Romancing the music, travelling in time and beyond, witty exchanges, and other creative variations presented in a simple white space. That is the Red Turnip flavor for you as they executed the play 33 Variations by Moisés Kaufman in an imaginative and ethereal way.
Red Turnip Theater kicked off its third season with the opening of its newest offering 33 VARIATIONS at Whitespace, Makati last July 23 for press viewing. The play focused on music as a theme and as a tool to highlight the emotions of the actors. The additional choreography of light, set design, and music elevated the experience to another level. It is like music appreciation in a visual level, at the same time training the audience’s ears to listen to each and every note, as well as sequences of notes.
The story was presented in a time parallel sort of way with minimal props but with efficient, and effective results in progressing the story. Utilizing the audience imagination to provide the details of an otherwise grand set design is something I always admire when done well.
Just as expected, the acting performance of all was flawless and if there were minor hitches along the way, it didn’t affect the overall experience. I particularly enjoyed the exchanges between Rem Zamora’s character and Paolo O’hara’s character because of how they perform such eccentricities. Funny scenes have a tendency to be remembered overall. There were some lean moments which gave time for minor distractions among the audience as I noticed some to look away or close their eyes. The “loudness” or strong stage presence of the characters of Rem and Paolo brought them back to the stage. The “cockiness” of Roselyn Perez’s character is another attention-grabber, she can recapture a distracted audience member with her quips and distinctive voice.
The dying scene and “cross-over” scene of Shamaine Buencamino and Teroy Guzman is another memorable part of the play that hit a high note for me.
33 VARIATIONS tells the story of a renowned musicologist, Katherine Brandt, who is on a mission to discover why Beethoven composed the Diabelli variations, considered as one of his greatest masterpieces. Her daughter, Clara, is on a mission to find her place in her mother's world. Together, they maneuver through Beethoven's colorful life, their own challenging relationship, and somehow find their answers within his music. Shifting between periods and places, 33 VARIATIONS is the story of mothers and daughters and the legacies we long to leave behind.
33 VARIATIONS also marks Red Turnip’s first show to incorporate live music: critical moments in the play are underscored by the Diabelli Variations themselves, played live and on stage by Ejay Yatco (“Sa Wakas”, “Dani Girl”, “The Boy in the Bathroom”). Although he is mostly known as a composer and musical director, the 24 year-old has also competed at the 2013 World Championship of Performing Arts under the Classical Piano category, where he made it to the final 3 instrumentalists of the world and took home one gold and three silver medals. Yatco will be playing the Variations on a baby grand piano, provided by LYRIC.
33 VARIATIONS opens July 24 and runs weekends until August 23 at Whitespace, Makati.
Tickets are available through TicketWorld (891-9999 or www.ticketworld.com.ph) or Red Turnip Theater (firstname.lastname@example.org or https://www.facebook.com/RedTurnipTheater)