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A Review on ‘Tribes’

The following texts are excerpts from the review I wrote for BroadwayWorld.com Philippines.

It is about the play presented by Red Turnip Theater titled ‘Tribes’ by Nina Raine.

BWW Review: Red Turnip Theater Stages Nina Raine’s TRIBES


The cast and the director of Red Turnip Theater’s ‘Tribes’. Photograph courtesy of Erickson Dela Cruz.

Manila, Philippines–In its fourth year, theater company Red Turnip Theater, via Nina Raine’s comedy-drama “Tribes,” has proven time and again its top-notch quality.

Billy (Kalil Almonte), who was born deaf, is raised by parents Christopher (Teroy Guzman), an intellectual, demanding father, and Beth (Dolly De Leon), a smart yet understanding mother.

In a tough, dysfunctional family, Billy grew up with siblings Daniel (Cris Pasturan), a marijuana-dependent, and Ruth (Thea Yrastorza), an opera singer in pubs and churches.

“Tribes,” which is directed by Topper Fabregas (“Rabbit Hole,” “This is Our Youth”) theater-in-the-round style, succeeds in piercing the hearts of the audience by presenting the vulnerabilities and idiosyncrasies of its characters.

Fabregas perfectly casts Almonte to tackle the most challenging role in the play: a deaf young man who has been lipreading and was never allowed by his parents to do sign language. His parents believe that he’ll be able to do better this way in the hearing world.

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Gala Night for Shimizu Kunio’s ‘The Dressing Room: That Which Flows Away Ultimately Becomes Nostalgia’

The Dulaang UP (DUP) closes its 40th theater season with Shimizu Kunio‘s The Dressing Room: That Which Flows Away Ultimately Becomes Nostalgia (adapted by Chiori Miyagawa from an original translation by John K. Gillespie), a 1977 post-war Japanese play and its gala night for the said English production is tonight, April 8 at Wilfrido Ma. Guerrero Theater, University of the Philippines-Diliman.

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Three actresses–Makil-Ignacio, Quesada and Maramara star in an all-female cast for its English version. Images courtesy of Dulaang UP.

Its all-female cast for the English version will star–Frances Makil-Ignacio, Ces Quesada, Missy Maramara and Maxine Ignacio; and will be directed by former DUP’s artistic director–Alexander Cortez.

The production is a play within a play and paints stories on frustrations, memoirs and aspirations of four actresses preparing by the ‘gakuya’ (means backstage in English) as they all await their turns to go onstage. The actresses express their desire to perform the lead role named Nina Mikhailovna Zarechnaya from a play of Anton Chekhov’s ‘The Seagull’.and their obsessions to covet it; ignite a comic yet dramatic narrative about shared memories and their relationship with each other. It is about a tender and humorous drama about actors, the theater, aging, surviving, and moving on.

For its Filipino version, it will be starred by Roeder Camañag, Andoy Ranay, Gwyn Guanzon, and Ian Ignacio. It will run from April 6-24.

Michael Pangilinan as Crisostomo Ibarra in Gantimpala’s ‘Kanser’

On Saturday, October 2 at AFP Theater at Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo, Quezon City, Gantimpala Theater Foundation Incorporated mounted its last show for its Manila-run of ‘Kanser @ 35: The Musical’ with Harana singer-member and the man who popularized the song titled ‘Pare Mahal Mo Raw Ako’Michael Pangilinan as the lead star, Crisostomo Ibarra.

Pangilinan as Ibarra is seen in this scene with another theater actor as Elias. Photograph courtesy of Ted Claudio of WazzupPh.

Pangilinan as Ibarra is seen in this scene with another theater actor as Elias. Photograph courtesy of Ted Claudio of WazzupPh.

Pangilinan, who is now part of Kapamliya show ‘Your Face Sounds Familiar’ as one of the celebrity performers has reservations of assuming the role or venturing into the theater scene. However, after much convincing by Jobert Sucaldito, his manager, he gave in and took the challenge of venturing the stage as a theater artist.

According to Michael, his experience in portraying the character in the musical based on the country’s national hero—Jose Rizal’s novel titled ‘Noli Me Tangere’ was a challenge since he has little knowledge about the author and the role. He was grateful for the his fellow actors and his director of the said production for being helpful in his new-found journey.

He also added that his theater experience prepared him for his stints in the impersonation and total transformation talent competition show over Channel 2 that airs every Saturday (after MMK) and every Sunday (after Rated K), respectively, “My exposure in this musical has helped me a lot in my assuming each personality assigned to us.”