Friday, February 7, 2014

An Intimate Chat with Rep's August: Osage County Drama Team

Here is a glimpse of what to expect from Repertory Philippines this coming February 21.  Meet the actors and what they have to say about their roles.  Let the Drama begin . . . see you at the theater.

Repertory Philippines proudly announces its second offering for the Season 2014 with “ AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY ” - The 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Drama written by Tracy Letts.

AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY is set to open on February 21 and shall run up to March 9, 2014 at Onstage, 2/F, Greenbelt 1, Paseo de Roxas corner Legazpi St., Makati City.

AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY is set on the plains of modern day, middle-class Oklahoma. The Weston family members are all intelligent, sensitive creatures who have the uncanny ability of making each other absolutely miserable. When the patriarch of the household mysteriously vanishes, the Weston clan gathers together to simultaneously support and attack one another.

Written with a strong sense of humor, AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY
shall follow the meltdown of the Weston family as each member has personal difficulties that they are unable to resolve.

Chris Millado, a well-respected theater veteran and currently the Vice-President and Artistic Director of the Cultural Center of the Philippines will direct August: Osage County.

The cast of August: Osage County and the characters they portray are as follows:

BABY BARREDO shall play the role of Violet Weston, the central character of the play and tracks her life across the month of August while she lives in Oklahoma. The devious matriarch, Violet is addicted to painkillers (and any other pill she can pop) including alcohol and is beyond the glory of her life when she was a famous poet. She suffers from cancer of the mouth. But that doesn’t stop her from spewing her cynicism or her hilariously sinister insults. She has also lost Beverly, her husband.

PINKY AMADOR plays the role of Barbara Fordham, the eldest daughter. In many ways, Barbara is the strongest and most sympathetic character. Throughout the play, she tries to gain control of her chaotic mother, her dilapidated marriage, and her pot-smoking 14 year old daughter.

TAMI MONSOD plays the role of Ivy Weston, the middle daughter. A quiet librarian, and stereotypically mousy. Ivy has stayed close to home, unlike the other errant Weston sisters. This means Ivy has had to endure the acid tongue of her mother. She has been maintaining a secret love affair with her first cousin.

LIESL BATUCAN plays the role of Karen Weston, the youngest daughter. She claims to have been unhappy her entire adult life, prompting her to move away from the family and reside in Florida. However, she returns to the Weston home bringing along a fiancé in tow – a successful 50 year old business man who, unbeknownst to Karen, turns out to by the most loathsome character within the play.

LEO RIALP plays the role of Beverly Weston, husband of Violet and father to his three 40-something daughters. He was a one-time world class poet and full-time alcoholic. He’s polite, soulful, melancholy, and ultimately suicidal.

KENNETH MORALEDA plays the role of Bill Fordham, Barbara's estranged husband and Jean's father, age 49. A college professor, he has left his wife for a younger woman named Cindy, one of his students, but wants to be there for his family. His marriage is disintegrating and his patience is slowly running thin.

SHEILA FRANCISCO plays the role of Mattie Fae Aiken, Violet's sister, Charlie's wife and Little Charles' mother. Just as jaded as her sister, Mattie Fae constantly belittles her son and antagonizes her husband. Eventually she reveals the major plot point that Beverly, not Charlie, is the real father of Little Charles. Sheila is also the understudy for Violet Weston.

THEA GLORIA plays the role of Jean Fordham, Bill and Barbara's smart-tongued 14-year-old daughter. She smokes pot and cigarettes, is a vegetarian, loves old movies, and is bitter about her parents' split. More naive than she would like to believe.

RICHARD CUNANAN plays the role of Charlie Aiken, husband of Mattie Fae and the presumed father of Little Charles. Charlie, a genial man, was a lifelong friend of Beverly. He struggles to get Mattie Fae to respect Little Charles.

HANS ECKSTEIN plays the role of Steve Heidebrecht, Karen's fiancé. A businessman in Florida, (whose business, it is hinted, centers around the Middle East and may be less than legitimate) and not the "perfect man" that Karen considers him. He eventually sexually molests Jean after the two smoke pot together.

NOEL RAYOS plays the role of "Little" Charles Aiken, son of Mattie Fae and Beverly, 37 years old—but, like everyone else, he believes Charlie is his father. Unemployed and clumsy, his mother calls him a "screw-up", which may be a self-fulfilling prophecy. He is secretly having an affair with Ivy, who is revealed to actually be his half-sister.

ANGELI BAYANI plays the role of Johnna Monevata, a Cheyenne Indian woman, whom Beverly hires as a live-in housekeeper shortly before he disappears. Violet is prejudiced against her, but she wins over the other family members with her cooking skills, hard work, and empathy. Johnna is the silent witness to much of the mayhem in the house.

NATHS EVERETT will understudy the role of Johnna Monevata.

ARNEL CARRION plays the role of Sheriff Deon Gilbeau, a high-school classmate and former boyfriend of Barbara's, who brings the news of Beverly's suicide to the family.

August: Osage County received the Jeff Award (Chicago – 2007) for Best New Work and Best Production. These two awards were closely followed in 2008 by other six awards: Best New Play awarded by Drama Desk, Distinguished Production of a Play by Drama League, the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best Play and Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding New Broadway Play.

Most specially, it was also in 2008 when the play received the biggest award in the industry, the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the TONY Award for Best Play.

AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY was originally produced in 2007 by the Steppenwolf Theatre Company at the Downstairs Theatre in Chicago. After conquering Broadway from October 2007 until June 2009, it made its UK debut at London's National Theatre in November 2008. Consequently, many other international productions were produced in Israel, Tel Aviv, Puerto Rico, Australia, Germany, Austria, Argentina, Sweden, Peru, Spain, New Zealand, Holland, India, Poland, Netherlands. The movie version starring Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts opened late 2013.

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

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

Connect to Repertory Philippines online through the following social media networks:

May not be suitable for children under the age of ten. Children under the age of four are not permitted.

Monday, February 3, 2014

SIA Flight Info Accessible with Google Now

Press Announcement:

Imagine having easy access to the latest information on your upcoming travel, such as your flight status, and traffic and weather conditions for your destination. This is now possible with an initiative by Singapore Airlines (SIA) to integrate website bookings with Google Now.

Google Now provides you with the right information at the right time. For instance, Google Now will show you what the weather will be like at your travel destination even before your flight departure. This feature is available via the Google Search app for iOS devices on Apple’s App Store, and is built into Android 4.1+ devices, as part of the Google Search experience.

To activate Google Now on iOS devices, users only need to install the Google Search App and log in with their Google account. No installation is required for Android devices.

SIA customers who make a booking through and indicate their Gmail address in the booking will be able to view travel information in Google Now several hours before their flight departure. Information includes updates on their flight schedule, and the airport terminal and departure gate for their flight. This information is automatically updated in Google Now.

We are constantly seeking opportunities to improve our customers’ travel experience with us. The integration of our website with Google Now will reduce the hassle of having to remember important travel information and provide customers with relevant information about their destinations,” said SIA’s Senior Vice President for Sales and Marketing, Mr. Chin Yau Seng.

International Rondalla Festival Kicks Off in Manila

Press Release:

The 4th International Rondalla: Plucked String Music Festival begins with Kuwerdas ng Pagkakaisa: Philippine Rondalla Festival from February 12 to 16, 2014 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

Presented by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) through the Musicological Society of the Philippines (MSP) and the UP Center for Ethnomusicology, Kuwerdas Festival will highlight the genius of the Filipino in the plucked string tradition through performances at the CCP Little Theater, an exhibit on the History and the Development of the Philippine Rondalla, a Forum on Rondalla Instruments Development, and a Parangal, a tribute to the composers, conductors and dedicated rondalla teachers who have contributed greatly to the development of rondalla music in the country and abroad.

Kuwerdas, which launches the 4th International Rondalla/Plucked String Music Festival will be mounted in other countries where the plucked string tradition is practiced. Kwerdas also celebrates the 10-year effort of the NCCA and MSP in promoting, sustaining and enhancing the rondalla that forms part of a shared plucked string tradition with countries such as Spain, Arabia, Russia, Mexico, Australia, Israel, Indonesia, Thailand, China, Myanmar, India, Japan and Iran, among others.

Dr. Ramon Santos, well-renowned composer and Festival Director of Kuwerdas, regards the rondalla as an emblem of Filipino cultural identity, which has principally contributed to the social and artistic life of the entire nation. Santos claims that today the Filipino Rondalla is continuously developing in the United States, Europe, Australia, and in some Asian countries.

Performing a formidable repertoire that will provide Filipino audiences an exceptional rondalla musical experience are seven (7) of the best rondalla ensembles in the country today that have passed the rigorous audition recently held in Manila, Davao City, Silay City and Dipolog. Concert repertoire includes classic and avant-garde compositions by Filipino composers, baroque pieces by Vivaldi, Bach, Corelli and Handel; overtures by Filipino and foreign composers.

The Filipino groups featured are the Celso Espejo Rondalla, a family rondalla from Las Pinas City that has consistently won grand prizes in prestigious rondalla competitions; Dipolog Community Rondalla, a group that has won in the National Music Competition for Young Artists (NAMCYA), national level category in 2010; Harmonya: The String Ensemble of the University of the Philippines, Los Banos, Laguna, which dedicates its existence to the pursuit of excellence in both classical or contemporary works; Kabataang Silay Rondalla Ensemble that has earned the title of “Young Cultural Ambassadors of Negros Occidental”; Lucban Pahiyas Community Rondalla, National Champion Rondalla A and Solo Competitions, NAMCYA 2012; Maco Heights Central School Rondalla of Davao del Norte, 3rd place winner, NAMCYA Rondalla category A 2011 and 2013; University of the Philippines Rondalla, a group that has represented the country in major music festivals and that promotes, preserves and explores the versatility of the rondalla.

Joining the best Philippine rondalla groups are the plucked string artists Fu-Shing Junior High School and NTNU Chinese Plucked Instruments Ensemble of Taiwan as well as plucked string ensembles from Vietnam and Indonesia.

Performances are set at 1:30 p.m., 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. from February 13 to 15, and 4 p.m. on February 16.

For tickets, call the CCP Box Office at 8323704 or 8321125 local 1409/1406. The Rondalla Exhibit at the second level of the CCP Main Lobby is open to the public and runs from February 16 to 28; Forum on Rondalla Instrument Development on February 14 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. is also free to interested parties. Please call 9260028 to pre-register. For details on the festival visit or like us on facebook: rondalla.festival.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

CCP Holds Necro Rites for Late National Artist Ildelfonso P. Santos Jr.

Press Release:
The Cultural Center of the Philippines will pay tribute to National Artist for Architecture Ildefonso P. Santos, Jr. in a necrological ceremony on Sunday, February 2, 2014 at 9:00am at the CCP Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo lobby (Main Theater lobby). Interment will follow at the Magallanes Crypt.
Santos passed away on January 29 due to multiple organ failure. He was 84.

Santos was a pioneer in landscape architecture in the Philippines and known as the Father of Philippine Landscape Architecture. He had a distinguished career that spanned more than 40 years and was responsible for the creation of hundreds of parks, plazas, gardens, and outdoor sites that have become a part of modern day Filipino life.

Proclaimed National Artist for Architecture in 2006, he was cited for “designs that took inspiration from the Filipino celebration of free-flowing, positive, ‘maaliwalas’ space. He understood and accommodated Filipino physiological, behavioural and social needs in providing shade, providing opportunities for close seating and the sharing of food and laughter in his public spaces’. The National Artist Award also recognized his contributions to the professionalization of the field of landscape architecture. Santos helped established the first university programs in landscape architecture and advocated for the recognition of the art and profession by the government and allied fields. He also organized the Philippine Association of Landscape Architects.
Among Santos’ well-known projects were Loyola Memorial Park in Manila, the Eternal Gardens Memorial Park in Caloocan City, the Caliraya Lake Resort in Laguna, the Batulao Village Club in Batangas, the Imus town plaza in Cavite and the Rain Tree Sports Club in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Santos was awarded the Patnubay ng Sining at Kalinangan Award by the City of Manila in 1972 and named Outstanding Landscape Architect by the United Garden Clubs of the Philippines in 1986.

Santos held two degrees in Architecture from the University of Santo Tomas (1954) and the University of Southern California (1956), where he also earned his master’s degree. From 1955 to 1963, He worked in Los Angeles with Cornell, Bridges and Troller, and then later established his own firm in the Philippines. He oversaw projects in Malaysia, Hong Kong, Guam, Thailand, Singapore, Taipei and Bahrain. Santos was president of the Philippine Association of Landscape Architects from 1977 to 1986 and was a member of the Board of Examiners for Landscape Architecture of the Professional Regulation Commission from 1982 to 1986.

Santos was born September 5, 1929 to Ildefonso Santos and Asuncion Paez.

For more information about the CCP necrological ceremonies for Santos, please call the Office of the Artistic Director at 832-1125 loc. 1121.

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 naïve. “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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