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Ting reunites with Bucoy in ‘Coro de los Diablos’


After their successful collaboration in a 2014 stage production–‘Bonifacio and The Freakshow’ which utilized rap in dialogues and pop culture songs as musical numbers rendered through a live 60+ piece string ensemble of University of the Philippines-Los Baños (UPLB) Harmonya, held at the Dioscorro Umali Hall—Joey Ting and Layeta Bucoy is reunited in a play titled ‘Coro de los Diablos’, adapted from English novelist William Golding’s ‘The Lord of the Flies’, set on September 25 (Friday), 7pm; September 26 (Saturday) and 27 (Sunday), 3pm and 7pm, respectively at Tanghalang Hermogenes Ylagan of the College of Arts and Letters building, UP Diliman.

Vincent Pajara as Migs and Gabo Tolentino as Sam, together with acting recital projects of Mark Mirando as Jules, Charm Aranton as Pat, Lei Ann Quinquileria as Donna and Kyrstynne Vargas as Girlie.

Vincent Pajara as Migs and Gabo Tolentino as Sam, together with acting recital projects of Mark Mirando as Jules, Charm Aranton as Pat, Lei Ann Quinquileria as Donna and Kyrstynne Vargas as Girlie.

The play will be mounted by Dulaang Laboratoryo in Diliman.

Director Joey and playwright Layeta are both UPLB faculty members under the Department of Humanities. Ting teaches speech communication and theatre classes while playwright Bucoy handles Filipino and creative writing classes.

Golding’s novel was adapted into a film shot on location at Lipanta, Padre Burgos, in Quezon Province back in 1975. The ace comedian Roderick Paulate and Eddie Villamayor, both were young during those times were the stars of the said screen production that was produced by the one and only Superstar—Nora Aunor and was written by Nicanor Cleto Jr. and directed by Lupita A. Concio.

However from a very serious tone of drama, the Layeta Bucoy-version of ‘Coro de los Diablos’ has turned into a dark humour instead. It explores young male and female students that could have attended the World Youth Convention, but their plane crashed along with the other attendees on a mysterious island, unidentified, uninhabited and seemingly possessed. For days, survivors have volunteered to initially cooperate but as the action thickens, leadership has put to question with malice. Apart from the tone, the play is set to World War III that developed psychological imbalances on the students due to chemical substances that may have affected the minds of the young survivors since air-borne diseases are generally hazardous.

The approach of the play is different as Ting provides and prepares the actors their physical, emotional, psychological attributes, which is a challenging task to the ensemble. This is likely to appeal to young audiences since it is compared to the best-selling novel by American author Suzanne Collins of ‘The Hunger Games’, but Golding’s ‘The Lord of the Flies’ came first, but this time presents the atrocities of war with discourses on science-fiction and futuristic mood. Its set, costumes, its music and its sound, visuals and acting—have been unified to clearly state the current conditions of the Philippines and the whole world.

The production boasts of competent and hardworking cast members that feature Vincent Pajara as Migs and Gabo Tolentino as Sam, together with acting recital projects of Mark Mirando as Jules, Charm Aranton as Pat, Lei Ann Quinquileria as Donna and Kyrstynne Vargas as Girlie.

Artistic team members are – Io Balanon for set and props design, Mark Mirando for costume and styling, Arvy Dimaculangan for music and sound, Pamela Paige for lighting, Joyce Garcia for video, Carlo Aranton for poster design and Prof. Vladimeir Gonzales for photography. Also included in the students’ recital are Kyrstynne Vargas (production management), Ryan Nuňez (technical direction) with the help of their fellow majors namely Nica Marcelo (stage management), Mandrake (stage hands), Mara Agleham (sounds apprentice) and Chibi Manalo (sounds boardman).

UP Department of Speech Communication and Theater Arts faculty advisers are Prof. Banaue Miclat-Janssen and Dr. Alexander Cortez.

Free admission to all shows and for ticket reservations and inquiries, please contact +639151286401. On updates about the show, check its facebook page.

DUP’s ‘#R</3J’ is Resplendently Unique in Many Ways


(A Review)

Numerous attempts have been adapted to stage William Shakespeare’s 1597 classic play—‘Romeo and Juliet’ and through Dulaang UP’s 40th Theater Season, an original play that is adapted by Guelan Varela-Luarca and gave it a more relevant take, which includes its title—‘#R</3J’ with two of the premiere university-based theater company’s up-and-coming stars—Roco Sanchez and Francesca Go as R Montes and J Capule (the localized version of Romeo and Juliet), respectively.

In this scene, is where R and J met and copulate. R is Roco Sanchez  and J is Francesca Go. Photograph courtesy of Eduard John Pulido.

In this scene, is where R and J met and copulate. R is Roco Sanchez and J is Francesca Go. Photograph courtesy of Eduard John Pulido.

Frankly, the said production need not worry of its response because it already has a cult following on Shakespeare alone and everyone would just simply go and check on what this first directorial stint of the newest artistic director of DUP—Dexter M. Santos has envisioned on this popular literary piece. Anyone who hasn’t seen Santos’s works may find this stage presentation either amusing or confusing, but personally—I love the choreography in this adaptation especially of course the love scene between R and J.

Even if the choreography was a collaboration of sorts by Santos along with Japhet Mari Cabling, Al Bernard Garcia, Jeff Rm Garcia, Isagani Tayag and Stephen Viñas; the entire run of the play, those who are familiar with Santos’s works—would really say that his imprints are all over it. But this time, more tamed, and more endearing. The ensemble succeeded in providing certain episodes or emotions and all that will help set the mood of a particular scene in dance and creative movements.

Three veteran stage actors Leo Rialp as Shakespeare, Ricky Ibe as Congressman Montes, and Mitoy Sta. Ana as Mayor Capule were all brilliant in their respective characters. Ibe who may have tried channeling the looks of Toby Tiangco or Miro Quimbo in his mind, but none of them is an orator; still he managed to be great in his acting. He was a bit distracted in the scene (briefly) where he and Sta. Ana had to deliver a speech simultaneously with different texts. However, his interpretations of the interviewer were more appealing since any member from the audience could insinuate that he’s mimicking Boy Abunda. His Boy Abunda interpretation was truthful, and didn’t impress me as mere or cheap impersonation at all; it has a slight distinction. Nothing to worry that he would suffer in comparison to Jason Gainza’s interpretation of the King of Talk. Mitoy on the other hand, as Mayor Capule also did great as he tried to amalgamate all those matinee idols-turned-politicians like Senator Bong Revilla, Isko Moreno, Jinggoy Estrada and more. He was such a riot, too.

Among the ensemble, it was Stephen Viñas who stood out since he effectively breathed into the role of Tybaldo or Tybalt Capule Jr. with his swagger moves. While Jon Abella as Markky fell short as the buddy-secret gay lover of R; he lacked the needed emotions of being an ignored friend after he expressed his feelings toward his friend (at least during his own moments), but I know the actor has more chances of redeeming himself in the next runs of the show; he’s a brilliant and a promising talent still.

Two of the scenes that I somehow violently reacted was when the psychiatrist was pseudo-lecturing about the three stages of love, which I find it a bit unnecessary. Yes, the movements were beautifully executed by the ensemble where they shifted from one emotion to the other just to paint a certain scenario where J could have gotten through in the process. Then the video scene of R’s suicide was totally different from what was acted on stage. Was that intended to be stylized? If so, I still think it was inconsistent as a piece of evidence to the character’s death.

But, two of the most moving and probably quotable quotes in the play are the lines that R uttered: “We were impossible but we made it happened” and “Love is a Drug, but never say NO to it.”

Moving and quiet, but surely was a great statement that 'Love Wins' amid any chaotic world. Photograph by Eduard John Pulido.

Moving and quiet, but surely was a great statement that ‘Love Wins’ amid any chaotic world. Photograph by Eduard John Pulido.

As a whole, this adaptation is resplendently unique in many ways, the Varela-Luarca adaptation has that ‘charm’ to attract viewers and theater lovers to flock to Wilfrido Ma. Guerrero Theater and witness this spectacular stage performance that will run till September 13. It is one piece that is a not-to-be-missed since it retold the story of the star-crossed lovers and transformed the setting of Verona into a concrete jungle at the heart of Metro Manila set in 2015, which is teeming with corruption, revolt, advertisements, sex, social media, and condominium units. It truly captured the essence of the most enduring tragedy juxtaposing the young lovers’ romance with the present society’s many forms of ‘commodified’ and ‘convoluted’ kind of love.

Dulaang UP’s 40th Season opens with ‘#R</3J’


QUEZON CITY, Philippines—A multimedial hallucination take on the tragic love story of William Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’ will be the basis for Dulaang UP’s Ruby anniversary and 40th theater season opener titled ‘#R</3J’ (hashtag R broken-heart J), which opened on Wednesday, August 26 till Sunday, September 13 at Wilfrido Ma. Guerrero Theater, Palma Hall, UP-Diliman.

Official Poster of ‘#R</3J’.

The said presentation marks Dexter M. Santos’s first play as DUP’s newest artistic director. It is a collaboration of professionals and up-and-coming artists. Santos heads the artistic team as the show’s director along with Guelan Varela-Luarca as the playwright who adapted the piece on two young star-crossed lovers whose deaths ultimately reconcile their feuding families. Krina Cayabyab (music composition and design), John Batalla (lights design), Ohm David (set design), Winter David, (video design), and Darwin Desoacido (costume design) are also part of the team in making sure to providing the audience with an exceptional play that the university-based theater has been doing since then. This project features the Dulaang UP Ensemble and the works of young choreographers, video designers, installation artists, and dramatists with theater veterans like Ricky Ibe, Mitoy Sta. Ana, and Leo Rialp.

Dexter shares his thoughts about the production, “I have always wanted to do Romeo and Juliet. The idea of staging it for this season started last year as we closed ‘Ang Huling Lagda ni Apolinario Mabini’. It was envisioned to be an adaptation for this generation, something that my students and their contemporaries could relate to and easily identify with.

“Shakespeare’s classic tragedy of the star-crossed lovers has been adapted countless times in history. As a matter of fact, Dulaang UP has already staged it in 1987 directed by Cris Vertido. I trusted my instinct and decided to push through with it as a love letter to the youth of this generation.”

Three of the cast members in ‘#R</3J’ include Mitoy Sta. Ana as Mayor Capule in the middle with two of DUP's up-and-coming artists--Stephen Viñas as Tybalt, J's cousin and Fran Go as J. Photograph courtesy of DUP and Dino Dimar.

Three of the cast members in ‘#R</3J’ include Mitoy Sta. Ana as Mayor Capule in the middle with two of DUP’s up-and-coming artists–Stephen Viñas as Tybalt, J’s cousin and Fran Go as J. Photograph courtesy of DUP and Dino Dimar.

‘#R</3J’ retells the story and transforms the setting of Verona into a concrete jungle at the heart of Metro Manila—teeming with corruption, revolt, advertisements, sex, social media, and condominium units. It captures the essence of the most enduring tragedy juxtaposing the young lovers’ romance with the present society’s many forms of ‘commodified’ and ‘convoluted’ love. Scenes on globalization, ultra-violence, Internet foolishness, generation gap do seek to dramatize via a psychedelic mix of all available art forms, the post-modern tragedy of our generation. But with all its efforts of destroying the city, the family, the government, even Shakespeare—it will never triumph over love.

For tickets, reservation, sponsorships, and show buying inquiries, call Samanta Hannah Clarin or Camille Guevara at (632) 926-1349; 433-7840, 981-8500 local 2449 or send an email to dulaangupmarketing@gmail.com. For updates on the show, like Dulaang UP’s official page at facebook.com/DulaangUnibersidadNgPilipinas.