Monday, February 05, 2007

Small talk

"Pasinaya," the CCP's annual open house festival held yesterday from 10:30am to 5pm, seemed to augur a good year for the country's premiere performing arts center. The open house attracted an overflow crowd eager to see excerpts of the nine CCP resident companies' upcoming offerings for the year. The snippets were virtually for free. Visitors were encouraged to donate any amount at the entrance, and in exchange they could roam the CCP and check out the offerings of Ballet Philippines, Bayanihan Philippine National Folk Dance Company, the National Music Competition for Young Artists, Philippine Ballet Theater, Madrigal Singers, Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra, Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group, Tanghalang Pilipino and the UST Symphony Orchestra. Cinemalaya films and visual arts exhibits were also part of the festival. The crowd, much larger this year than in 2006, was everywhere. Even the ballet shows had full houses! I was turned away from Ballet Philippines' excellent suite of dances because there were no more seats, until I said the magic words--"Press po ako," plus the assurance that I didn't mind standing at the back. And kids were everywhere! These weren't brats just dragged along by their parents; they looked like they were enjoying the whole exercise as they patiently hopped from one venue to another to check out the shows. Kakatuwa! Let's hope this festive day translates to more audiences for CCP shows. Nood naman kayo!

It's not on the front page of today's Inquirer, but perhaps it should be. Pablo Tariman reports that, while nobody is looking, San Miguel Corporation has quietly killed the San Miguel Philharmonic Orchestra and the San Miguel Master Chorale. Why why why? They've just released a new CD of Filipino movie theme songs, and the ensembles were never in the news as causing problems or becoming a burden to one of the Philippines' richest companies. Ryan Cayabyab, the executive director, has not given any statement about this. What's known so far is that the members were summoned and told of the non-renewal of their contracts. Just like that, and five years of beautiful, painstaking music-making was dead. Mr. Tariman posits the view that San Miguel is more interested at this time to throw money at its four basketball teams. I don't know; help me on this. Basketball--we're height-challenged people (compared to Westerners, that is). Music and song--we've not been called Asia's minstrels for nothing. Our musical talent is indisputably our greatest export. So we pull the plug on our musicians and lavish millions on basketball teams? Nakngteteng naman!

Just when I thought I had seen everything there was to see in Tanghalang Pilipino's "ZsaZsa Zaturnnah," last Sunday's closing performance sprang a big surprise. Tuxqs Rutaquio, the actor who had been playing Ada without an alternate, completely lost his voice by the 3pm show. There was one more performance left, at 8pm, and the dire situation threw the company into a tizzy. Who could take on the role? They finally got Vince de Jesus, the show's composer/lyricist and musical director, to rush from his house and step into Ada's clogs. Mr. De Jesus was told around 6:30pm that he was the show's last hope. A complete pro, he gamely said yes, and was still memorizing his lines even as the house lights had dimmed--in fact, he dived into the script every time he had a moment offstage! The amazing thing was, he played the part near-flawlessly. A stammer here and there couldn't take away from his worldly-wise, sensitive portrayal of the character. And there was something magical about hearing him sing his own melodies. They came out with striking delicacy and fresh shadings, making the closing show quite a new experience. As I watched Mr. De Jesus rise to the challenge valiantly, supported by TP's by-now impressively cohesive actors' company, I thought he stood for all the theater performers and theater companies in this country who have had to struggle against mighty odds to perform their guts out for their art and their audiences' enjoyment. Grace under pressure is the hallmark of the Filipino artist, and Mr. De Jesus was a bright example that Sunday. Bravo!


joelmcvie said...

Shet, sayang! I'm curious to see how Vince attacked the role. Maybe TP can consider giving Tuxqs an alternate in their next run? :-)

Jheck David said...

Hello, Sir Gibbs!

I was there myself when we witessed Sir Vince's stage debut as Ada. It was truly a welcome change since that was the fourth time we saw the play. Kakapanibago but as what I told Sir Vince, kakaiba 'yung Ada niya.

Btw, joelmcvie, TP is working now for alternate actors in the 5th run. Stressful talaga for the leads 'yung play. It wouldn't be a surprise if Sir Vince pops out every now and then. Hehehe. However, what contributed to Tuxqs's loss of voice was his constant rehearsals with the new Dodong. First time daw nangyari talaga 'yun. With Eula, she almost lost her voice during the second run in Peta.

Senor Enrique said...

"San Miguel Corporation has quietly killed the San Miguel Philharmonic Orchestra and the San Miguel Master Chorale."


vincedejesus said...

Chenk yu. Chenk yu, Gibbs.

Ngarag was the word... but I had fun doing the role. Sana next time, magkaroon ako at least 3 hours na preparation. Har har har.

Jheck, Tuxqs lost his voice because of over-fatigue doing two shows a day, the sudden cold breeze blowing through Manila Bay and from eating 4 balls of cotton-candy every performance. (And probably old age na rin - waaah, papatayin ako rin tuxqs!)

He didnt lose his voice because of constant rehearsals with Janvier. Janvier only had two rehearsals with Tuxqs; the rest were either with the stage manager or with me.


Jheck David said...

Mamu Vince, conton candy lang 'yun? OMG! I had no idea. Breaking the magician's code ba ito? Hehehe.

vincedejesus said...


Memorizing the lines weren't as hard as swallowing the cotton-candy!


Rody said...

here's for something off the topic: gibbs, hoope you can include in your watch list-- limited run of PHILIPPINE BEDTIME STORIES. only two weekends in Manila.

we just finished the tokyo run and we're heading off to osaka tomorrow for the weekend run there before coming to manila for two weekends FEB 17 (7pm) and FEB 18 (3pm) at the Sinag Arts Studio in Mandaluyong. Then Feb 23 (8pm), FEB 24 (3pm and 8pm) FEB 25 (3pm) at the CCP Tanghalang Huseng Batute Studio Theater.

sorry for the plug. kasi wala yatang publicity diyan sa manila, e. filipino cast features: jojit lorenzo, marj lorico, angeli bayani, mailes kanapi, raye baquirin, and yours truly.

plays by Rene Villanueva (Walang Iwanan), Layeta Bucoy (Isang Libong Tula para sa dibdib ni Dulce), Vic Torres (Single Brown Female), two versions of Ang Unang Aswang, and Shungiku Uchida (Ligaya sa Isang Pinoy Bar)

Music for Unang Aswang version 2 is Vince de Jesus-- sino pa?

hope you can help spread the word around. thanks


gibbs cadiz said...

ey MCVIE, yan, vince himself says there'll be alternates for the makati run. am excited to see the new actors who'd be playing the characters, especially didi, which is a pivotal, pivotal role (as sidekicks always are). :) ricci chan, you coming back? :)

hi JHECK, good to know you were there during vince's performance.

hi VINCE, thanks for the clarification! i've heard you also did didi once at sinag arts studio, and it was hilarious daw. sample ulit! :)

hey RODY, thanks for the info. i've posted it on the front page so more people would see it. yep, am looking forward to watching the show. break a leg! and hello to jojit, angeli et al. :)

vincedejesus said...

Naku Gibbs... nakakapagod ang Didi role, parang di na kaya ng mga buto ko.

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