Friday, January 24, 2014

"Red" at CCP

Press Release:
Bart Guingona reprises his award winning role as painter Mark Rothko in John Logan’s award winning and critically acclaimed play “Red” at the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ Tanghalang Huseng Batute (Studio Theater) on January 31 - February 9.

Guingona first essayed the role in the Asian premiere of Red at the College of Saint Benilde in February 2013. He also directed the play. For his work in Red, he received the 2013 ALIW Award for Best stage Actor and Best Director.

Red is about the abstract expressionist painter Mark Rothko who was commissioned, for what might have been the equivalent of the Sistine Chapel commission, to paint a series of murals for the cutting edge Seagram Building on Park Avenue. But after completing the works, he mysteriously decides to keep the paintings and returns every penny of the advance. Years later, the artist donates the works to the Tate Gallery in London and on the very day it arrives at the gallery, he commits suicide.

The play introduces a fictitious assistant who engages Rothko in arguments and conversations that ultimately make us understand why Rothko might decide to withdraw his work from the commission.

The original production of Red was premiered in London in 2009 and then staged in Broadway the following year. It had Alfred Molina in the leading role. Red won six Tony Awards and recognition in the Drama Desk Awards and Drama League Awards.

In Manila, “Red” is presented by Actor’s Actors’ The Necessary Theatre. Joaquin Pedro Valdes takes on the role of Rothko’s assistant.

The Asian premiere of Red in Manila received rave reviews.

“Guingona was consistently excellent as Rothko. The charismatic Valdes was a perfect foil, his character being both knowledgeable and na├»ve. “Red” may well be one of the most important plays staged this year.”

Cora Llamas of Interaksyon TV 5 said: “And two actors (Bart Guingona and Joaquin Valdes) who unleash upon each other line after line of brilliant dialogue that makes the audience reexamine their perspectives on art, and the passion (if any) that they bring to life. There was good reason why Red won the Tony Award for Best Play in 2010. It reminds you that the play is the thing—the written word incarnated in complex characters who are made flesh-and-blood by actors who can give them the depth and layering that they require.”

In addition to winning two Aliw awards, the Philippine production of Red garnered several citations from Gawad Buhay.

For details, contact the CCP Performing Arts Division at 832-1125 or visit CCP website (

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Wait Until Dark for a Thrilling Repertory Theater Experience

As the fun Christmas musicals played their final note for the season, a new thrilling experience awaits theater-goers as Repertory Philippines begins the year with a dark play. Okay, somewhat dark. I mean how can Repertory Philipppines totally shed their popular fun and light image even as they explore the dark side. This cat-and-mouse type of play only further highlights the company's versatility without losing their personality. Having said that, you can expect an entertaining play with occasional giggles despite the dark theme.

Your theater experience begins with the visual of a dimly-let stage that sets the atmosphere of anticipation and foreboding. The spot-on acting of the goon-like characters and their “evil”leader
along with the brilliant lighting techniques progressed the story smoothly despite the limitation of theater's one-set scenes. The audience's imagination was heightened and on full-gear as the actors easily transported the them from the outdoors to the indoors without being hampered by the permanent walls. How they combine or blend, acting chops with ingenious lighting, set design, and music seems to be the trademark formula for Repertory's successful shows.

Perhaps his height and built on top of great acting helped the audience buy into Arnel Carrion's cold and evil character. He made me fearful for "Suzy" as I was truly convinced of his capability to harm her.The subtle acting skills of Robbie Guevarra and Joel Trinidad may not be as attention-grabbing as the role of "Roat" or "Suzy" but I really enjoyed how they played their characters. The idea of a dead body or that the story happened in London or the bumbling execution of "the plan" to deceive Suzy were convincingly set up by their characters. Dani Gana played Gloria in a way that I believe only she can deliver, that “duality” in character where you feel there is something more going on inside her despite what she outwardly presents.

Give someone a blind role and let's see if you can truly believe it. Well, Liesl Batucan played the blind woman's role seamlessly and convincingly that I entered her world and stayed there until the end, fearful constantly for her safety. When you watch a Repertory play, it's superb acting that really takes you through that wonderful experience. Everything else falls second.

The show runs from January 17 to February 9, 2014.  All performances are at Onstage, 2/F, Greenbelt 1, Paseo de Roxas corner Legazpi St., Makati City.

For details of the show, you may contact Repertory Philippines:
By phone: 571-6926 and 571-4941
By e-mail:
By Internet:

Tickets are available through Ticketworld at 891-9999, or via

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

PPO Starts the Year with "The Four Seasons" on January 17

Press Release:
The Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra led by conductor Olivier Ochanine greets the New Year on the 17th of January 2014 at the Meralco Theater at 8:00 pm. Billed The Four Seasons, the concert features guest violinists Ruth Livioco and Jonathan Livioco.  The program includes Antonio Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons” and Antonin Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9 "From The New World".

Ruth Livioco’s exposure in music started when she studied playing the piano (at age 6) and the violin (at age 10) through the Extension Program of the College of Music of the University of the Philippines.  As a violinist, she has performed both as soloist, chamber, and orchestra musician both in the Philippines and abroad playing at an early age with the Metro Manila Community Orchestra (2000-2002), the Manila Symphony Orchestra (2002-2012), the Asian Youth Orchestra -- 6 week music camp and Asian concert tour (2010 and 2011), and with the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra (2012-present). Ruth was also featured soloist in Paco Park concert series (2009). Currently, she is studying with Mr. Joseph Esmilla and is the Assistant Concertmaster of the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra.

Jonathan David Livioco was recently named Concertmaster of the ABSCBN Philharmonic Orchestra in 2013. He started playing the violin at the age of 8, at the Extension Program of the UP College of Music under Ferizal Midoro. In 2008 and 2011, Jonathan was a prize winner in the Violin Category of the National Music Competition for Young Artists. Prior to joining the ABSCBN Philharmonic, Jonathan was the 2nd Violin Principal with Manila Symphony Orchestra. Currently, aside from his orchestra performances and some teaching duties, he continues his violin studies under the tutelage of esteemed Filipino Violinist, Joseph Esmilla.

Ticket prices are P1,500 / P1,200 / P800 / P500, with discounts available to students, senior citizens and groups. Subscription packages are also available for eight (8) or four (4) shows. For inquiries and subscriptions, please call the CCP Marketing Department (832-1125 loc. 1806), the CCP Box Office (832-3704) or TicketWorld at National Bookstore (891-9999).


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