Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Elizabeth and Mary, Blanche and Stanley: Cue the fireworks

In photo are veteran actresses Ana Abad Santos and Shamaine Centenera-Buencamino reading excerpts (part of the final scene, the only moment their characters meet) from Schiller's Maria Stuart, a play about the epic rivalry between Elizabeth I and her cousin, Mary, Queen of Scots.

There was no formal announcement, but their appearance during the afternoon presscon for the launch of Dulaang UP's 34th season (see below) confirmed that the two actresses have signed up to do the drama that Patrick Healy, in the NYTimes, described as “one of the relatively rare plays that offer two equally powerhouse roles for actresses.”

Shamaine will play Elizabeth I to Ana's Mary in the play's English version; the Filipino translation (Maria Stuarda, by Allan Palileo) will have a student cast, with Tony Mabesa directing both.

Coincidentally, Mary Stuart is currently on revival at the Broadhurst Theater on Broadway, to much acclaim, especially for its Tony-nominated stars, English actresses Janet McTeer and Harriet Walter. They “embody what may be the most storied rivalry in English history with a transfixing willfulness and devious artistry... They are exceptionally well equipped not only to command an audience’s attention, but also to make the case that, historically, she who would be queen has always of necessity been a great actress,” said Ben Brantley in his review.

This isn't the only heavyweight role Ana is tackling. In fact, it's shaping up to be a big year for her. She did Candida in Rep's A Portrait of the Artist as Filipino, she'll do Mary Stuart in November-December this year, but before that, in October, she's also stepping in as Blanche DuBois in Tanghalang Pilipino's A Streetcar Named Desire.

Irma Adlawan, originally announced to play the iconic part, has backed out due to other commitments. For the English version of the Tennessee Williams classic, Ana has been cast, along with Jenny Jamora as Stella and Mario Magalona as Stanley Kowalski.

The Filipino version, titled Flores Para Los Muertos (based on the original translation by the late Orlando Nadres), will have--insert drumroll here--Eula Valdez as Blanche, Angel Aquino as Stella and Neil Ryan Sese as Stanley. Floy Quintos directs both versions.

Liesl Batucan, Paula to Irma and Ana's alternating Candida in Portrait, was a shoo-in for the part of Stella, but had to give up the role when she got accepted as a performer at the newly-opened Universal Studios in Singapore. There, as in Hong Kong Disneyland, she's joined by a number of other first-rate Filipino actors, singers and dancers staking out a viable performing life on foreign soil. The diaspora continues.

Another confirmed piece of casting: the fine, fine actor Teroy Guzman will headline Dulaang UP's Filipino production of Brecht's The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui in February 2010, to be helmed by Alexander Cortez. Floy Quintos will reportedly do the translation.

Your thoughts?


Anonymous said...

GIbbs, who translated Schiller's play into Filipino? For that matter, the plays of Williams and Brecht? The translators should get their credit, too, don't you think? As for the DUP season, it's an exciting one, but I wish there was at least one original play.


Anonymous said...


Dennis N. Marasigan said...

I had proposed Mary Stuart as part of the Tanghalang Pilipino 21st season, with Irma and Shamaine alternating in both parts of Mary and Elizabeth. :(

gibbs cadiz said...

RALPH, good point. thanks for the reminder. i'll fix the entry to include mention of the translators. as for an original play in the DUP season, maybe 'atang' is it for them this year. :)

DENNIS, now that would've been da bomb! too bad it didn't push through. :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks Gibbs, I hadn't read your previous blog about DUP's approach to their season so I was intrigued by the preponderance of German classics. Now it makes sense. And I see they're doing Atang, which is original, so that's something. But it's not enough. More original works please.

Dennis, Irma and Shamaine as competing queens would have been something to see.


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