Saturday, November 24, 2007

The Philippines is Going to the DOGS!!!

The Best Philippine Theater Experience
you'll have this year.

Watch It!!!

In perfect sync with very recent events.
(see post immediately below)

If you're as heated up about those
Presidential Pardons as I am,
this play ought to be the perfect balm
to ease your pain,

as it will remind you
that outside our nincompoop government,
there are still some Pinoys worth living and dying for,
and there are Pinoys who are willing to fight the good fight.

Our country deserves better
than the insensitive ingrates who will be in power 'til 2010.

DOGEATERS should open some eyes,
force many deafened ears to listen,
and make some mouths start talking.

The power of prose and poetry
cannot be underestimated.

It's depressing to think that a quarter of century has passed
since the semi-fictitious events depicted in the play;

and while you'll be entertained
by the funhouse mirror reflections of
Ninoy Aquino, Maita Gomez, Gen. Fabian Ver,
(and for DVD fans) German director Rainer Fassbinder,
Danding Cojuangco, Joseph Estrada, and
Imelda Marcos (who's really a funhouse all by herself).

You will also be shocked back to reality by
the urgency of the social and political concerns,
the strong sense of distrust of government,
the hubris of the personages in positions of power,
the desperation and seeming hopelessness of the masses,

so perfectly drawn out
by novelist/playwright Jessica Hagedorn
that remain as true now, in 2007, as they did in 1982.

The cast is stellar;
when you have Joel Torre and Michael de Mesa
performing multiple roles,
you're in very safe theatrical hands.

Rez Cortez,
in danger of being caricatured as an FPJ loyalist,
is a revelation in Dogeaters.

His roles as an abusive military officer,
a Quasimodo-like houseboy,
and an Intercon Hotel Jeepney Coffeshop waiter (!),
are spot on. Consider me a fan, sir.

Jon Santos,
essaying the role of the owner
and star performer of a Coco Banana-type disco,
provides some comic relief and hot Donna Summer moves
to lighten the tension.

But unexpectedly,
he also provides the underlying pathos
by having to make the life-or-death decisions
so common during the lethal days of Martial Law.

I was surprised that he didn't play Imelda;
but the actor who did was terrific, Imeldific to the max:
from the height and matronly heft,
the strange speech cadences,
and yes, that hint of feminine menace
that made the First Lady the Iron Butterfly.

Gina Alajar's final scene alone
is worth the price of admission.
Sister Stella L. combined with Sissy Spacek's Carrie
is one unforgettable combination.

There's a Greek Chorus, by the way,
but not what you'd expect in the classical sense.

To reveal more would ruin the surprise,
but somehow, one of the members of "the chorus"
reminded me of an omnipresent TV mainstay of my childhood,
the great host & emcee, Eddie Mercado.

The rest of the cast is excellent as well.
Teresa Herrera, UNO cover girl,
ought to be commended for her courage
in casting her lot with this group of accomplished actors.
Her supermodel looks may have distracted me somewhat,
but she surely shows potential for more stagework.

I'm in Baguio as I write this,
and I forgot to bring my Dogeaters "Playbill",
but I'd love to give a shoutout to these characters,
and the actors who played them:

the tragic Batangueno Romeo and his chubby Juliet;
Joey, the bastard GI baby/callboy/DJ;
and the sweet, sad Beauty Queen/Torture Victim/Communist Rebel.

to you all!!! Pinaiyak niyo ako ",)

for the 1980s time-warp authentic
Stage and Production design.

One of the most beautiful I've seen
since Miss Saigon a decade ago at the CCP.
It's stark yet filled with period detail.

I can almost imagine what Ninoy's solitary confinement
cell in Laur, Nueva Ecija must have looked like...

(lose the Absolut Mandrin bottle though,
and replace it with Smirnoff Vodka;
this vodkalcoholic noticed that anachronism)

The lighting design, almost cinematic in quality,
from the daylight bright golf course to the
flickering screen inside the Odeon movie theater,
the mood lighting of the kinky bedroom sequences,
and the seamless transitions between scenes,
it was all subtle, but perfectly pleasing to the eye.

And now, a confession:
I retired from my so-called career in theater
two decades ago, after I played the lead role
of Danny Zuko in a UST production of GREASE.

It was directed by Bernardo Bernardo,
and staged at the Metropolitan Theater.

After singing "Summer Nights" at the historic Met,
and having a backstage romance with my "Sandy",
I couldn't think of any other role that I desired,
as I'd already accomplished my dream of stage glory.

My first reaction after watching Dogeaters,
however, was this:

I'd love to act again.

The play was so good, I'd love to perform in something similar;
Dogeaters just may forced me out of my J.D. Salinger retirement.

Watch it, please....

before I ruin Philippine Theater with my hammy acting.


The star-studded staging of Jessica Hagedorn’s
critically acclaimed play DOGEATERS
runs from November 16 – December 2, 2007
at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium,
RCBC Plaza, Makati.

Filled with rich characters
from every level of the social ladder
in the tropical city of Manila in 1982,

Jessica Hagedorn’s Dogeaters
(based on her New York Times Best Selling novel)

follows in particular the fates of
Rio, a young, movie-obsessed girl
from an upper-middle-class family,

and Joey, a poor, young Afro-Filipino hustler.

Their coming of age stories are intertwined
with the tales of generals, waiters,
a soft-porn "bomba" star, the richest man in Manila,
journalists, politicians, a revolutionary fugitive,
a middle-aged drag queen,

and even the First Lady of the Philippines.

Featured in the cast are
highly acclaimed actors from the stage and screen
including Joel Torre
(recreating the roles he played in the New York Production),

Gina Alajar, Michael de Mesa, Rez Cortez,
Leo Rialp. Jon Santos, Andoy Ranay, Chari Arespacochaga,
Ana Abad Santos, Jerald Napoles, Nicco Manalo, Cheryl Ramos,
Jenny Jamora, Lao Rodriguez, Richard Cunanan
and (schwinnngggg!!!!) Teresa Paredes Herrera.

DOGEATERS is directed by Bobby Garcia,
Production Design by Kalila Aguilos,
Lighting Design by Jay Aranda
and Original Music Scoring by ManMan Angsico.

Because of Explicit Content,
Parental Discretion is advised.

For tickets call Atlantis Productions
at 892-7078, 840-1187 or TicketWorld at 891-9999.


Blogger Janice Ianne said...

Good day Sir,

This is Janice Ianne J. Miguel, 3rd year Journalism student of Letran College-Manila. I'm currently doing a story about Manila Metropolitan Theater for one of my journalism subjects. I had researched that you were one of the fantastic performers during the theater's glorious days. I just want to ask some of your free time for an email interview, your experience in performing will be a very big help for me sir. Please be kind and reply to this email:
if its ok with you to answer the questions that I'll be sending to you.

Thank you sir Godbless and more power. Letranites are so proud of you!!!

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February 3, 2008 at 11:41 PM  

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