Tanghalang Ateneo, the longest-running theater company of the Loyola Schools of the Ateneo de Manila University, celebrates its 36th season with the theme “Navigating Identities”. To articulate this, the company will stage plays that explore man’s need to find himself and his place in the world.
After a successful production of Han Ong’s “Middle Finger” last August, the company now focuses its attention on Glenn Sevilla Mas’s “Rite of Passage: Sa Pagtubu kang Tahud (An adaptation of a Kinaray-a short story by Maria Milagros Geremia Lachica).
The play was first produced by Tanghalang Pilipino for the Virgin Labfest, the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ annual festival of new plays in 2005.
A book version was produced by the UST Publishing House in 2005. In its introduction, Dr. Roland L. Reed – Writer-in-Residence of The International Stanislavsky Theater Studio in Washington, DC and Synetic Theater in Arlington, VA wrote:
“ With the concrete vividness of art, Mas’s plays bring the culture and the people of the Philippines, specifically his province, Antique, to us in the United States. The places in which the actions are set enter us through all our senses. His “Rite of Passage” is replete with the smell of cooking over wood fire, the feel of sun-heated water from an open-air shower splashing over a sweaty body, the slash of pain as adolescent boys submit to the circumcision which propels them, ready or not, into manhood, the sounds of nesting chickens under the house, the cheers and snarls of a cockfight in a pit surrounded by encouraging owners and betting men, a boy’s first taste of strong beer, and a boy’s vision nearly overwhelmed by lightly clothed magazine women combined with his aunt undressing and his first sight of a young neighbor woman visited by a man in the outdoor shower enclosure.”
“ All told, his plays have two constants: a powerful sense of authenticity of human experience, and a skillful and imaginative manipulation of dramatic structure. Glenn Sevilla Mas is more than a Philippine writer. He is a brilliant interpreter of our world.”
Set in Catungan IV, a quiet barrio in the province of Antique, the play opens with a painful ritual that propels reluctant, young protagonist Isoy into manhood. As he is seduced by the promised pleasures of sex, Isoy bravely confronts his past in a bid to take control of his future, and the truth can be as overwhelming as the lurid images of scantily-clothed women in magazines.
Theater veterans Frances Makil-Ignacio and Teroy Guzman headline the production as Tiyay Susing and Tiyoy Berning. Susing is Isoy’s aunt who was forced to take care of him when his mother left for Olongapo in the company of an American GI. Berning is his uncle, Isoy’s role model who, in the course of the play, is forced to confront responsibilities he has ran away from for years.
Promising newcomer Cholo Ledesma plays Isoy, an adolescent boy with raging hormones who tries to defy the odds and find his place in a world dominated by adults.
Camille Abaya portrays Pila, Isoy’s neighbor and friend. Headstrong and independent, all Pila really wants is a quiet future in the province, possibly even with Isoy.
The other members of the cast are Jose delos Reyes as Kardo, a widower who preys after the young women of the barrio, and Chloe Fabul as Mina, a young woman who struggles to maintain her purity in an otherwise voyeuristic environment.
Members of the ensemble include Guelan Luarca, Bok Pioquid, Markus Alcantara, Gab Tibayan, Miguel Barretto, Jerry Cordero, Jego Mallillin, Barth Mariquit, RJ Palma, JR Sanchez, and Jacob Whittaker.
The artistic team is composed of Glenn Sevilla Mas (Playwright and Artistic Director, Tanghalang Ateneo), Ronan B. Capinding (Director), Gwyn Guanzon (Production Designer), Jethro Joaquin (Sound Designer), D. Cortezano (Lights Designer), and Niki Calma (Graphics Designer).
Performances are on November 27-29, December 2-6, & 9-13 at the Rizal Mini Theater of the Ateneo de Manila University. Shows start promptly at 7 p.m. with 2 p.m. matinee shows on Saturdays.
For inquiries, please contact Acel Go at 0916-480-2195 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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