Carren's Pitch

Life by Design

3/01/2006

A Taste of Theatre

Posted by Carren Jao Pineda |

published March 2006

IN 1989, the world stood up and took notice as a little known Asian performer won the prestigious Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical. Of course, this is none other than Lea Salonga in her role as Kim of Miss Saigon. Her triumph does not surprise, but only confirms the Filipino’s artistry.

Music and drama have always been a part of the Filipino way of life and one does have to look for proof of our prowess. Just open the television stations to see the multitude of belting divas and heart wrenching tears from seasoned actresses. Every Filipino loves to entertain and be entertained.

But, television is not the only medium. In fact, the Filipino talent shines even brighter up close and personal – on stage and in living color.

The good news is that Filipino theatre is alive and kicking. And, there is theatre to suit whatever your taste.

For the more conventional, try Repertory Philippines’ brand of entertainment at Greenbelt’s OnStage Theatre. This not-for-profit professional theatre company is already running on its 39th year. During this time, it has been home to some of the industry’s icons such as Zenaida Amador, Baby Barredo, and Audie Gemora. With plays such as Beauty and the Beast, Little Shop of Horrors, and its most recent offering Man of La Mancha, it has brought the magic of Broadway and West End to life on Philippine soil.

For something youthful and vibrant, try wandering down the sprawling campus halls of Ateneo de Manila to see one of the Philippines’ oldest existing drama groups, Dulaang Sibol. This high school theatre group has been entertaining and provoking audiences with its productions for 50 years under the guidance of its founder, Mr. Onofre Pagsanhan fondly called Mr. Pagsi on campus. Still, despite the cast members’ ages, they are able to awaken the minds and hearts of their audiences, with such productions as the Shakespearean classic Julius Ceasar, Sinta (a play transplanted from the Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt classic Fanstasticks), and an original morality play by an Atenean high school student Ang Paglilitis ni Mang Serapio (which even made critics stand up and take notice). It has been hailed by National Artist Leonor Orosa Goquinco as “high school theater with a professional polish”. This theatre group truly lives up to its name, always fresh and sprouting with promise.

If you’re not really one of those run of the mill types, try a dash of something different with Koiné, billed the only professional intimate theatre in the country. Headquartered at nearby Kamuning, this fledgling theatre group not only entertains but educates poor children of Metro Manila through affordable performing arts classes. Through its founder and artistic director, Niel de Mesa, it has also staged plays that gently poke at life’s foibles. Such plays are SubTEXT, an endearing one act play on the miscommunication that happens to lovers especially in the age of the cellular phone, and the more recent I Laugh You, a romantic comedy about a young man who is forced to profess his love- albeit in the most bumbling way.

So, for an experience of something less ordinary sure to suit any taste, try a little live entertainment care of our very own homegrown talents. You are sure to go home with a little twinge in your gut or a night of rollicking good time.


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