MANILA, PHILIPPINES – Repertory Philippines Foundation, Inc. (or “REP”), one of the biggest theatre companies in the Philippines, held its 83rd Season Launch for 2020 at the Onstage Theater at Greenbelt 1 this October 14.
For those who were not able to physically attend the event, REP also streamed the whole season launch via Facebook Live, allowing theatre fans to watch the exclusive videos and witness the sneak peek previews of the shows in the line-up.
Since 1967, REP has been staging wonderful theatre productions to local audiences. Their vision is for theatre arts to be a persistent presence in the Filipino arts environment. Many skilled actors in the local theatre scene today (and even some who went on to enter the international theatre industry) began their journey with REP.
This coming year, they are proud to stage four carefully-chosen plays that will surely show world-class Filipino talent.
Stage Kiss (February 7 – March 1)
The theatre company starts its season with a romantic comedy by Sarah Ruhl entitled Stage Kiss. It is a play within a play where two ex-lovers are thrown together to perform in a play. The catch – they’ll have to share stage kisses. As art imitates life, life imitates art. Fantasy and reality are two different things, but when it comes to kisses, how do you know the difference?
Playing the role of She is Missy Maramara who was last seen in The Kundiman Party (2018-2019), The Dresser (2019), and Stop Kiss (2019). Acting alongside her as He is Tarek El Tayech, who also worked with Missy in Stop Kiss (2019). He was also in King / Haring Lear (2015) and will be seen in Macbeth (2019) this November.
Director Carlos Siguion-Reyna has shown sharpness and skill with his previously directed shows like Walang Sugat (2012), Coriolano (2019), and Tanghalang Pilipino’s Of Mice and Men Filipino adaptation, Katsuri (2019). There is no doubt that he would do another fine job directing REP’s season opener. Stage Kiss is in good hands.
Anna in the Tropics (March 13 – April 5)
Nilo Cruz’ 2003 Pulitzer Prize-winning Anna in the Tropics is REP’s second show of the season. Prior to this, the play has been produced only a handful of times. This show will be interesting to see as it is set in 1920s Cuba. Cigar factory workers momentarily escape the hardships of their daily routine whenever the town lector reads a book out loud to them.
Director Joey Mendoza will be working with a small but powerful ensemble cast composed of Gab Pangilinan, Ana Abad Santos, Jake Macapagal, Paolo O’ Hara, Brian Sy, Gie Onida, and Madeleine Nicolas.
This will be Gab Pangilinan’s first production with REP and her full straight play as well. She has played lead roles in Side Show (2018), Mula sa Buwan (2018), and Ang Huling El Bimbo (2019), and was part of the ensemble in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical (2019).
Looking over the years, Filipino audiences don’t appear too keen on serious straight plays and would always prefer musicals. However, the play looks like it is going to be relatable even though it’s set in a different place and era altogether.
Carousel (May 1 – 24)
The musical tandem of Richard Rodgers for music and Oscar Hammerstein II for the book and lyrics is a sure indication that Carousel will be fantastic. It opened on Broadway in 1945 and had been repeatedly revived since then. It won the 1992 Olivier Award for Best Musical Revival as well as the 1994 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical.
The musical tells the story of the romance between a carousel barker, Billy Bigelow, and a millhouse worked, Julie Jordan. Losing both their jobs, Billy had to resort to thievery to provide for his family. Despite everything going wrong, he is given a chance to prove himself.
Playing Julie Jordan is Nikki Gil. She might not have been in the theatre scene since 2014, but she has the experience to back her up. She has played the lead roles in the local staging of musicals such as Legally Blonde: The Musical (2010), Sweet Charity (2011), and The Last 5 Years (2014). Opposite Nikki is Gian Magdangal playing as Billy. He was most recently Jack Kelly in Newsies (2017) and Hector in Ang Huling El Bimbo (2018-2019).
Snow White and the Prince (September 12, 2020 – January 31, 2021)
For 27 years, REP’s Theater for Young Audiences (RYTA) has staged wonderful children’s theatre filled with life lessons for any ages. It comes as no surprise that the 83rd season-ender is a comedic retelling of a well-known fairy tale that will surely entertain families. With book, music, and lyrics by Janet Yates Vogt and Mark Friedman, Snow White and the Prince is sure to be another hit with young audiences.
Joy Virata, Creative Director of the RYTA, will be directing the musical. She previously directed Rapunzel, Rapunzel: A Very Hairy Fairytale (2018) and The Quest for Adarna (2019), proving her expertise when it comes to theatre that caters to the interests of children.
For sure, people are already marking their planners and calendar apps for the solid line-up that Repertory Philippines has in store for 2020. The season has a healthy mix of drama and comedy. At least one of the four shows will surely appeal to any kind of theater-goer.
Having officially launched their 83rd season, it’s very exciting to see the line-ups of other theatre companies. What other plays and musicals will the Filipino audience get to witness? We’ll just have to wait and see.
Image credit: Repertory Philippines