On stage in MNL

Staying put in Manila for July and the first weeks of August. There are so many things happening in the city, it's silly to complain.

For one, Philippine theater is doing plenty jazz hands. If you're not a regular theater goer, give it a try! There's more to theater than the hoity-toity activity it's reputed to have. May I suggest three shows you for you to see?

1. The William re-staging by PETA
Fresh na fresh from its win as Outstanding Play and Outstanding Ensemble Performance from the recent Gawad Buhay 2011, "William" returns to the PETA Theater for a limited run. If you missed it last year, try to catch it this time around.

The William barkada - don't expect stereotypes
*Special wave to Erwin (played magnificently by Ian Segarra,
who won Male Lead Performance for his role as the hip-hop loving class tukmol)* 
Who is William for?  Everyone. Whether you're in high school 20 years ago or trying to survive your literature subjects this semester, William will give you a whole new appreciation for William Shakespeare, Philippine theater, even for rap music.  

One of the best things about "William" is how it makes the Bard relevant in the Filipino context, seen in the way William Shakespeare's text crossed-over to the lives of Pinoy high school students in the play. Which could also be a statement of literature's place in our lives, really.

You don't have to be a fan of the Bard or know anything about his works. Be warned though that William's well-written libretto may convince you to give that dusty William Shakespeare book(s) lying around your house a read. 

There's plenty of fun in William, i.e. the clever use of rap and hip-hop dancing. If you've always thought plays are boring and so you've never gone, "William" will change your mind. 

For a review of William, click here.
The staging is on July 27-29, 10am and 3pm at the PETA Theater Center.
For inquiries and ticket reservations, call 7256244 and look for any of PETA's marketing staff.

2. God of Carnage, the Manila leg

"It’s  ‘Let’s just jump into hating each other,’ ”  - Lea Salonga

Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo and Lea Salonga? A play that's straight acting? I'm so there!
Seeing this at the end of the month & I can't be more excited.

The plot: two pairs of parents discuss their children's squabble. Conducting themselves as reasonable adults at first, they become increasingly childish as the night wears on.

The play also stars Adrian Pang and Art Acuna.

I didn't know Art Acuna is Pinoy. Having only seen him at the "Kitchen Musical," I thought he was Singaporean. I want a picture with him! Teehee. 

God of Carnage is co-produced by Atlantis Productions and the Singapore Repertory Theatre. The first leg of the production happens from July 13 to 22 at the Carlos P. Romulo Theater of the RCBC Plaza (they're flying this to Singapore after). 
For tickets, check Ticketworld.

3. Walang Sugat, a sarswela by Severino Reyes, at the CCP

Movie poster of the screen adaptation of 
"Walang Sugat"

I've seen this sarswela on stage twice two successive years in a row (2009 and 2010) and I've loved it each and every time.

In a nutshell, it's the story of Tenyong and Julia set in the final stages of the Philippine Revolution against Spain. Tenyong has to leave Julia behind to join the Katipuneros. Julia lets him go but promises to wait for him. Her mother, however, pressures her to marry Miguel, her rich suitor. As the fighting intensifies, so does the pressure from Julia's mother, made worse because nothing is heard from Tenyong. 

Politics, nationalism, revolution- they're all here. The play ends with a clever twist. 

Every Filipino should see it because Walang Sugat is really about love for country. Severino Reyes, the known "Father of the Tagalog Zarzuela", wrote this as his "statement against imperialism" in 1902 (Wikipedia). In fact, so subversive was the play considered that American authorities threw Reyes in jail. 

Another reason I love this play is because it showcases how beautiful Tagalog is. I heard this year's Julia will be played by Cris Villonco. Amazing as Maria in last year's Noli, Cris seems perfect for the part. I bet she'll turn in another well-nuanced performance. 

Walang Sugat runs from Aug. 9 to 26 at the CCP Little Theater.
For tickets, please check Ticketworld.

Enjoy the theater!

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