. Stage Show is the story of aging veterans of Filipino vaudeville caught between their love for the craft and economic survival. He did not live long enough to be physically present to pay tribute to a lost art.

Tony and Mario were icons of Philippine theater. Their deaths will leave a vacuum in the community of artists. We grieve, but in that grief is our vow to remember the shared stories with them, and pass it on to the new and the young that they ,too, may catch a glimpse of the passion and creative genius now gone.

With the death of Tony and Mario --- our seniors, mentors, colleague and friends ---- we can only commit to live up to the ideals of Philippine theater for which they lived.

President, TAG
26 June 2012

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