December 17, 2017, 10:15 am
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Ateneo’s Black Box Theater

I wonder if there is a trend in the type of stories being told in movies and in stage. Of late, every time I intend to watch a flick, many of those being shown in Greenhills are scary and need parental guidance.

At the longest-running theater company of the Loyola Schools of the Ateneo de Manila University, the Tanghalang Ateneo opens its 39th Season: Performing Change with Guelan Varela-Luarca’s adaptation of Edgar Calabia Samar’s award-winning Si Janus Silang at ang Labanang Manananggal-Mambabarang and from its title alone…..i think it is going to be a bit scary too.

The Janus Silang series is critically acclaimed with the first book, Si Janus Silang at ang Tiyanak ng Tábon, winning the 2016 National Book Awards’ Juan C. Laya Prize for Best Novel in a Philippine Language and the 2016 National Children’s Book Award for Best Read for Kids. The second book, Si Janus Silang at ang Labanang Manananggal-Mambabarang, also won the 2017 National Book Awards’ Best Novel in Filipino early this year.

Aside from adapting the book into a play, two-time Palanca First Prize winner Guelan Varela-Luarca (I am proud to mention that as a fashion designer many moons ago, I designed and created the wedding ensemble of Guelan’s parents, Cory and Ward) is also tasked to bring it to life at the Ateneo de Manila’s Black Box Theater starting Wednesday next week. Theater veterans Jenny Jamora, Carlo Vergara, Renante Bustamante, and Xander Soriano act alongside Tanghalang Ateneo’s promising stable of actors.

Si Janus Silang at ang Labanang Mananaggal-Mambabarang follows the titular character, Janus Silang, as he continues his search for Tala to defeat the threat of the Tiyanak to humanity. Revisiting old friends and getting to know new ones, Janus dives further into the realm of the unknown through the mysterious ability of the twins Miro and Mira who can traverse from the human plane Daigdig to the supernatural plane Kalibutan. As his allies grow, so too do Janus’ foes as both enemies old and new appear from both his and his caretakers’ pasts. Facing danger on both planes, time is running out for him to truly understand his role in putting a stop to the Tiyanak’s reign.

Tanghalang Ateneo’s Earvin Estioco returns to play the title role of Janus Silang, a teenager who unravels his hidden destiny amidst the death of his parents and the dangers of both the past and the future.

Carlo Vergara alternates with Renante Bustamante as Mang Joey, a bagani (protector of the Pusong bloodline) who becomes Janus’ protective yet doubtful mentor.

Jenny Jamora alternates with Bina Basilio, as Manananggal, a being whose motives and history intertwine not just with Janus’ but with his caretakers’ as well.

Xander Soriano is Mang Isyo, Mang Joey’s brother who must decide to either face or evade the demons of his past.

Jacob Whittaker and Quiel Quiwa alternately play Renzo, Janus’ closest companion in facing the dangers surrounding his destiny.

AJ Umali alternates with MJ Vitug as Mira, a bagani with the ability to travel from the mortal plane Daigdig to the supernatural plane Kalibutan.

Shawn Landayan alternates with Lucas Abaya as Miro, Mira’s twin brother who has yet to discover his own part to play in the coming war.

Tanghalang Ateneo’s ensemble of promising actors complete the cast.

The artistic team of Si Janus Silang at ang Tiyanak ng Tábon is composed of Tanghalang Ateneo Artistic Director and Moderator Glenn Sevilla Mas, Guelan Varela-Luarca (Direction and Adaptation), Gentle Mapagu (Assistant Director), Delphine Buencamino (Choreography), Gwyn Guanzon (Set Design), Bonsai Cielo (Costume Design), D Cortezano (Lights Design), Arvy Dimaculangan (Sound and Music Design), Sig Pecho (Puppet Design), and Zoe de Ocampo (Graphics Design).

The playdates of Si Janus Silang at ang Labanang Manananggal-Mambabarang are September 20-23, 26-30, October 3-7, 10-14, and 17-21. Performances start at 7:30PM while Saturday matinee shows start at 2:30PM.

Performance venue is the Ateneo de Manila’s Black Box Theater at the university’s Fine Arts Annex Building.

I’ve been telling myself not to miss this play as I enjoyed watching the two earlier plays of this series. Sure, there were portions of the play that were rather scary….but those scenes add to the thrill of going to the theater.

I plan the drive to Loyola on a Saturday for a 2:30 pm Matinee performance. At least for sure as I leave the Tanghalang Ateneo, the sun will still be up……that is of course, in case I get really scared!!

See you at the theater!
 
Rating: 
Average: 5 (1 vote)

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