Theater in Manila: The Shows You Should Watch This Month If You're Avoiding Sappy Love Stories

We tried!


( February marks two important occasions—Valentine's Day and the National Arts Month. But if you're more in love with the arts than with all things sappy, then we're guessing you would want to avoid love stories (and the mushy couples watching them) at all costs. This month, we round up theater shows that are as far from romantic as you could get.





Si Janus Silang at ang Tiyanak ng Tabon

Edgar Calabia Samar's popular young adult novel, Si Janus Silang at ang Tiyanak ng Tabon, is brought to life through a theatrical adaptation by Tanghalang Ateneo. It follows the titular character, Janus Silang, who is fond of playing the online game TALA (Terra Anima Legion of Anitos). Unknown to him, this world of the tiyanak, nuno, pusong, and bagani goes beyond the Internet and leads to a parallel universe. Charles Yee directs the production.



Si Janus Silang at ang Tiyanak ng Tabon runs from February 1 to 25 at the Rizal Mini Theater, Faber Hall, Ateneo de Manila University. Tickets, priced at P450, are available through Ticketworld.





Philippine Educational Theater Association opens its 50th theater season with a restaging of Care Divas, a funny musical about five transgender Overseas Filipino Workers in Israel. Desperate to make ends meet, they work as caregivers in the morning then transform into glamorous drag queens at night. The musical written by Liza Magtoto dominated the Philstage Gawad Buhay Awards in 2011 and bagged seven trophies.



Care Divas runs from February 3 to March 19 at the PETA Theater Center, Sunnyside Drive, New Manila, Quezon City. Tickets, priced from P800 to P1,800, are available through Ticketworld.




My Name is Asher Lev

Nel Gomez (American Idiot, A Christmas Carol) stars as the protagonist in Twin Bill Theater's production of My Name is Asher Lev. It follows a young Hasidic Jew growing up in 1940s Brooklyn. How does he deal with his religion's restrictrive beliefs when he finds himself drawn to the arts?



My Name is Asher Lev runs from February 18 to March 5 at The PARC Foundation, Lt. Artiaga Street, San Juan. Tickets, priced at P850, are available through Ticketworld.




Isang Harding Papel

Isang Harding Papel follows the story of Jenny, who patiently waits for her mother—a political prisoner during the Martial Law period under Marcos regime—to come home. It's a musical written for kids and kids-at-heart and is adapted from Augie River's children's book of the same title published in 2014. In an effort to increase awareness and spread knowledge about this dark period, teachers and students (elementary and junior high school) from public schools in Quezon City get free tickets to see the 2 p.m. show.



Isang Harding Papel is on February 10 at AFP Theater, Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City. Tickets, priced at P400 (balcony) and P600 (orchestra), are available through 982-8189 or 0908-887-2553.




Tatlong Monologo at Isang Magnanakaw

After a successful run in November 2016, ADHD Productions restages Tatlong Monologo at Isang Magnanakaw by Dolly Dulu and Tyron Casumpang, both writing fellows of the Virgin Labfest Fellowship Program in 2013. The series of short plays is the company's response to the Supreme Court decision to allow the burial of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. Ironically, it will be staged at the Cultural Center of the Philippines, which was established under the Marcos administration to allegedly take the spotlight away from the atrocities of the Martial Law era.



Tatlong Monologo at Isang Magnanakaw runs on February 11 and 12 at the Tanghalang Huseng Batute, Cultural Center of the Philippines, Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City. Tickets, priced at P400, are available through Ticketworld.





Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's Faust is translated and adapted to Filipino by Rody Vera in this Dulaang Unibersidad ng Pilipinas production. The two-party tragic play follows Mephistopheles who challenges God and claims that he can easily lure Faust away from righteousness. It is directed by Jose Estrella.



Faust runs from February 15 to March 3 at the Wilfrido Ma. Guerrero Theater, Palma Hall, University of the Philippines - Diliman. Tickets, priced at P500, are available through 0917-967-3616.




Extra Judicial Kidding

Comedians Jon Santos, Kakai Bautista, and Rex Navarrete team up for the first time in one hilarious show. Directed by Joaquin Pedro Valdes, the comic commentary talks about the latest issues in today's headlines and trending topics.



Extra Judicial Kidding is on February 15, 8 p.m. at the Newport Performing Arts Theater, Resorts World Manila, Newport Boulevard, Pasay City. Tickets, priced at P1,800 to P5,900, are available through Ticketworld.




Agnes of God

This play by John Pielmeir tells the story of Sister Agnes, a novice nun. After unexpectedly giving birth, she tells the whole congregation that it was an immaculate conception. A clash between a psychiatrist and the mother superior ensues after an investigation on the case.



Agnes of God runs from February 17 to March 12 at Onstage Theater, Greenbelt 1, Makati City. Tickets, priced from P600 to P1,000, are available through Ticketworld.




Titas of Manila

If you missed the February 2016 of Titas of Manila, then you're in for a treat as this play comes back onstage as part of the arts festival Fringe Manila. It features four stories exploring the life of, what else? Being a tita and probably everything that comes with it, like their, er, distinctive social media habits and how they somehow always have the best chismis.



Titas of Manila runs on February 19 at the Tanghalang Huseng Batute, Cultural Center of the Philippines, Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City. Tickets, priced at P400, are available through Ticketworld.

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