Cris Villonco is seen with Noel Rayos as Julia and Tenyong, respectively in a scene where they both performed the song 'Bayan Ko' along with the ensemble--TP's Actors Company. Photograph by Enrico Dela Cruz.
PASAY CITY, Philippines - It’s a path not all movie directors will take but one of the Philippines’s most celebrated filmmakers, Carlos Siguion-Reyna will showcase his creative touch from filming to theater via his first stage play ‘Walang Sugat’
. Severino Reyes’s controversial sarswela piece proved Siguion-Reyna’s mettle and headlined Tanghalang Pilipino’s 26th season opener, from August 16 to August 26 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP).“I’ve long wanted to direct an opera or a book musical onstage. In fact, I’ve had talks with several people but plans didn’t materialize. Earlier this year, a concrete offer and opportunity came when Nanding Josef approached me to do ‘Walang Sugat’,
Siguion-Reyna said, sharing how excited he is to try stage directing. Winning a Grand Jury Award at the 2001 San Diego Asian Film Festival for his movie ‘Azucena’
, and several other international citations including a Best Asian Film award at the 1998 Berlin International Film Festival for his masterpiece ‘Ang Lalaki sa Buhay ni Selya’
(The Man in Her Life), Siguion-Reyna shares the main reason why he wants to lay his hands on theater- to explore the themes of literary works that are often times contained in films.
After the opening night of the stage play was moved due to the unfavorable weather condition on August 9, Siguion-Reyna’s first stage show ever was greeted with loud applause at CCP’s Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino. ABS-CBN.com described the stage production as “competent and entertaining” and praises where also showered unto its cast including Cris Villongco, Noel Rayos, Jonathan Tadioan, Noemi Manikan-Gomez, Jennifer Villegas, Red Nuestro, and the rest of Tanghalang Pilipino’s Actors Company.
The 110-year old sarswela is about the love story of Julia (Cris Villongco) and Tenyong (alternated by Noel Rayos and Antonio Ferrer) set at the height of Philippine revolution against Spain, playing between personal and political issues with the fusion of humor which is expected from sarswelas. Interestingly, the literary piece was first performed onstage in Teatro Libertad in Manila back in 1902. Aside from those who performed during the opening night, other stage actors who received positive feedback were Antonio Ferrer as the Tenyong, Bodjie Pascua, Lou Veloso, Jean Judith Javier as Monica and who also wowed the audience when she had to take over Villonco’s role (as an understudy) when the latter had to beg off due to health reasons at the show’s final run on August 26, 3pm run, Gino Ramirez, and Jelson Bay.
Completing a formidable production team for Siguion-Reyna’s theater debut are choreographer Nonoy Froilan, musical director Chino Toledo, lighting designer and technical director Katsch Catoy, set designer Tuxqs Rutaquiao, and the great grandson of Severino Reyes, the play’s author, James Reyes as the costume designer. His works will be more evident on the costumes of the lead actresses Cris Villongco and Noemi Manikan-Gomez.
Re-run of ‘Walang Sugat’
is yet to be mounted after its limited, but successful mounting of this Siguion-Reyna’s attempt to doing stage plays.
Up next on Tanghalang Pilipino is a Layeta Bucoy’s piece in collaboration with playwright and director Tuxqs Rutaquio, which will open on September 14 and will run till October 7, 2012. For more details, visit Tanghalang Pilipino’s website.