Theater in Manila: The Shows You Should Watch This April

Vibrators, suicide notes, and more.


( In the first quarter of 2017, we managed to run around the Metro and watch a number of amazing theatrical performances by our country's greatest artists—from the eye-opening Chris Millado's Buwan at Baril sa Eb Major in January to the bold and daring Repertory Philippines' staging of In The Next Room (or the Vibrator Play), which is still showing until April 23.


This April, we celebrate National Literature Month through a new take on the Filipino theatrical tradition of the Komedya, reflect on what Holy Week means for us through Negros Occidental's disturbing altar piece, and remind ourselves about the importance of taking a stand through the life story of a student activist.


Book your tickets now and immerse yourself in the wonders of theater this month.




Suicide, Incorporated

Twin Bill Theater's production of Suicide Incorporated, a play by Andrew Hinderaker, has been touring schools to raise awareness about mental health. It follows the story of Jason, a new hire at a company created to help those prone to suicidal thoughts. Employees are expected to write heart-wrenching suicide letters to be left to their loved ones by those who'll take their lives. But Jason is on a different mission. This production is directed by Steven Conde.


Suicide, Incorporated is on April 7, 10 a.m. at Fleur de lis Theater, St. Paul University - Manila, 680 Pedro Gil, Malate, Manila. Tickets, priced at P700, are available through Ticketworld.



Putri Anak: Isang Bagong Komedya

The Komedya (or Moro-moro to Tagalogs) is a Filipino theatrical tradition that traces its roots to the Spanish era. Putri Anak presents a contemporary production by drawing inspiration from San Dioniso Komedya's elements, Southeast Asian performance culture such as Indonesia's Tari Java and India's Bharata Natyam, and traditional Filipino music. Unlike the old Komedya in which clashes between Muslims and Christians are portrayed, Putri Anak presents a theater of peace and unity that’s free of religion-based discrimination and violence.



Putri Anak: Isang Bagong Komedya is on April 9, 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. at Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino, Cultural Center of the Philippines, Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City. Tickets, priced at P500, are available through Ticketworld.




Romanian-British operatic soprano Nelly Miricioiu and the country's premier tenor Arthur Espiritu team up to perform arias and duets from the world's most-loved operas. Miricioiu is well-known for her roles in Giacomo Puccini’s Tosca, Giuseppe Verdi’s La Traviata, and Ottorino Respighi's La fiamma. What makes it more special is that it's a fundraising concert for the benefit of Young Artist Development Program of the Cultural Arts Event Organizer.


Passione is on April 9, 6:00 p.m. at Ayala Museum, Makati Avenue corner De La Rosa Street, Makati City. Tickets, priced from P1,000 to P2,000, are available through Ticketworld.




Kung Paano Ako Naging Leading Lady

Kung Paano Ako Naging Leading Lady was first staged as a one-act play by Carlo Vergara at the Virgin Labfest in 2013, then later as a musical by Dalanghita Productions in 2015, and now as a university production by Ateneo Blue Repertory. This crowd-pleaser tells the story of Mely, a maid for the superhero team Fuwerza Pilipinas. She later finds that this task is more complicated than she expected.


Kung Paano Ako Naging Leading Lady runs from April 22 to 30 at the Rizal Mini Theater, Faber Hall, Ateneo De Manila University, Katipunan Avenue, Quezon City. Tickets, priced at P300, are available through Steph Escuadro (0956-845-2030).



Discover Opera: An Evening of Arias and Ensemble

In an effort to promote and develop appreciation for opera in the country, the Cultural Center of the Philippines showcases a selection of well-loved operas including Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Cosi fan tutte and Marriage of Figaro, Giacomo Puccini's La Boheme, and Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata. These pieces are to be sung by young soloists—Bianca Camille Lopez, Stephanie Aguilar, and more—proving that classical music is not just for the oldies.



Discover Opera: An Evening of Arias and Ensemble is on April 20, 7:30 p.m. at Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino, Cultural Center of the Philippines, Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City. Tickets, priced at P200, are available through Ticketworld.




Wit (also written as W;t) stars Tami Monsod who plays Dr. Vivian Bearing, a PhD literature professor diagnosed with ovarian cancer. This one-act play by American playwright Margaret Edson weaves together the professor's passion for the metaphysical poetry of John Donne, her memories with her father who also loved books, and her reflections on life just before she takes her final breath. Rounding up the cast are Bibo Reyes, Mikkie Bradshaw, Raymund Concepcion, and Sheila Francisco.


Wit runs from April 20 to May 3 at Mandel Hall, Trinity University of Asia, E. Rodriguez Sr. Avenue, Quezon City. Tickets, priced from P800 to P1,000, are available through Ticketworld.




Angry Christ

UP Playwrights' Theatre's Angry Christ is a new work by esteemed playwright Floy Quintos. It follows the journey of Filipino painter Alfonso Ossorio, popular for his mural of a fiery Christ on the walls of St. Joseph the Worker Parish Church in Victorias, Negros Occidental. The disturbing altar piece caused a scandal when it was unveiled in the 1950s. The play is under the direction of Dexter M. Santos.


Angry Christ runs from April 26 to May 14 at Wilfrido Ma. Guerrero Theater, 2/F Palma Hall, University of the Philippines - Diliman, Quezon City. Tickets, priced at P500, are available through Arkel Mendoza (0917-967-3616).



Lean: A Filipino Musical

Lean, a musical written by Gary Granada, not only features the life of Iskolar ng Bayan Lean Alejandro but also reimagines the powerful cries of student activists at the height of the Marcos dictatorship. It was first staged in 1997, a decade after the UP student was assassinated at the age of 27.



Lean: A Filipino Musical runs from April 28 to 29 May 12 to 13 at Adamson University Theater, 900 San Marcelino Street, Ermita, Manila. Tickets, priced at P300, are available through Zoe Caballero (0906-427-3981).

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