With a script edited by National Artist for Theater Daisy Hontiveros-Avellana, original musical scoring by her son, Lamberto Avellana, Jr., and to be directed by her other son, award-winning actor/director Jose Mari Avellana, Portrait of The Artist As Filipino will open on January 16 and will run until February 8, 2009, at Onstage Greenbelt 1, Makati City.
As Rep's earlier call for auditions explained, Portrait “is set in Intramuros right before the war and focuses on family conflicts in which old cultural values are pitted against modern values when two unmarried sisters, Candida and Paula, refuse all temptation to sell their father’s last masterpiece which he has painted for them.”
Irma Adlawan as Candida (alternating with Ana Bitong) and Liesl Batucan as Paula, with Jose Mari Avellana directing the Nick Joaquin play
The cast has been announced, viz:
Candida: Irma Adlawan alternating with Ana Abad Santos Bitong
Paula: Liesl Batucan
Bitoy: Joel Trinidad
Tony Javier: Randy Villarama
Manolo: Jeremy Domingo
Pepang: Jay Glorioso
Don Perico: Dido de la Paz
Don Aristeo: Chinggoy Alonso
Dona Irene: Lorna Lopez
Don Miguel: Oliver Usison
Don Pepe: Celso Ylagan
Don Alvaro: Don Alvaro
Cop 1: Jejie Esguerra
Cop 2: Dingdong Rosales
Franco Laurel was slated to do Tony Javier, but had to back out due to schedule problems.
Irma Adlawan and Liesl Batucan, who played First Wife and Third Wife, respectively, in Tanghalang Pilipino's production of The Golden Child earlier this year, are reunited in Portrait, this time as the iconic sisters Candida and Paula. This marks the first time Irma will perform Candida in a full-length production; she had done the part, but very briefly opposite Olga Natividad as Paula, in the video tribute prepared by the Cultural Center of the Philippines for National Artist for Theater Daisy Hontiveros-Avellana, who originated the part of Candida. (Dolly Benavides was the first Paula, later on replaced by Naty Crame-Rogers.)
In a Tanghalang Pilipino production of Portrait in the mid-'90s, Celeste Legaspi and Noemi Manikan-Gomez played the two sisters, with Irma understudying the role of Paula. She was able to perform the role one evening when Noemi couldn't make it.
Daisy Hontiveros-Avellana (seated) as Candida and Naty Crame-Rogers as Paula in the film version of Nick Joaquin's “Portrait of the Artist as Filipino,” directed by Lamberto Avellana
Just to be clear, since there are equally popular versions of the play in Filipino--this production is in the original English, but a streamlined version used by Daisy and her husband, the late National Artist for Theater and Film Lamberto Avellana, in their pioneering stage and film productions of the material.
There are two existing Filipino translations: a full-length one by Bienvenido Lumbera, which became the basis for both TP's productions and the late Rolando Tinio's musical Larawan. A shorter piece that came out earlier (in 1969), by Krip Yuson and Franklin Osorio, was mounted by PETA under Cecile Guidote-Alvarez, and later on by UP Repertory.
According to former TP artistic director Dennis Marasigan, “TP originally staged the Lumbera translation in the late '80s. After the mid-'90s production that starred Celeste Legaspi and Noemi Manikan-Gomez, TP mounted the play again in both English and Filipino in the year 2000 or 2001. Aside from the UP Rep production in 1982, Dulaang UP also staged it in two languages in the '90s. Naty Crame-Rogers has staged it for her Philippine Drama Company several times and brought it to the US with the UST graduate school theater group. The Ma-Yi Theater Company has also done a production in New York.”
Directors who have staged Portrait include Lino Brocka (1979), Behn Cervantes (1982), Nonon Padilla (1989), Rolando Tinio (1998) and Anton Juan (1993 and 2002).
The latter's 2002 staging was a “male” version of Portrait--the two spinster sisters now transformed into old bachelors. This production, staged at the CCP, had Behn Cervantes as Candido, Anton Juan himself as Paulo, Floy Quintos as Bitoy and Raymond Bagatsing and Marco Sison alternating as Tony Javier.
PLUS: Video clips of Larawan, The Musical, starring Celeste Legaspi and Rachel Alejandro, here, courtesy of producer Girlie Rodis.
[Photo 1: Lorna Lopez]