Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Anton Juan, on directing Rep's The Joy Luck Club

Anton Juan, internationally recognized for theater work that often challenges convention, directs Repertory Philippines’ “The Joy Luck Club,” which runs Feb.4-20, 2011 at Onstage Greenbelt 1, Makati City.

Juan was Director-General of Dulaang UP, University of the Philippines, where he has taught for 33 years. He is currently on leave from his post at University of Notre Dame du Lac, USA, where he is Senior Professor of Directing and Playwriting/Theatre as well as the Social Concerns Artistic Director of the university’s New Playwrights Workshop.

Juan had acted in “Mother Courage” and directed “Our Town” for Rep. He also directed Rep’s founder Zenaida “Bibot” Amador in the titular role of Shakespeare’s “King Lear” for his own theater company.

“This is a homecoming of sorts for Anton since he was part of Rep in its early days,” says Rep associate artistic director Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo. “He is multi-awarded and has worked with theater groups all over the world. He also has a doctorate in semiotics, the study of symbols and meanings, from the Kapodistrian and Panhellenic University of Athens. With his staging, he will be sure to give audiences new ways of looking at ‘The Joy Luck Club.’”

Juan says, “I am [staying] within the realm of the physicalized expression of essence. It is this way that I wish to articulate ‘Joy Luck Club.’ The four chairs around the mah-jong table are not chairs, they are the disembodied spaces of the stories that occupied them--of friends and their relationships and the characters that have crossed their lives in arranged or disarranged order. This triggers my breaking and re-arrangement of the lines and scenes into cubistic presences that flow into one another and merge poly-vocally.”

“I give homage to the remembrance of the simple pan de sal and the kape Bibot and I shared during rehearsals of Lear,” he adds. “As I direct in memory, I am doing what she would have wanted me to do now in Rep: share what I know and what I have learned.”

“The Joy Luck Club,” adapted by Susan Kim from the best-selling novel by Amy Tan, is about four Chinese immigrant women and their four American-born daughters. The mothers create a mahjong group called the Joy Luck Club, and audiences witness the stories of the club’s members.

“Funny, touching and heart-wrenching, the play showcases the rich complexity of love between mothers and daughters that transcends age and cultural gaps,” says Yulo.

The novel was also made into a movie directed by Wayne Wang and starring Ming Na Wen, the voice of Disney’s “Mulan.” Rep has staged Disney’s “Mulan Jr.” for its children’s theater series.

The powerhouse cast includes Rebecca Chuaunsu, Jay Glorioso, Frances Makil Ignacio and Pinky Marquez as the mothers; and Ana Abad Santos, Lily Chu, Jenny Jamora and Cris Villonco as the daughters.

Costume design is by Eric Pineda, set design by Ohm David and lighting design by John Ilao Batalla.

“The Joy Luck Club” runs Feb. 4-20, 2011 at Onstage Theater, 2nd floor, Greenbelt 1 Mall, Makati City. For ticket inquiries and other information, call Repertory Philippines 5716926 and 5714941 or email info@repertory-philippines.com. Tickets also available at Ticketworld at 8919999 or www.ticketworld.com.ph.

All Rep productions are available for showbuying and block ticket sales for individuals or organizations for earning extra income or raising funds. All productions are also available for sponsors who wish to reach Rep’s audiences.

Visit www.repertory.ph, subscribe to youtube.com/repertoryphils, add “Rep Phils” on Facebook.

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