Tuesday, February 19, 2013


Article from http://teatroleecundangan.blogspot.com
Original Article can be found HERE

You know what I really, really appreciate when Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA) adapts  a work - whether it be opera (TOSCA), a historical novel (NOLI AT FILI), a person's biography (BATANG RIZAL), children's play (LOLA BASYANG) - is that they know where to draw the line between respecting the original material and then in a very out-of-box way, make the material there own.  Such was the case with  “D WONDER TWINS OF BOAC.”
I'm not privy when it comes to the bard's comedies especially with TWELFTH NIGHT since I'm not a huge fan of Shakespeare's comedies especially this being part of his "Joyous comedies" (AS YOU LIKE IT, and MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING). Except for A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM, MERCHANT OF VENICE, I'm more into the bard's 7 Great tragedies.

But with Maribel Legarda's seamless and well executed directorial vision, and Rody Vera's creative and loyal free adaptation of Shakespeare's work, I was able to be drawn back to the script (with a cover that has Helena Bonham-Carter as Olivia on it) which I unceremoniously stashed away and read it for the first time.

Needless to say that's how good the play was and by providing good observations for the production, artistic and acting elements of this play, I guess it shows how I highly admire Ms. Maribel Legarda's tight, well implemented, effective and brilliant retelling of the story on stage.
The first time I heard the title, I didn't have any inkling that it was based on William Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night or What You Will". Sabi ko sa sarili ko na ano ba ito Superfriends? (I told myself, what's this super friends).

The title was catchy but then again it's sounded funny, catchy, familiar but a bit...well and baduy :PBut when I read the accompanying press release regarding it, I found it very interesting.

The title itself is interesting especially if you connect it with the actual story.

It's ironically very Filipino which makes relatable to the audience more.  Come on, let's admit it, most of us has this "jologs" side of ourselves. Every Filipinos, does and I really mean it in a good way. Huwag ng pa-social dyan.

The title makes it very Filipino despite using a quasi-English Title because the "D" for the word "the" is of the text language and is also very jejemon which is also an anachronism to modern times. It is also very Filipino because it reflects how we are very creative in using pop culture names and terms and make it our own in different aspects of our daily life whether it be in business, entertainment etc.

Arriving a few minutes before the show (due to some unforeseen circumstances) at the PHINMA Theatre was a blessing in disguise - of course only for this particular play (I don't advice you to become late at all as it would be extremely better to arrive early so that you would have the best seat in the house and be more relaxed  when watching a play).

But this moment was an exception to the rule, it was really good that I get to sit at the balcony of PETA for a change. When I watched a play I usually sit  at the first floor but I guess having a seat looking at the play below was a huge advantage especially with the set design of Lex Marcos.

Brilliant, literally the audience is treated to an in the round stage (when you say in the round, the irony is that most stages are square and the reason it's called "in the round" it's because the audience are surrounding the stage literally, as oppose to a proscenium stage where the audience is watching face-to-face with the actors performing. A good example of this is a boxing/wrestling ring - these sports are in a way modern theatrical activities as they are reminiscent of the gladiatorial fights in Ancient Rome).

Anyway, back to the set, the top part of the set has this black (or gray tiles) that is in sync with the 60's theme of the play. What is more interesting is that the set is not simply round but is actually a film reel. So by that alone, the set was attuned literally to the director's vision/concept. The set was already a start of an entertaining play even before it started. Much more appreciated is that there were smaller reels of the stage to provide more leeway for performances.

The costumes by John Abul and Lights design by Jon jon Villareal was just perfect for the era. Most notable of Abul's costumes and Villareal's lights design are the ones for Doña Olivia's character. It further emphasized the melodramatic nature of the character and elicited more comic reliefs for her and was a huge help especially when she was introduced to Viola/Cesar.
photo courtesy of PETA website
During the Elizabethan stage (RE: Shakespeare in Love - The Rose Theatre) the stage is a Thrust Stage or a 3/4 Stage, but then again Thrust, Proscenium, Parallel otherwise is not important - you can have anytype of stage, it's the staging of the play is what I want to emphasize that is very Shakespeare in nature.

During the plays of Shakespeare's time, there are minimal props and in this play it is the same. That's what I love about this production, they understood that a real Shakespeare's play or adaptation has multiple settings and it would be a challenge on how to present that without being boring.

I appreciate that even when the lights were off and the property people had to bring in set props there was movement and dialogue. It provided an illusion that people were really in a movie production and ws just transferring stuff from one place to another. That was very smart of director Maribel Legarda making the transition itself, literally part of the scene.

Another thing, I appreciate in the play is that Legarda utilized harnesses and battens (the rods where the lights are often placed) to lower some set props like the chandelier, Olivia's bed, into place without ruining any theatre moment.

About the story it was a good move by highly respected writer Rody de Vera to be faithful to the story but also amply placing additional and important scenes like the prologue part of the play that gives us a backstory of the twins. This was a great contribution to the story as the original Twelfth Night had we already have Orsino in the first scene, instead of the twins. Vera allowed a more chronological affect for the audiences to understand the play.

The Music of Jeff Hernandez and Carlon Matobato's choreography was psychedelically, strategically and perfectly placed in respective scenes. It help to nostalgically place the audience in the era. It further moved the scene and I was really entertained in all the songs and the way it was executed in the play as they were often hilarious and provided an additional comic strain to an already funny script.

What I didn't appreciate about the the play is how it was divided. Act I was long and entertaining na it actually, to my opinion, could do without the intermission because the laughter, the attention of the audience was still there.

What I also didn't appreciate were the small screens hanging above the stage. Even if I could see it from where I am or where I sat, I hardly notice its change of clips. In directing class, we've been taught that whatever you place on stage there is a reason why one places it there. That was clear, there was indeed a reason however why put something that would hardly merit attention to itself. I personally don't know if that could've been better if there was huge screen like in the movie houses instead of those small television sets hovering on stage.
photo courtesy of PETA website
Personally I still think Gwyneth Paltrow didn't deserve her Oscar Award despite having those multiple roles in "Shakepeare in Love" (I still believe Cate Blanchett did a more award winning performance as Queen Elizabeth I).  But in the case of   “D WONDER TWINS OF BOAC”, it's different with Cris Villonco's,  who played the cute and adorable as the feisty probinsyana Viola and the  handsome Cesar. 

Far from her classic or classy ingenue roles, she was able to portray a character na makamasa.  Her accent was very crude something you don't usually expect from someone with her breeding. She gave credible performances both as Viola and Cesar and I personally appreciate that departure. Because she loves her craft, she have cross over to many theatrical groups and continually prove her mettle. It is very refreshing to see a show where Villonco can exhibit her acting chops in a different light.

Notable performances include Lex Marcos (Doc Orsino) who despite his white hair and notorious character you would still love him, and will make your knees tremble ala Viola I guess just to be near him (actually that's why it's a bit sad they sort of change the ending ang ganda kasi nung chemistry, it really provided so much kilig factor). Chrome Cosio's Bastian was also well established it's just that I hope, and this is where I wish playwright Rody Vera didn't follow Shakespeare, he would've been a whole lot better if he had more stage exposure. Basically, it's not his fault but of course his acting is sayang. Just hope he had equal or a little more opportunity to show his acting abilities because Cosio is definitely talented.

Gie Onida (Toma), Lao Rodriguez (Malvolio),Eric dela Cruz (Rudy Castelvi), Roi Calilong (Valentino) played their characters just right and where really funny, with flawless comic timing and they're being comedic is not forced.

But the real scene stealers were Riki Benedicto (Antonio), Divine Aucina (Juvy) and Kiki Baento (Maria/Nanay/Matandang Babae). This is where you can say that "there's really no such thing as small roles" short and secondary their roles were but it made a huge an impact to the audience. Among the lead stars I love Ms. Shamaine Buencamino "over-acting diva-ish, prima donna" Olivia and Philip Lazaro's very smart quips added so much flavor to the comic part of the play. Reminded me very much of Vice-Ganda but still Lazaro has his own version that's classy with a tinge of seriousness especially in the last scene.

I'm sure by now, you've read how much the plot is a visual allegory of the waning quality of filmdom then and now. I love Sampaguita and LVN pictures in fact I used to watch them in Channel 9 and find most plots of modern movies, even at that young age, a rehash of those classic black and white films. New movies has their acting and treatment less bodabil-ish/Vaudeville-ish compared to those early movies, but still I like the way they were filmed which is kindda innocent and pure.

That's actually why I felt nostalgic about this play. It reminded me of those golden years and the downward spiral to the bomba films of the next era was disturbing and sad as people where commercially exploited and lives were destroyed.

Another glaring issue I see in Boac is the gender issue that still exists today. I feel Viola's character that we are still living in a very patriarchal society that women are still to some extent treated as second class citizens, weak, and second fiddle to men. Viola had to be a man to enter showbiz because men usually dominate the silver screen or different media.

Catch it on its closing weekend run
MARCH 2, 2013 / SAT / 8PM / PETA
Ticket Prices: 1000, 800 and 600
Contact Us:
Robert Ceazar Marzan  (0922.888.5348)
Jayme del Rosario (0927.202.2017)
  Onay Sales (0917.908.0565)


No comments:

Post a Comment