Friday, April 04, 2008

First-quarter theater citations by Amadis Ma. Guerrero

Veteran arts and culture writer Amadis Ma. Guerrero's first-quarter “report card” for 2008 came out last Monday in the Inquirer, and it has good words to say about certain theater productions. God bless Amadis, who's been doing this quarterly round-up for some years now, covering both theater and the classical performing arts.

“I'm not a critic, I tend to like everything,” he once told me.

No apologies needed, Amadis. (Tried calling him “Sir,” but even there he swatted me down.) May you continue your full embrace of our theater, and be less modest of your valuable judgments. Thanks for keeping at it all these years.

Rep's Tuesdays with Morrie
“As an elderly professor dying of a degenerative disease in Mitch Albon’s celebrated Tuesdays with Morrie (Repertory Philippines, directed by Baby Barredo, OnStage, Greenbelt I), actor José Mari Avellana was magnificent. And the only other character in the play, Bart Guingona, served as his perfect foil.

“After a gripping, innovative Hamlet (directed by Anna Bitong), Tuesdays with Morrie may well be the most significant play in a provocative 2008 Rep season.”

Tanghalang Pilipino's Kudeta!
“There are obvious parallels to the contemporary Philippine situation in Mustapha Matura’s Kudeta! (The Coup, Tanghalang Pilipino, directed by Floy Quintos), a lighthearted look at the power struggle that ensues following a coup d’ etat in a Carribean country.

“The ensemble, led by Mario O’Hara as the deposed President, sustained a high level of energy (and shouting).

“Hunky actors Bong Cabrera and Chromewell Cosio had breakout roles, along with an attention-calling stage presence.”

PETA's Skin-Deep
“Composer-playwright Vincent A. de Jesus’ Skin-Deep (Phillipine Educational Theater Association, directed by Nor Domingo) started as a wacky comedy with clever lines, and then segued into improbable melodrama as the characters (all noted singing actors), following aesthetic surgery, confronted their inner selves.

“Gail Guanlao-Billones, as Amor de Sangre, enjoyed great rapport with the audience with her sense of timing, comic flair, and fractured accent.”

Tanghalang Pilipino's EJ
“Tanghalang Pilipino’s rock musical EJ (by Ed Maranan, with music by The Dawn and direction by Chris Millado) was a rambunctious, imaginative and moving tribute to martyred heroes Evelio Javier, the charismatic governor of Antique, and Edgar Jopson, the moderate student activist-turned-revolutionary.

“Garnering the most applause, deservedly, was 17-year-old Nar Cabico, essaying a multiplicity of roles in his toughest assignment yet for TP.

“To those who lived through those years, the play was very affecting. Fr. Edgar Alan Pacete, a friend of Evelio who was with him when he was gunned down on Feb. 11, 1986, wept during the performance. At the end, the video cited other Ateneo de Manila martyrs, including the poet Emmanuel Lacaba...”

Hooray for the cited productions and performers!


Anonymous said...

hmmmm... orosman at zafira is conspicuously absent...

gibbs cadiz said...

i'm guessing he wasn't able to watch it, ANONYMOUS. he doesn't get to watch all the shows there are. a bit of difficulty moving around. let's give him that. :)

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