Thursday, November 23, 2017

REP’s HAIR: A Grand Whip

Last November 17, 2017, Repertory Philippines (REP) held the opening show of Hair as the year-end grand musicale for its 50th anniversary season. Filling the pot with hippie culture and lots of love, this Broadway acclaimed hit will surely give a high to its audience.
Set in 60’s America, the musicale circles around the culture of a tribe that thrives on the idea of society that mainly believes principles of love, peace and freedom. Caught up in an era of cold war, human rights revolution and birth of nuclear age, a flourishing tribe wages its own war against the society’s norm and creating a harmonious world in the age of Aquarius. As Claude, starred by Markki Stroem, found his free-spirited rebirth on the tribe will find himself in a dilemma of whether living up to his tribe’s principle or giving up his anti-war beliefs to please his own parents by signing up for a draft in Vietnam War. Tribal-rock jams and psychedelic lights and moves will accompany Claude and the tribe in this journey inside the tribe and will capture the little hippie inside of you screaming.
With Hair’s classic music and songs by Galt McDermot, the ensemble gave a phenomenal opening performance with the play’s classic hit “Aquarius”. Bright and vibrant lights and retro-bohemian costumes rage with passionate movements of that of freedom and recklessness. Flowers are everywhere, as crowns and offerings as they circled their audience with hypnotic melodies and chants. The performance was overall light but full of colors and personality, but undeniably there is the lurking depth of the subconscious society’s struggles. And, finding yourself humming and unconsciously giving those slow headbangs now and then over “Let the Sunshine In” and “Good Morning Starshine” will not be avoided.
Based on the award-winning book by Gerone Ragni and James Rado and originally staged by Michael Butler, repertory give its local touch by staging it with completely local ensembles.  Frenzy hippies includes George Schulze as Berger and Caisa Borromeo as Sheila. The show will also feature guest singers Morisette Amon and Migs Ayesa and performances by thater veterans Shiela Valderrama-Martinez, Kim Molina, Ima Castro, Alys Serdenia, Abi Sulit and more.
Grab those flower crowns and get on the weaves and afro revolution. REP’s Hair runs from November 17 to December 17 at the Onstage Theater, Greenbelt , Makati City. 

Text and Photos by Ariane Dave Furnazo.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Rosal, Bueno emerged victorious in first ever Mr. and Ms. BPO.

The first batch of winners, Mister and Miss BPO 2017.
The crowd went all out to cheer for their bets to the first ever Mr and Ms BPO held at the SM Mall of Asia Arena Tuesday night, November 21, 2017. The first ever pageant was organized by Royal Chimes to give tribute to our new heroes of the generation, people who work for the BPO industry.20 males and 20 females battled it out until the very end. Part of the Top 10 for the males were Esthan Obusan, Rnel Noval, Magic Sa-Onoy, Ronnie Cadag, Daniel Sindo, Lee Bueno,AJ Simpas , Arnel Mangahas , Arthur Bilog and Iversen Vasquez.For the females, the top 10 were as follows: Jem Bohol, Andee Infante, Bianca Abejero, Airene Gogo, Janna Alcantara, Micca Rosal, Nykhi Arines, Jam dela Luna , Jaztine Balagtas and Winzel Magbuco.
They all paraded in their Folded Hung Street wear and after which was the Swimwear portion and the Evening Wear Category.From the top 10, the finalists were narrowed down to 5 (males) and 5(females) who underwent a rigorous Q and A portion made even more difficult as they had to explain BPO memes given to them for 45 seconds. After this round, the final 5 were narrowed down to three. The finalists for the male were Arthur Bilog, AJ Simpas and Lee Bueno.For the females, the top three were Micca Rosal, Khristine Corpuz and Nykhi Arines.

From that point on, they had a scenario Q and A portion from which the judges will base who to give the respective titles too. A set of special awards were also given: Best in Talent were: Victor Relosa (SITEL) and Jannica Maranan (VXI). Best in Folded and Hung Street wear were Brent Selma and Micca Rosal. Mr and Ms Things I like were Jonel Roncales and Janna Alcantara.
Your host, JM Rodriguez and Margo Midwinter
Micca Rosal bags the title as Ms BPO while Khristine Corpuz was adjudged 1st runner up and Nykhi Arines settled for the 2nd runner up position respectively. Crowds favorite Lee Bueno (Teletech) takes the Mr BPO title, Arthur Bilog settled for the 1st runner up and AJ Simpas as 2nd runner up respectively. JM Rodriquez and Margo Midwinter served as hosts for the pageant.

Text and Photos by Mark Anthony Cabrera.

Monday, November 20, 2017

A Filipino Retelling Of Edna Vida's, The Nutcracker

 
For their third production of its quintessential 48th season, Ballet Philippines, the first resident company of Cultural Center of the Philippines is presenting the classic and iconic Edna Vida's "The Nutcracker" Ballet Philippines presented this timeless splendor with many versions and this season production will be its tenth (1976, 1980, 1982, 1987, 1991,1997, 1998, 2003, 2009 and 2017) and it became a masterpiece tradition.

Vida's original choreographic version premiered in 1987 with Maria Veronica Fargas and Maria Leilani R. Da Silva as Clara, Lisa Macuja, Cecile Sicangco, Gina Katigbak, Melissa Cuachon and Ida Beltran as the Sugarplum Fairy and Nonoy Froilan, Conrad Dy-Liacco, Brando Miranda and Jun Mabaquio as the Nutcracker Prince.
Set in the Philippines during the Spanish colonial era in the 1920s, Ballet Philippines promised the retelling of Vida's holiday classic that, audience will experience and explore images of Noche Buena, dance with Rigodon de Honor, illuminate the bright lights of fireflies, see the beauty of bougainvilleas, and the symbolic toys and sweets of Christmas. To complement this full-length ballet in two-act, musical director Gerard Salonga conducts the 42-piece ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra, the music of legendary Russian composer Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky, known for Swan Lake (1876), Sleeping Beauty (1889) and The Nutcracker (1892).

Returning to Ballet Philippines as guest artist courtesy of Japan Foundation and Tan Yan Kee Foundation is Nobuo Fujino, former Senior Artist of Australian Ballet and Principal Dancer of Hongkong Ballet. He played the role of The Prince in Ballet Philippines production of The Sleeping Beauty in 2011. Alternating with Fujino as The Prince are Victor Maguad (Shoes++, Peter Pan, Giselle, Manhid, Opera and Swan Lake) and Lester Reguindin (Pusong Wagas, Illustrated Dialects and Swan Lake). 
Gawad Buhay Awardee for Outstanding Female Lead Performer in Dance Candice Adea, a resident guest artist of 48th season, returns as the Sugarplum Fairy who was featured in previous production such Don Quixote, The Sleeping Beauty, Peter Pan, Snow White, The Nutcracker and Coppelia. Alternating with Adea are NAMCYA Luva Adameit Awardee - Junior Ballet Category and winner of the first CCP Ballet Competition Denise Parungao (Giselle, Cinderella, Opera, The Firebird, Simoun and Swan Lake) and Jemima Reyes who essayed in Sleeping Beauty, Crisostomo Ibarra, Rama Hari, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Giselle, The Firebird and Swan Lake. 

For a complete Nutcracker experience, Ballet Philippines partnered with Chrysara, a creative manufacturing company who specializes in housewares, gifts and accessories, established by Ballet Philippines Founder and Artistic Director and National Artist for Dance Alice Reyes, to showcase Filipino talents, artisans and craftmanships.

The Nutcracker collectibles featuring characters like Clara, the Rat King, the Nutcracker Prince and the Sugarplum Fairy are exclusively available at Ballet Philippines. Chrysara's Nutcracker line are available online at, www.facebook.com/balletphilippines and at the CCP Main Theater Lobby from 1st to 10th of December 2017. Proceeds will go to the Noordin Jumalon Scholarship Fund, which aims to support the growth and development of aspiring and promising young students of Ballet Philippines.
For only 1,000, audience will get an Orchestra Center ticket for Matinee show and seat at "The Nutcracker Tea Party. " Meet and greet Clara, the Sugarplum Fairy and the Nutcracker Prince, decorate a pointe shoe and soothe Tea Leaves tea and other Bizu treats are also at stake. The party will only kick in on December 2, 3, 9 and 10, right after the matinee performance of The Nutcracker at the CCP Main Theater Mezzanine. Slots are limited.

The Nutcracker runs from December 1 to 10 at the CCP Main Theater. Call Ballet Philippines at (+632) 551-1003, CCP Box Office at (+632) 832-3704 or Ticketworld at (+632) 891-9999. Log on to: www.ticketworld.com.ph Connect and follow Ballet Philippines through Facebook: www.facebook.com/balletphilippines Twitter : @balletphilippines Instagram: @balletph

Text and Photos by Gilbert Kim Sancha. 

Saturday, November 18, 2017

A visit to Palawan’s War Museum.

Visiting Palawan, particularly the City of Puerto Princesa, is discovering its rich history from cradle of civilization up to what it is now, that made it the world’s best island in the world. The City itself houses three museum that can give you enough information about its ethnography up to its war success story.

The Palawan Special Battalion World War II Museum is a special one visit, if you’re looking for vast collections of Japanese-American war memorabilia, this museum give you glimpse of the past, how the City was destroyed and how many lives have gone by.

This war museum is not that hi-tech equip yet, mostly it gives photos of the past that hung in the wall, war ornamentals from bullets to guns, to flag, to guerilla costumes and some indigenous warfare is being showcase here. Obviously it’s more of collectors’ items in display by the owner, a descendant of Dr.Higinio Mendoza, the provincial hero who fought with Americans against Japanese invasion.

What strange here is the display of a red shoes, own by former first Lady Imelda Marcos that maybe could interest some visitors, but logically not related to the artifacts shown in theme of war. According to the curators, most of the items are not original remnants of war in Palawan, rather it is collected from different places in the world, and I salute that passion of collecting this valuable things.

But one thing I like in this Museum is they give space for unsung heroes of Palawan, the research and facts are true enough and need to be honored, actually out of three museum in the City, they are the only one who did this kind of thing.  

There are around three vehicles in display inside and outside the venue, two American military jeep and one vintage car and it’s all in good condition, again these vehicles are exceptional due to its role during the war period but not in Palawan soil.

There are four chamber room inside the museum, take note that it is not an air-condition place so better be ready in wiping your sweat. Opening chamber is a gallery of photos, of brave American soldiers of World War II assign in Palawan, their stories are all accounted in this area. Next one is the dedication place for the late Provincial hero while opposite is the Japanese chambers containing memorabilia of Japanese soldiers.

I must say the experience is a good one, you can finish the whole tour in 15minutes or less than since the place didn’t offer much like souvenirs or refreshment or coffees for instance, before when the airport was in the same area, people use to drop by before their flight or if their flight is delay.

Entrance fee to the museum is P50, they are open from 8am to 5 in the afternoon daily, you can contact them thru mobile number 0917-849-5343 (globe).  Address is at Rizal Avenue extension, Brgy. Bancao-Bancao, Puerto Princesa City. 

Friday, November 17, 2017

Collaboratory Live: Of Poems and Music

Spoken words have been a flourishing performing art in the Manila art scene for the recent years. Different groups and collectives were already established performing pieces that transforms poems into a moving art- both physically and emotionally. A spring of new collaboration that does not only features different spoken word artists but also features performances with budding musicians. Collaboratory.PH recently held their live performance entitled Collaboratory Live at Gift Avenue Café in Quezon City last November 11, 2017.
Filled with words and music, Collaboratory Live is a performance event conceived by Collaboratory.PH which features spoken word artist and musicians that are actively contribute to this art scene. The event also features an open mic for the audience who wants to share their poems, music and would like to have a piece of the stage for a night. Moreover, outstanding original work performances from the collaboration members were witnessed. Uniquely, Collaboratory Live introduced several performances that were done and featured collaborations with solo musicians hailed from different collectives and area. These poems and performances does not only tackle the usual themes such as unrequited love or pain of being broken-hearted, moreover, it opens and spread ideas of inclusive love, grief from a loss, respect on individuality and as far as love for freedom.
The successful event was well attended by enthusiast, several bloggers and supporters. Performances from the collaborator mainstays Maimai Cantillano, Jerome Cleofas, Mark Dimaisip, Sofia Dara Medina, Leandro Reyes, Ian Christopher Sudiacal Reinne Villasanta and collaboration with their guests Siege Brazil, Meivelyn Caliboso, Nuna M. Esguerra, Nelle Fernandez,Mark Ghosn and Keene JV Agaton Leonor were all applauded.  
A rerun of Collaboratory Live will be held this coming December 2, 2017 at Gift Avenue Café in Quezon City.

Text and Photos by Ariane Dave Farnazo.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

A Christmas Carol Returns With More Grit, Depth And Spirit

After its highly successful run and receiving rave reviews from last year, 9 Works Theatrical production of " A Christmas Carol " is returning at the Globe Iconic Bonifacio High Street Amphitheater at Bonifacio Global City, with new features and angles this December. There's no other triple threat musical worth fitting and worth celebrating this Yuletide season which Joe Caliro, Globe Live Executive Producer said, "It's the same musical, but with a different show”

Fresh from hit musical Newsies, Director Robbie Guevarra said, " The title is the same, the music, but with new direction, set, lighting and choreography."

With book by Tony Award nominee Mike Ockrent and with lyrics by Tony Award winner Lynn Ahrens, A Christmas Carol is based on Charles Dicken's novel originally published in 1843. It tells the story and journey of a wealthy old man, Ebenezer Scrooge whose life is full of bitterness and losses. Encountered and haunted by the ghosts of his past, present and future, Scrooge transformed into kindler and gentler man after he realized and uncovered the miracle within, the spirit of Christmas and the unconditional love of family and community.
The spirit of Christmas will surely soar and heighten with the music of the legendary and iconic American musical theater and film score composer and pianist of Beauty and the Beast, A Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Pocahontas, Enchanted and Tangled. Menken earned eight Academy Awards, seven Golden Globe Awards, eleven Grammy Awards, one Tony Award, one Drama Desk and two Outer Critics Awards for his works.

This restaging production will feature old and new thespians who will give meaningful and magical moment of the most celebrated and most anticipated time of the year in the Philippines as early as September. Reprising and returning as Ebenezer Scrooge is Miguel Faustmann making it his third production with 9 Works Theatrical. Past, present and future production of Repertory Philippines, Faustmann is a veteran and resident manager that never fails to impress. Aliw Award Best Actor winner, writer and blogger Franco Laurel as Ghost of Christmas Past is having a theater comeback after long hiatus. The role was originally offered to him last year but had to decline due to schedule conflict. This production mark as his first appearance onstage with his daughter Mariella who's also part of the cast.

A Gawad Buhay Awardee, theater veteran, seasoned performer and crowd favorite Noel Rayos joins the cast as the juggling Jacob Marley and Mr. Fezziwig. Nico Dans as Ghost of Christmas Present and Rissey Reyes as Ghost of Christmas Future. Introducing in this production are Jaime Yupangco and Elai Estrella as Tiny Tim. Jon Abella and Tricia Canilao as Mr. and Mrs. Cratchit, Dawn Eduave as Mrs. Fezziwig, Laurence Mossman as Young Ebenezer, Arman Ferrer as Fred, Mitzie Lao as Emily, Gian Gloria as Sally, Krystal Brimmer and Rayne Cortez as Grace Smythe, Tory Cortez as Jonathon, Omar Uddin and Diego Soler as Scrooge at 12, Simone Martinez and Cerise Ramirez as Fan, Joe Ng and Bourne Luna as Fred's son, Kyle Francisco as Martha Cratchit, MC dela Cruz as Mr. Smythe, JP Basco as Young Marley, Josh Ramirez as John William Scrooge, Kendrick Ibasco as Beadle, Vyen Villanueva as Mr. Hawkins, Jourdan Bartolome as Old Joe, Mariella Laurel as Scrooge's mother, Peachy Atilano-Guevarra as Mrs. Mops, Shalee Vicencio as Mrs. Hawkins and Joni Galeste.
Franco Laurel with Daugther Mariella, and the other Children cast.
A Christmal Carol, presented by Globe Live and 9 Works Theatrical with special arrangement from Music Theatre International (MTI), runs at the Globe Iconic Bonifacio High Street Amphitheater on December 7-9, 14-16, 21-22 and 26-27 at 8pm, December 10 and 17 (Sundays) and December 25 at 7pm.

Call Ticketworld at 891-9999 or log on to www.ticketworld.com.ph Official Hashtags: #GlobeLive9WTACC and #TheMiracleWithin Facebook: 9WorksTheatrical and GlobePH
Twitter and Instagram: @9WTonline and @enjoyGlobe YouTube: GlobePH. 

Text and Photos by Gilbert Kim Sancha. 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

An Evening Of Legend, Rhythm And Color, Prelude To The ASEAN Summit

Prelude to the 31st ASEAN Summit in which the Philippines takes the chairmanship for 2017, a gathering of best of ASEAN performances were showcased on November 4, 2017 at the CCP Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino entitled " Roots And Rhythms: The Best Of ASEAN Performing Arts. Chris B. Millado, CCP Vice President and Artistic Director and Jonathan Tan Ghee Tiong, ASEAN Head/Assistant Director for Culture and Information Division Sustainable Development Directorate of Socio-Cultural Community and Secretariat did the welcoming remarks. The show started with a cultural and oriental opening improvisation sounds and dances featuring artist delegates from the ASEAN Member States.

Act 1
Countries Brunei Darussalam (PG MD Fauzie Bin PG Zainal Abidin / Mohammad Norakmal Akmal Haji Metussin) did a threefold performance: " Raja Lalu, " a processional melody seen for royal coronation; " Kain Jong Sarat, " a fleshed solo dance and; a combination of music and dance for the audience to witness a contemporary jipin dance backed traditional instruments dombak, rebana and gambus dan biola. Kingdom Of Cambodia (Chan Bo Mon / Vanthy Khen) piece, titled " My Color " begun with a solo classical dance, followed by roneat ek, a bamboo boat-shaped xylophone combined with movement and xylophone music unfolded the true shades of both nature and human skin of the ASEAN region. The Republic Of Indonesia (Handoko Himawan / Misfa Andy Ashari) presented a dance number from the tales of Panji's cycle about a legendary prince but the night's performance focused and centered on Panji's adversary, Klono, king of the Bantarangin Kingdom.

The Lao People's Democratic Republic (Sinthavong Sengmounthong / Bouphakham Boutsa) performed a well-known folk tale from the humble Lao Hmong people who settled in Laos during the 18th century planting rice and corn. "Waiting For Love In The Cornfield" has a wistful music by Oudom Bouttavong complemented with fitting choreography by Khamphouang Inthavongsy. Malaysia (Muhammad Fairul Azreen Mohd Zahid / Mohd Sulhie Yusuf) highlighted the beauty of Malay drums and nature portrayed the natural elements of the peaceful life and the beauty of nature through music. The solo performance symbolized positivity of South East Asia combining Western and Malaysian contemporary elements. The modern and traditional multicultural richness and diversity of Indians, Chinese and Malay final combined performance was indeed a brilliant and unique collaboration.
Act 2
Countries The Republic Of The Union Of Myanmar ( Myo Min Aung / Naing Lin) came with a dazzling three act performance beginning with " Myth Of The Forest, " a xylophone composition with melodies, rhythms and modulations inspired by deep forest beauty and mythical creatures. " Sylvan Journey " about a lone male dancer casted in a princely role brought the audience forest heartland and faraway kingdom. They ended with " Dway Mal Naw, " tells a story of lovers left with raging storm, filled with worries, heartbreak and longing with an enchanting music and dance.

The Republic Of Singapore (Sai Akileshwar V M / Ming Zhi Lim) performance were inspired by folklore " Zhi Nu, The Weaving Lady." The combined effort of Mridangam player and contemporary dancer exposed the idea of interweaving used to express the pain of separation, time, memories and reality. The Kingdom Of Thailand (Anucha Sumaman / Chaiyapruk Sitti) undoubtedly and expectedly presented a golden and glittering performance with a solo performance featured native Taphon and Khaek barrel drums. One of my favorites of the night, highlighted the unique sound beats and resonated in Thai classical instruments told in both contemporary tunes and traditional harmony.

The Socialist Republic Of Vietnam (Nguyen Ngoc Tram / Tu Thi Thanh Thuy) earned my fascination and admiration for the three act dance about legend, rhythm and color. First, two female dancers gracefully wielding hand drums. Second, the legend of Nguu Lang and Chuc Nu, the maiden and cowherd. The magical moment onstage ended with a folk dance dubbed as "Rice Love" that celebrated tilling the earth, planting and harvesting. And the dance spoiled both male and female farmhands when they glanced, flirted and took home either a wife or a husband. The Republic Of The Philippines (Diana Alferez, Alexander Dagalea, Mary Katherine Trangco, UP Dance Company, UP Padayon Rondalla and UP Tugma) did a komedya excerpt of the well-known legend of maidens "Putri-Anak".

Save the best for last indeed. I haven't heard this piece until they performed that night. Sad that I missed the original full-length version when it was staged years back. The more than 2 hour show in two acts ended with an ensemble performance of all artist delegates from the ASEAN member states.

Text and Photos by Gilbert Kim Sancha.