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.