Fabregas’s Direction: Equally Engaging and Moving as the Movie Version
Red Turnip Theater’s season opener is a play by David Lindsay-Abaire with Filipino film actress Agot Isidro as one of the lead characters—Becca , who had difficulty coping with the loss of her four-year-old son Danny.
Along with Isidro is Michael Williams as Howie, Becca’s husband. They’re joined by equally talented cast members—Shiela Francisco as Nat, Becca’s mom; Che Ramos-Cosio as Izzy, Becca’s sister; and Ross Pesigan as Jason.
The play opened on August 1 at White Space on Don Chino Roces Avenue extension, Makati City.
An Ideal Play for Topper.
Since Topper Fabregas professed that he loves stories about families as well as the ‘unconditional love’ a parent can give to his child and so on—is just an ideal project for him to work on as his first-time to direct in the theater company he is part of the founding members.
It is such a refreshing sight to see onstage a work directed by a young and equally talented artist like Fabregas. Every scene reflects his ‘crazy’ side especially when each of the character attacks their respective scenes.
He was able to paint scenes that provide the audience with roller-coaster of emotions especially the characters have to deal with grief. He succeeded in allowing the audience takes a peek of the conversations about pain and even forced laughter just to hide their real emotions.
I’ve seen the 2010 American drama film starring Nicole Kidman, Aaron Eckhart, and Dianne Wiest, which was directed by John Cameron Mitchell, but Fabregas stage direction is as equally as engaging and as moving as the movie version.
Superb Ensemble Acting.
For Fabregas’s first venture in directing, it is such an ease to witness a work onstage as he made five equally fine performers showcase what they got for the audience’s to feast on.
Isidro, the local Julia Roberts-look-alike as Becca may be a great TV and film actress and even if it’s unfair to compare her performance to Kidman’s; she did her role justice in most parts; however, she had to work more on her voice to be audible enough and put more ‘intensity’ on her acting. Despite her seven-year hiatus in the theater scene, she still proved that her talents hasn’t waned and still left such passion for her craft and her version of Becca, though a bit weak from the rest of the performers—still she ‘sensitively’ portrayed a hurt Becca with her own brand of persuasive acting.
Williams, on the other hand did a great interpretation of Howie. His may be different from Eckhart’s but he still can’t be set aside since he stood out when he broke down upon realizing that the video of his dead son was accidentally deleted by Becca.
Francisco, Cosio, as well as Pesigan contributed to making the play engaging, too. Each of their ‘moments’ were outstanding as none of them were left behind. But, Pesigan as the teenage driver of the car that hit Becca’s son, Danny—did a fine appearance in this play. His telling about how he felt guilty was convincing enough to make not just Becca even the audience (including me) to feel and not blame him for the accident.
The efforts of the four characters in helping Becca move on also showed their ‘vulnerable’ sides. Each of them shined without pulling down each other or stealing each other’s thunder.
Having these five actors in one play is also getting such superb ensemble acting. Those who haven’t seen the play should catch their remaining shows this month till the 31st.
Different and Intimate Setup.
Since it’s intended to be an intimate theater, the sets that were conceptualized, developed, and mounted by Faust Peneyra will remind the audience of what it is to live in a house full of tension and no amount of great furniture and fixtures that could hide the emotions of the people that inhabit the wrecked home of the Corbetts. Bravo to Denis Lagdameo as well.
Despite the homey feel of the set, there were moments that sort of provide difficulty for the audience to be distant since the voices of the actors in conversations—are sometimes drowned and could barely be heard. I can understand that there are times that lines need to be spoken in a low tone, but still it was quite a struggle when one is seated quite afar from the stage. Perhaps the production has to do something about the microphones or the acoustics of the venue. Maybe, set the seats closer to the stage?
‘Rabbit Hole’ is a heartwarming struggle of a couple—Becca and Howie; as they deal with the loss of their only son and the feeling of hurts were awaken when they learned about Becca’s younger sister’s pregnancy. It is brilliantly written by a Pulitzer-Prize winning playwright, screenwriter, lyricist and librettist Lindsay-Abaire. His attempt to explore the many ways of dealing such pain of losing a loved one is one moving and relatable piece.
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